Monday 18 December 2017

Police interview former colleagues of Chris Evans over sex assault claim

Chris Evans arriving at Broadcasting House in London to present his regular Radio 2 breakfast show
Chris Evans arriving at Broadcasting House in London to present his regular Radio 2 breakfast show

Patrick Foster

CHRIS Evans’s former colleagues on the Channel 4 show, The Big Breakfast, are said to have been questioned by police over claims that the presenter exposed himself and grabbed the breasts of a fellow worker.

The development came as publishing sources said that the star, who stepped down from Top Gear on Monday, was likely to pull out of a tell-all book about his brief time on the motoring show, which was scheduled for publication in October.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed earlier this week that officers were investigating a sexual assault claim dating back to the 1990s, in the East London borough of Tower Hamlets, where The Big Breakfast was filmed. Evans hosted the programme between 1992 and 1994.

Business Insider, the American website, reported yesterday that a number of Evans’s former colleagues on the breakfast show had spoken to detectives, after officers received the assault allegation on May 23.

Evans, who is said to be yet to speak to police, has denied the claims, describing them as a witch hunt, and friends of the star said they were “total nonsense”.

The presenter was set to release Top Fear, a book about his ill-fated reinvention of the motoring show, later in the year, but yesterday the book disappeared from websites such as Amazon.

The BBC has stood by Evans so far, and has allowed him to continue presenting his Radio 2 breakfast show.

Speaking to listeners on Tuesday morning, he said: "Today's show is dedicated to all the Top Gear gang. And today's show is entitled Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On."

Evans made a brief reference to his Top Gear exit while reading out the newspaper headlines.

"I've got to go here, so bear with me," he told listeners, quoting a newspaper front page: "Evans quits Top Gear: My best wasn't good enough."

"That's true - that's what I said yesterday in a tweet," he said.

A spokesman for Evans refused to comment.

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