5 Jul 2016

Chris Evans steps down as Top Gear presenter

6:01 am on 5 July 2016

Chris Evans has announced he is leaving his role as a presenter on BBC Two's Top Gear after one series.

His resignation comes after falling ratings for the show - which hit a series low on Sunday night, with an average of 1.9 million viewers.

Evans tweeted: ""Gave it my best shot but sometimes that's not enough".

The remaining five presenters - Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reid, Chris Harris, Sabine Schmitz and Eddie Jordan - are understood to be returning for the next series, which is due to begin filming in September, .

It is also believed Evans's decision to leave was his alone, and that he told the BBC last week that he was stepping down, saying he was not a good fit for the programme.

Top Gear's new presenting team, from left, Matt LeBlanc, Chris Evans and the Stig

Evans (centre) with Matt LeBlanc (left) and The Stig. Photo: Twitter / @BBC_TopGear

Evans joined Top Gear last June, after the departure of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

Clarkson was dropped from the show after he punched a producer following a row about the provision of food late at night while filming on location.

Perry McCarthy, the original Top Gear Stig, told the BBC: "It's sad for Chris but personally I was expecting such an announcement, I wasn't expecting it this quickly but I did think that Chris would step down from it.

"Chris is an enormously popular radio presenter and TV show host but he hasn't quite gelled with this show, he's not really gelling with the viewers.

"It must be a little bit painful for him to receive this reaction from everybody and I don't think he'd want to continue, I probably wouldn't want to continue if I was getting constant criticism either," added McCarthy.

Vassos Alexander, sports presenter on Evans's Radio 2 show, said Evans had indicated on Monday morning that he was leaving.

"I know that he was massively honoured and privileged to work on Top Gear and that statement is not just a statement," Alexander said.

"He [Evans] texted me what he's written for his newspaper column and he's described himself as a square peg in a round hole and I think that pretty much sums it up."

n a statement released via the BBC, Evans said: "I have never worked with a more committed and driven team than the team I have worked with over the last 12 months.

"I remain a huge fan of the show, always have been, always will be."

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs