Noel Edmonds has accused the BBC of “deceiving viewers” with a TV show about celebrities driving in an endurance rally.
The TV presenter, 69, took part in a 2,500-mile event in Southeast Asia for upcoming programme Eight Go Rallying: The Road to Saigon.
But he claims a series of mishaps meant producers barred the stars from competing against other rally drivers and staged scenes.
Noel alleged: “We were trapped in the worst kind of reality TV show. The reality is that the producers are deceiving the viewers.”
The former Deal or No Deal host appears in the four-part BBC2 series with the likes of Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp, rapper Tinchy Stryder and TV chef Andi Oliver.
They cross Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam as part of an Endurance Rally Association event.
But Noel claimed the BBC realised “it was too dangerous to put inexperienced, untrained celebrities in rally cars”. Martin and wife Shirlie had to swap to a hire car after rolling their Mini, and Tinchy was forced to finish in a taxi when his clutch and gearbox were destroyed.
While Andi’s TV host daughter Miquita was one of two participants with no driving licence.
Noel said they were “told to give the impression we were still competing against each other and other rally participants” and claimed producers “contrived overtaking manoeuvres and even fictitious challenges”.
The star insisted he and wife Liz drove the whole course, but claimed celebrities were “reduced to simply observing classic rally enthusiasts”.
The BBC said: “Overall, his assertions are littered with inaccuracies.
“For example, it was clear when Noel signed his contract that they would be starting at the halfway point of the rally, competing against their fellow celebrities rather than those taking part in the official rally.
“The programme was produced… in accordance with relevant health and safety guidance. If Noel had waited to see the programme first, we hope he’d agree that… [it] faithfully follows the celebrities.
“When ‘mishaps’ happened during filming this is reflected.”
It added: “It is com-mon practice in ERA rallies for teams to include a non-driving navigator with no requirement for a licence.
“In a demanding drive like this, it’s not surprising that not all the original cars made it to the end, as viewers will see. The other participants remain positive about their experience.” The series starts at 9pm on Sunday on BBC2.
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