Who could ever replace middle-England’s human totem pole Jeremy Clarkson? After all, Clarkson is a man so revered by his fans that his dismissal brought over a million of Britain's alpha males to their knees, crying and slobbering like spoilt children throwing a tantrum.
Well, that man would be Chris Evans. He's quite the match for Top Gear, at least on the surface. Middle-aged, white, and English? Check. Controversial? Check. Petrol-head? Check.
He's also got a bit of a record for being a prima donna. He left his job at Radio 1 in 1997 after his demands to work a four-day week were refused. He also was sacked from Virgin Radio in 2002 after failing to turn up for work six mornings in a row. He said he was unfairly dismissed and sued Virgin for £8.6m of damages, and lost. When the verdict came in June 2003, Evans wasn't even there to hear it – he said he was ill, but was then pictured at the pub with Billie Piper.
“I was stupid, no doubt about that,” he said about the incident in 2009. “I wasn't a very well behaved boy at those times. I was trying to figure out how come I had this brilliant career and messed it up? It was because I was an idiot – there's no point sugar coating it."
Evans also provoked outrage more recently, when in 2013 he decided it was a good idea to impersonate Jimmy Savile on air, to the 10m people who were listening to his Radio 2 show. He has a precedent for tasteless jokes: in 1996 he caused an outcry after making a tasteless joke on air about Anne Frank.
Chris Evans: Career in pictures
Chris Evans: Career in pictures
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Chris Evans in a studio, 1980s
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(L-R) Gaby Roslin, Chris Evans, Paula Yates and Mark Lamarr on Big Breakfast TV Show, 1992
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Chris Evans on the day of his 30th birthday, in London, 1996
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Chris Evans in 1997
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Chris Evans of England wears a policeman's hat having fun with Mark O'Meara captain of the USA team on the range before the fourball matches on the first day of All-Star Cup on the Roman Road Course at The Celtic Manor Resor in Newport, 2005
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Chris Evans and Ronan Keating arrive at the Gala Dinner on the first day of the Northern Rock All Star Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, 2006
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Chris Evans poses in the awards room with the Music Radio Personality of the Year Award at the Sony Radio Academy Awards 2007 at Grosvenor House Hotel in London
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Chris Evans presents during 'Thank You For The Music - A Celebration Of The Music Of Abba' at Hyde Park in London, 2009
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Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans and David Cameron appear on the Andrew Marr show on BBC TV in London, 2010
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Chris Evans and Moira Stuart during Chris Evans' first day as the host of the Breakfast show, the position he took over from Sir Terry Wogan, 2011
Mark Allan/BBC/PA Wire
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Chris Evans interviews Luke Darlington (L) Prince Harry and JJ Chalmersfor his breakfast show at BBC Radio 2 Studios in London, 2014
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Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans attends the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco, 2015
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Chris Evans with Jeremy Clarkson outside BBC Radio 2 Studios, 2015
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Chris Evans meets Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, following the launch of BBC Radios 2's '500 Words', a children's story writing competition which is supported by the duchess, in the Morning Room at Clarence House in London, 2015
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Chris Evans at the celebrity start at The London Marathon 2015 in London
Evans is also a stone-cold businessman – one who has amassed a vast fortune with his business ventures and contract negotiations. For example, he was paid £500,000 to host The One Show for half an hour, once a week. I mean, The One Show. Once a week. £500k. It would make Premier League footballers weep with envy.
But then there’s his presenting style. Goofy and eccentric, his approach would work for a Japanese game show, but Top Gear? Jeremy Clarkson has effortless machismo and exudes real homoeroticism. His demeanour constantly screams “Look at my jean bulge. My jeans are so tight. My testicles are suffocating. They’re all purple now.” Evans on the other hand lacks this type of appeal, and couldn’t be more different in manner to him if he presented the show draped in an EU flag.
So, here we are, at breaking point for the future of Top Gear. Such a dramatic change in presenter has made me wonder whether more alterations could be made to help revolutionise the show. The show could be dragged from the whiff of Nineties mediocrity to Noughties political correctness and worldly empathy. Here are my suggestions:
Review bikes. Rename the show "Fixed Gear". The new race track is Victoria Park in hip East London.
2. Nigel Farage as a co-presenter
You’ve probably lost about 99 per cent of viewers at this point, so make Nigel Farage co-presenter. If anyone understands middle England’s greatest desires and fears, it’s this bloke. Dodgy jokes about foreigners would return, which Top Gear viewers love. I mean, what couldn’t be funnier than a joke about foreign cars, and foreign people?
3. Daft Punk take turns as Stig
This would ensure double-anonymity and the concept would blow our minds. We’d know who the Stig was, but we also wouldn’t know who the Stig was. Stig takes off his helmet, only to be wearing another helmet. Can he breathe in there? Who cares!Reuse content