Chris Evans takes the wheel at Top Gear

BBC confirms that TFI host and recognised car fan will take the lead presenting duties

You can all pack away your CVs - Clarkson's successor has been named. The BBC has this evening confirmed what has been long-rumoured, that Chris Evans will take over as the primary host of Top Gear, when the motoring show returns to screens in 2016.

Evans has vast experience as a producer and presenter, having made his name initially with Channel 4's The Big Breakfast in the nineties, before helping to create the smash-hit Friday night TFI Friday chat show. TFI returned for a valedictorian one-off last week, and generated enormous warmth from the viewing public, but Evans has decided to stick closely to his current employers at the BBC - he presents the breakfast show on BBC Radio 2 each week day, in the slot once made famous by Terry Wogan.

Evans of course has a great deal of motoring knowledge and experience -he is a voracious car collector and has built up a personal garage of rare Ferraris, including one formerly owned by actor James Coburn. He's also a part of major motoring events such as CarFest and has organised trips to the Monaco Grand Prix as auction prizes to raise money for Children In Need. Having originally ruled himself out of contention for Top Gear, Evans has come around in the past weeks, following the filming of some short test segments with a Top Gear crew. "I'm thrilled" he said this evening. " 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.

“I promise I will do everything I possibly can to respect what has gone on before and take the show forward.”


Kim Shillinglaw, Controller of BBC Two and BBC Four, said "I'm so delighted that Chris will be presenting the next series of Top Gear. His knowledge of and passion for cars is 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.”

Tim Davie, CEO of BBC Worldwide, said “it‘s fantastic news for Top Gear fans around the world that such a brilliant broadcaster as Chris will be the figurehead for the brand across the globe.”

What's not yet known is who will present the show with Evans. James May and Richard Hammond both have ongoing contracts with the BBC, but both have previously said they will not present a revamped show without Clarkson. Actor Philip Glennister (who co-presents Channel 4's For The Love Of Cars) and model Jodie Kidd (who co-presents Channel 5's Classic Car Show and is an accomplished amateur racing driver) have both been rumoured.

In the meantime, old Top Gear will get one last outing. The BBC confirmed earlier this week that Jeremy Clarkson, Hammond and May had all recently completed voice over and presenting duties which will allow the final un-aired episodes of the most recent series to be shown. The series came to a premature end follwing the 'fracas' in which Clarkson punched series producer Oisin Tymon. The BBC confirmed that Clarkson was not paid for the completion of this work.

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring