Top Gear presenters defend new series: 'You can’t just create chemistry'

'The guys before us had a long time, they had a decade to generate chemistry'

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The latest series of Top Gear has been met with middling reviews, critics praising the show’s new team while noting they lack the same chemistry as Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.

Interestingly, before the new presenting team debuted, the presenters were already defending themselves from the inevitable comparison.

“The great issue with this reboot of Top Gear has been the word chemistry,” Rory Reid told PA, “because you can’t just create chemistry, you can’t just say: ‘Right, you three do chemistry’.”

“The guys before us had a long time, they had a decade to generate chemistry,” he continued. “So we’ve been under pressure to do that, but we are, we’d like to think, moderately intelligent people with a view of the world and bit of banter, and that’s what you want, isn’t it?”

Matt LeBlanc called the team a “Swiss army knife” who have “a certain skill set”. “You can please some people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time,” the ex-Friends actor said while promoting the 24th season.

“There’s going to be people who like it and there’s going to be people who don’t like it. Our job, in my opinion, is to make the best show we can possibly make.”

All three presenters featured in the last season, which featured LeBlanc alongside Chris Evans, and was critically panned across the board. 

“We knew what we were undertaking when we signed up to it,” Harris said. “We’re following three of the best people that have ever worked in my industry. I’m a motoring journalist just like they are. I hugely admire them, so we knew this was going to be difficult.

“Some of the things that are said are unkind, but we come from a YouTube background so if you think TV critics have got teeth, they’ve got nothing on a 14-year-old with a keyboard in Alabama at 4 am. You just have to be grown-up about it, don’t you?”

Read what the critics said of the first episode here. Top Gear returns to BBC One on Sunday.