Jeremy Clarkson Top Gear exit: Chris Evans urges Richard Hammond and James May to continue

The favourite to take over the Top Gear job says "actually I wouldn't be very good at it"

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The Independent Culture

The favourite to replace Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear has said that the disgraced former presenter’s exit is by no means a “fatal blow” for the show.

Chris Evans, who is the bookies’ favourite to replace Clarkson, has again ruled himself out of the running admitting “I actually wouldn’t be very good at it”.

Evans, who called Clarkson’s exit a “huge loss”, also criticised Top Gear co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond who are believed to be considering quitting the motoring show now that their friend has been axed.

The BBC Radio 2 DJ said Hammond and May were “wrong” to be thinking of throwing in the towel and he urged the pair to keep the series going.

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BBC director general Tony Hall told Clarkson on Wednesday that his contract would not be renewed when it expires at the end of this month. The move follows a BBC investigation which found Clarkson he attacked and verbally abused one of the show's producers, Oisin Tymon.

BBC presenter Chris Evans is the favourite to replace Clarkson on Top Gear should the presenter be suspended

Hall, who has since allegedly received death threats over Clarkson’s sacking, said the BBC would look to "renew" the show for next year and look at ways to screen the remaining episodes of the current series, cut short following the fracas that cost the 54-year-old his job.

Evans, writing in the Mail on Sunday, said: "In no way does Top Gear need to be reinvented. This series was shaping up to be the best yet. After surviving the insanity of what happened in Argentina for the Christmas special, it felt like the whole team had been drawn closer together as a result.

"As for Jeremy no longer being on the show: sure it's a huge loss. Top Gear was the show he was born to do. But by no means is it a fatal blow."

Politics, music and football all survived the departures of Winston Churchill, John Lennon and George Best, Evans said.

Reiterating he would not be taking part in the show, the One Show presenter said: "I love Top Gear. But I never want to watch me on it. Of course, I'm flattered that others seem to think my involvement would be a good idea. But they're hugely misguided.

"I also happen to think I actually wouldn't be very good at it."

Last week Evans told listeners to his Radio 2 show “not only [are rumours he'd replace Clarkson] not true, it’s absolute nonsense”, adding that it was “never going to happen”.

Jeremy Clarkson is surrounded by media personnel as he leaves his home on a bicycle in London


“From what I’ve seen on Twitter and social media, there’s a 50/50 split approximately as to whether me being involved in the show is a good idea,” he said.

“In TV or radio, if you get a 50/50 love/hate reaction that usually equals massive hit. I used to work for (ratings body) BARB and knock on people's doors and this was the rule of thumb.