Top Gear: James May hopes Chris Evans's show will 'do well', criticises BBC for broadcasting 'best of' compilation

'I wouldn’t want to be the one presenting it when we’d just finished, but there must be a way of re-inventing it'

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The Independent Culture

While James May may have left Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson after that infamous ‘fracas’, it doesn’t mean he has any bad feelings towards Chris Evans who has taken over as host.

In fact, the 53-year-old hopes the now-rival car show does well, calling the BBC’s attempt to reboot the long-running franchise a “ballsy” move.

“I’d like like to see Chris’s Top Gear do well,” he told Radio Times. “It’s a ballsy call to continue it. I wouldn’t want to be the one presenting it when we’d just finished, but there must be a way of re-inventing it. 

“We always said it would survive beyond us. I think the stories about Chris’s version being in trouble might be an elaborate hoax, before it explodes onto our screens in brilliance.”

May, who moved to Amazon Prime along with Clarkson and Richard Hammond, also said that it was “harsh” of the BBC to air the Top Gear ‘best of’ compilation - Top Gear: From A to Z - over the Christmas period. 

Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May in the final Top Gear with its former line-up

“I was surprised they showed lots of Top Gear compilations over Christmas,” May said. “I thought: ‘Oh, so now they’re celebrating us,’ but I also thought it was harsh on Chris Evans. Just as he’s trying to launch his version of the programme, the BBC is saying: ‘Look how brilliant it was before’.”

However, he didn’t discount working with the BBC ones again, stating: “The BBC may have ruled me out, but I don’t rule out the BBC.”

Speaking about the new Amazon show, May once again insisted it will not be called Gear Knobs and said it is “completely different” to Top Gear.

“We’ve managed to keep everything we’ve done so far completely secret, which we could never do on Top Gear,” he said. “The content is completely different. People are saying: ‘Now you’re with Amazon, you can swear and punch each other in the face’. But why would we want to do that? It would be rubbish.”

May also spoke about the possibility of the new show failing: “How could it [fail]? There are too many people who, like us, like messing around with cars. 

“It would need some sudden seismic viewing shift, for reasons no one could possibly understand. Nor can it detract from what we achieved with Top Gear, because we won’t be just another version on another platform. What’s the point?”

Meanwhile, Chris Evans’s Top Gear has been hit numerous speed bumps along its long drive to the TV screen. Only days ago was the presenter spotted ‘looking car sick’ at the side of a race course, while the show’s executive producer left the show late last year.