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Top Gear viewers have reacted angrily to claims that a stunt on last weekend’s show was faked – saying that viewers should not be surprised to learn parts of the show are staged.

Reports over the weekend suggested that the scene – which featured Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond sailing a home-made hovercraft along the Avon – took several takes to film rather than being spontaneous.

There were also claims that actors were used to play extras in the scene – with one, Michael Bott, calling the shoot ‘his silliest job to date’.

But despite the apparent outrage, fans of the show appeared unsurprised by the reports – saying it was obvious the stunt was staged.

“You were stupid if you thought it was real”, tweeted one viewer.

Another added: “I don’t understand people’s surprise and disgust when they ‘discover’ the majority of Top Gear is a stunt… Obviously?!”

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: “Top Gear is an entertainment programme and I don’t think the viewers would have been taken in.”

It’s not the first time the show has been the subject of such claims – having been forced to admit a sequence in 2007 in which the presenters accidentally set fire to a caravan was also set up.