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TV and radio host gets 'favourite' job

Evans to replace ousted Clarkson as BBC Top Gear host

Chris EvansChris Evans, the Radio 2 breakfast present, is to be the new host of BBC Top Gear, replacing Jeremy Clarkson who was sacked earlier this year.

He has signed a three-year deal to lead an new line-up of co-presenters for the controversial BBC Two show.

He said: “I’m thrilled, Top Gear is my favourite programme of all time. I promise I will do everything I possibly can to respect what has gone on before and take the show forward.”

Clarkson was dropped after punching a producer while on location.

Evans is a car enthusiast and said the programme was “created by a host of brilliant minds who love cars and understand how to make the massively complicated come across as fun, devil-may-care and effortless.

“When in fact, of course, it’s anything but, and that’s the genius of Top Gear’s global success.”

Evans has a multimillion-pound collection of vintage cars, which includes the only working car built for the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang film.

He spent £2.2m on a black 1971 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder, believed to be a world-record price.

The controller of BBC Two and BBC Four, Kim Shillinglaw, said: “I am so delighted that Chris will be presenting the next series of Top Gear.

“His knowledge of and passion for cars are well-known and combined with his sheer inventiveness and cheeky unpredictability, he is the perfect choice to take our much-loved show into the future.

“Chris is a huge fan of Top Gear and has great respect for the craft and work ethic of one of the best production teams in the world.

“He knows the phenomenal attention to detail it takes to make a single sequence of Top Gear, let alone a whole series. He is already full of brilliant ideas and I can’t wait for him to get started.”

Production on the new series of Top Gear will start in the next few weeks and the BBC said further details will be provided on the co-presenters.

Clarkson was suspended from Top Gear in March 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 were suggested, including Sue Perkins, Jodie Kidd, Dermot O’Leary, Piers Morgan and the YouTube sensation Chris Harris.

It is thought Clarkson and his former co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May will crop up with a rival show. There has been speculation linking them to ITV, Sky and Netflix. All three presenters are currently completing their live show, Clarkson, Hammond and May Live, and were seen filming in South Africa last week.

Clarkson has returned to the BBC to record a voiceover for what is likely to be his final episode of Top Gear, the broadcaster has confirmed. The programme will be screened in the next few weeks. No date has been fixed but bookies reckon it will attract a massive audience.

A BBC spokeswoman confirmed Clarkson’s appearance. “He has done the voiceover for Top Gear. He came in to the BBC the week before last.

“He didn’t get paid to do it. Even though this happened after his contract was not renewed, it falls under his old contract. He is not banned from appearing on the BBC.”

The show will also mark the final appearances of James May and Richard Hammond on the show. It has been pulled together from pre-recorded films that will be linked by sequences recorded by May and Hammond in the Top Gear headquarters, reportedly without the customary studio audience.

A 30-second teaser shows Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May charging around the countryside and destroying a caravan as they compete in a challenge. All three are wearing dinner suits, and Clarkson has also donned goggles.

The episode will feature the trio driving affordable classics including a Fiat 124 Spider, a Peugeot 304 Cabriolet and an MGB GT.


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