Chris Evans is the white, middle-aged prima donna Top Gear fans have been crying out for

His appointment has made me wonder whether more alterations could be made to help revolutionise the show

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The Independent Online

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.

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:

1. Bicycles

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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

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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

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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!

Ferhat Dirik is Managing Director of Mangal Ocakbasi 2 Restaurant. You can follow the restaurant on Twitter here: @mangal2

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