Chris Evans will not be joining the cast for the next season of the rehashed Top Gear BBC TV show, he revealed in a series of Tweets last night.
Since the debut of season 23, Evans has stood out as the most controversial of the six new hosts. He is also blamed as the reason why ratings have taken a free fall from 4.5 million for the premiere to less than 2 million with last night’s finale.
These figures pale compared to when Clarkson, May and Hammond had the reigns. On his Twitter account, Evans said:
“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.”
He says he will now focus on other projects, as outlined in a separate Tweet:
“Full steam ahead then with Radio 2, CarFest, Children In Need, 500 Words and whatever else we can dream up in the future.”
While co-hosts Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reid, Sabine Schmitz, Eddie Jordan and Chris Harris all received universal praise, to many Evans’s shouty nature and obnoxiousness made him unwatchable. Undeniably a car nut, he didn’t gel with the other hosts to create something more than the sum of its parts.
This announcement follows rumours of LeBlanc issuing an ultimatum to BBC producers as well as torrents of criticism about the show centring around the (now former) host.
Director of BBC Studios Mark Linsey said that Chris Evans “is stepping aside from his duties on Top Gear. He says he gave it his best shot doing everything he could to make the show a success.”
“He firmly believes that the right people remain, on both the production team and presenting team to take the show forward and make it the hit we want it to be”
The BBC is reportedly in talks with Matt Le Blanc in a possible attempt to secure him for the remainder of the series, and onto a second.
The BBC commissioned just six episodes for Top Gear’s 23rd season, down from the usual ten per series. It said it has no intention to replace Evans with another presenter, so expect to see more of the other crew. Season 24 has been confirmed by the BBC, currently in the pre-production phase, with filming set to commence in September this year.
Alexi Falson contributed to this report