14/03/2012 10:31 GMT

Top Gear Confesses To Staging Traffic Jam Scene With James May

Top Gear has confessed to staging a traffic jam in which James May was stuck in Chris Evans' £5.6m Ferrari California Spider behind three learner vehicles.

The latest episode of the BBC TV series showed May forced to reverse on a tight road in the Radio 2 host's pride and joy after being hemmed in.

A BBC spokesperson said the set up was "a light-hearted take on the perils of driving one of the rarest and most valuable cars on the road."

"It is not a documentary," they added.

Fortunately for Evans the drivers of the learner cars were actually driving instructors. An instructor for the Clearway Driving School told the Evening Standard: "We were told not to bring learner drivers because of the value of the car, so it was the instructors who were really doing the driving.

"Their remit was to get in his way and make life awkward for him. We were there for comic effect."

Sounding relaxed on Twitter, Evans tweeted before Sunday's show:

The hit car-obsessed programme is applauded for its entertainment value, with eight million viewers often tuning in, so should it really be criticised for staging scenes?

In 2009, Top Gear bosses also admitted setting up a stunt involving a caravan attached to an airship straying over Norwich airport, provoking police to intervene.

At the time, a BBC spokesperson said: "As an entertainment programme, Top Gear prides itself on making silly films that don't pretend to represent real life. Any suggestion it deliberately misled viewers is patently ludicrous."