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Mansfield races into Top Gear

Posted onPosted on 10th Feb

Hit television show Top Gear — and its new presenting line-up of former international cricketer Freddie Flintoff, comedian Paddy McGuinness and motoring journalist and racing driver Chris Harris — filmed an episode in Mansfield town centre.

Roads were closed early on Sunday as the trio investigated the pros and cons of electric cars. After filming in Mansfield Market Place, the trio and professional drivers drove circuits around the inner ring road.

Scenes were also shot inside the Four Seasons car park for the programme, expected to be screened on the BBC later this year.

The Mayor of Mansfield, Kate Allsop, waved a flag at the start and finish of the race, which featured seven cars.

Freddie slightly lost control of his vehicle and crashed into an empty market stall, but no one was hurt.

A spokesman for Mansfield District Council said the incident showed why the event was not publicised beforehand to avoid large crowds turning out.

Mayor Allsop said: “Mansfield District Council wants to create a destination for living, working, investing and visiting — and events play a key role in putting the town on the map.

“Opportunities such as being chosen as a location for the world’s biggest motoring entertainment show put a positive spotlight on the district and this was an offer we couldn’t turn down.

“It is very appropriate that the theme was electric vehicles as we are installing electric charging points in the Four Seasons and Toothill Road car parks this spring.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience caused and hope everyone will understand why it was top secret — and will agree that it was worth a few hours of mostly minor disruption to put Mansfield on TV in front of an estimated global audience of 350 million.”

Coun Dave Saunders, portfolio holder for regeneration and growth, said: “Following the success of twice hosting the Tour of Britain, and other major events like our Big Switch On (at Christmas), which attracts about 10,000 visitors throughout the day, this again shows what Mansfield is capable of hosting.

“We are a destination that welcomes a variety of events and enables visitors to see all that we have to offer in our prime location in the heart of Sherwood Forest.”

Mike Robinson, director of economic growth, added: “We worked with Mansfield BID and Four Seasons Shopping Centre to try to inform businesses about the road closures in advance and ensure their staff could make alternative parking arrangements.

“We enjoyed reading the many theories on the council’s Facebook post about what was happening! We are sorry we couldn’t say more but we were sworn to secrecy by the BBC, who had concerns over safety if a large crowd had turned up to watch.

“Public safety is of paramount importance and there was a real risk that filming wouldn’t have gone ahead if word had got out in advance. Thank you to those who worked with us for keeping your lips sealed.”

The district council facilitated the filming along with Nottinghamshire County Council’s highways team and Via, the county council’s highways management provider. BBC Studios covered the costs directly related to hosting the event.

It is not yet known when the episode of Top Gear featuring Mansfield will be shown.