17 Jun 2015

Chris Evans is Jeremy Clarkson's replacement on Top Gear

8:33 am on 17 June 2015

British TV and radio personality Chris Evans is to replace Jeremy Clarkson as the lead presenter of Top Gear.

Chris Evans

Chris Evans Photo: AFP

The car enthusiast has signed a three-year deal with the BBC Two motoring show. He had had been tipped to replace his good friend Clarkson but had previously insisted he was not interested.

Clarkson was dropped in March after punching a producer while on location.

Evans said he was "thrilled" to get the job, describing the show as his "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," he added.

An all-new line-up means Clarkson's co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May will not be involved.

The BBC's David Sillito said that while Chris Evans was a household name, Clarkson had a long-running association with Top Gear and his were big shoes to fill.

"Everything about Top Gear was Clarkson, May and Hammond, primarily Clarkson," he said.

"We have no idea who Evans will be filming the new series with. It could be one presenter, two, a whole team, or it could be a different set of presenters every week."

Top Gear is watched by some 350 million viewers worldwide and is one of the BBC's biggest shows, with overseas sales worth an estimated £50m a year.

Evans said in a statement: "I'm thrilled, Top Gear is my favourite programme of all time.

"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."

Production on the new series of Top Gear will start in the next few weeks and the BBC said more information would be announced in due course.

Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson Photo: AFP

Jeremy Clarkson was suspended, then dropped, by the BBC in March following a "fracas" with a producer at a hotel.

His final appearance on Top Gear will be shown in the UK on 28 June. The episode will be made up of two films shot before Clarkson was suspended, with Hammond and May presenting links from the studio.

- BBC

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