Sacked host pulls out of HIGNFY

Perkins in driving seat to replace Clarkson on BBC’s Top Gear

Sue PerkinsGreat British Bake-off presenter Sue Perkins has emerged as the firm favourite to replace Jeremy Clarkson as host of BBC motoring show Top Gear.

A large number of bets have been placed on her, reducing her odds to evens, even though she has denied that she will take up the role.

Clarkson tonight announced he would not be taking up the invitation to present an episode of Have I Got News For You.

Jimmy Mulville, managing director of Hat Trick Productions which makes the show, said: “On reflection, Jeremy Clarkson has decided not to host Have I Got News For You. We fully expect him to resume his hosting duties later in the year.”

Jeremy ClarksonClarkson was suspended from Top Gear last month after an altercation with a producer. Following an inquiry, BBC director-general Tony Hall decided not to renew his contract, leaving the future of the show in limbo.

A number of potential successors have been suggested, including Piers Morgan and the YouTube sensation Chris Harris.

A Coral spokesman commenting on a flurry of bets said: “This latest gamble suggests that Sue Perkins is being lined up to replace Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear.

“When betting first opened on Clarkson’s successor, it was one-way traffic for Jodie Kidd and now today’s flutter has convinced us that a female is in the driving seat”.

Perkins is ahead of X-Factor host Dermot O’Leary, who is 2/1 (and will not be fronting the next series of the ITV talent show). Jodie Kidd is third at 5/2.

It is believed Top Gear will continue, although it is unclear whether James May and Richard Hammond will be part of the show.

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