Top Gear: Chris Evans on taking over from Jeremy Clarkson - 'it's the most challenging thing I've ever done'

The Radio 2 DJ described the pressure as similar to being the new Doctor Who

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Chris Evans has spoken about his anxieties ahead of taking the Top Gear reigns from Jeremy Clarkson, describing the move as the biggest in his career yet.

The Radio 2 DJ described the pressure surrounding his upcoming Top Gear hosting debut as “a bit like being [the new] Doctor Who”.

In an interview with BBC’s Top Gear magazine, he said: “This is, without doubt, the most challenging thing I have ever done in my career,” comparing his move to when he took over the Radio 2 show from Terry Wogan.

“People kept saying [after Wogan] I had ‘big shoes to fill’, and they’re saying it again now. I don’t mean they’re wrong or they’re right, it’s just such a predictable thing to say – and, by the way, Jeremy is very tall, so they’re even bigger shoes.”

He added: “There have been 34 presenters, so it’s a bit like Doctor Who.”


Evans remained tight-lipped about who was in the running to replace Richard Hammond and James May on the show. Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin are among the bookies’ favourites to join the Top Gear ‘dream team’.

“There’s a lot of talk about talent at the moment. Honestly, it’s not the furthest thing away from my mind, but it is quite distant compared to directors, producers,” he said.

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He did however say the presenting team was “nearly in place…we’re very close”.

Evans said he would not do away with popular segments on the show such as ‘star in a reasonably priced car’, saying it would be “silly to throw the bath out with the bathwater”.

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Chris Evans on the cover of this month's Top Gear magazine

He did acknowledge that some things would have to change, but he couldn’t say what.

“Nothing has to [change], but some things will. I can’t tell you what precisely.”

Evans, who initially dismissed rumours he was joining Top Gear, said he was eventually persuaded by Will Macdonald from Channel 4’a TFI Friday.

“He said, ‘Why would you not do this? And that’s the question. It wasn’t ‘Why would you do it?’ but ‘Why wouldn’t you?’ If I make television programmes for a living and love motor cars and I love the biggest challenge in the world, why wouldn’t I do it?”

Top Gear will return with a new trio of presenters in 2016.

Top Gear magazine is on sale from Wednesday.