Angela Rippon calls for female Top Gear presenter to be hired on merit and not as 'totty'

Model and car fanatic Jodie Kidd is the hot bet to join Chris Evans

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The Independent Culture

Angela Rippon has ruled herself out of returning to the new series of Top Gear, but hopes a fellow female petrolhead will take the job instead.

The 70-year-old hosted the first two seasons of the hit motoring show in the late Seventies but, despite the rumours, will not be joining Chris Evans for more high-speed racing next year.

She does, however, want to see another woman in the driving seat, so long as she has an extensive knowledge of cars and isn't just there to look good.

"Don't have a woman there just as a bit of totty, have one there because she knows her stuff on merit and deserves to be there," she told The Telegraph, adding that she "couldn't go back" because the programme is moving forwards.

"It has moved on. It could be fun to do the odd film but at no time have I said I should be the next presenter."


Rippon thinks it would be a big mistake for BBC bosses to try and replicate the show Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May made because Top Gear is known for "always pushing new boundaries".

Fans were left angered and disappointed when Clarkson's contract was not renewed after he assaulted a Top Gear producer earlier this year. Hammond and May chose not to stay on without him and the trio are now making a new series for Amazon Prime.

Angela Rippon drives a huge Leyland truck on Top Gear

While Evans has his critics and doubters, Rippon believes he will take Top Gear in a fresh direction and ensure its longevity.

"Clearly there are a lot of people who think the three of them are embedded in the consciousness of Top Gear and that's what Top Gear was," she said of the last group of hosts. "But this is now another stage in its life, a bit like a butterfly coming out of its chrysalis, if you want a flowery metaphor. It will change again."

Jodie Kidd is being hotly-tipped to co-present Top Gear and Rippon thinks she would make a "terrific" choice. The model and car lover drives a Maserati and posted one of the fastest laps in the show's popular "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" segment but the confirmed line-up is yet to be announced.