No, you didn’t accidentally click on the wrong website. Car shows may not exactly be in our normal wheelhouse, but Top Gear is no normal car show. And before you do another double take at that headline, no Captain America was not taking on the Stig over the last few weeks (though that is a show I would happily watch – my money being on the Stig of course). We’re talking about the other Chris Evans, the BBC radio/TV presenter who most recently fronted a new version of iconic British driving/tomfoolery series. Evans, along with fellow co-present Matt LeBlanc, landed the unenviable high-pressure task of following in the footsteps of the long-running show’s legendary original presenters of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.
The original trio famously exited the show last year when Clarkson was fired after punching a producer over a steak. No, seriously. It had been the proverbial final straw in the list of offences that had broke the camel’s back, but there was never any denying the serious star power and purely enjoyable watchability that Clarkson and co would be taking with them.
Those are aspects that were seemingly lacking with their replacements. While LeBlanc, the first American to helm the show, was received fairly affably, there weren’t many people fond of Evan’s manic, sometimes shouty persona. To make matters worse (well, for Evans), when the team expanded to include Chris Harris, Rory Reid, Sabine Schmitz and Eddie Jordan, it was clear that most of them had more likeable personalities that the so-called frontman Evans did.
And then came news last week that LeBlanc has reportedly been seriously butting heads with Evans and he was apparently not the only one, as reports came in about Evans’ bossy, control freak ways rubbing just about everybody up the wrong way on set. And with the show’s ratings plummeting since it’s post-Clarkson revival, and Evans being the target of most fans’ criticism, it wasn’t hard to predict that something was going to have to change. I just didn’t think it would be this soon or this drastic.
After news made the rounds that the BBC were furiously meeting to come to an agreement on the way forward, Evans took to Twitter himself to break the news, seeming a bit disheartened but clearly still having other prospects lined up.
Stepping down from Top Gear. Gave it my best shot but sometimes that's not enough. The team are beyond brilliant, I wish them all the best.
— Chris Evans (@achrisevans) July 4, 2016
Full steam ahead then with Radio 2, CarFest, Children In Need, 500 Words and whatever else we can dream up in the future.
— Chris Evans (@achrisevans) July 4, 2016
Top Gear had just aired the 6th and final episode of its 23rd season this past weekend, and Evans had famously signed a 3-year deal that would see him being one of the highest TV personalities in Britain. Or at least, he would have been. Clearly that contract is no more.
Personally, as a huge fan of the previous trio, I must admit that I didn’t loathe the new show as some did, and found it decent enough, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it was not quite up to its predecessor’s incredible standards. That dry British wit was sorely lacking and most of the presenters were still settling into their relationships with each other, letting their individual personalities shine. But I can also say that out of the lot, it was Evans who was definitely my least favourite.
Bump Harris and Reid up from mainly doing the review segments and hosting the Extra Gear aftershow to actually co-anchoring with LeBlanc, and you’ll have a great dynamic of respectively a nutter, a nice guy and a somewhat surly Yank in the middle. And then occasionally bring in Sabine Schmitz and Eddie Jordan for the challenges, with the Stig still in the mix, and you should be golden.
I’m pretty sure that BBC knew that they were more than likely going to take an inital ratings hit with the new show so I highly doubt we should be expecting any series cancellation news any time soon. If after another season though the remaining presenters still haven’t gelled and the show hasn’t managed to find its groove again, then they seriously need to relook at this. Especially since Clarkson, Hammond and May launch their new show, The Grand Tour, on Amazon later in the year. And I’m pretty sure that right they’re all feeling like…
Last Updated: July 5, 2016