Top Gear to follow Have I Got News For You format with 'different host for each episode'

Richard Hammond and James May have reportedly been offered £1m to continue hosting the popular BBC series

Daisy Wyatt
Monday 01 June 2015 12:54
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Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

Top Gear could return in a similar format to Have I Got News For You with a different host each week, according to a BBC insider.

James May and Richard Hammond, who said they would leave the show following Jeremy Clarkson’s departure, have reportedly been offered £1m each to front Top Gear for another series.

A top BBC source told The Independent: “The masterplan is to reconfigure the show along the lines of the post-Angus Deayton Have I Got News for You?, with a different guest hosting each episode.

“Despite their pronouncements of loyalty to Clarkson, Hammond and May have taken the trouble not to resign in protest at his sacking…[and] have each been offered £1m a year to keep the Top Gear flame of inspired puerility alive.”

The BBC declined to renew Clarkson’s contract in March after the presenter punched a Top Gear producer on set following a row about the lack of hot food on offer.

Clarkson has not ruled out the possibility of returning to the BBC. In his first interview with the broadcaster since the incident, he told Chris Evans’ BBC2 breakfast show: “James and Richard can go back to the BBC, that door is still open for them…Well so can I, you know, I’m not sacked remember.”

The Top Gear trio hinted at a return to TV at their rebranded Top Gear Live show, named Clarkson, Hammond and May Live after Clarkson’s departure.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in our TV show from all around the world. Who knows what will happen,” they said.

BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw has not ruled out the possibility of a female presenter fronting the show.

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“We’ll definitely look at some women, but it’s not a driving priority,” she said.

Former Top Gear presenter Angela Rippon said she would like to return to host the show 38 years after she first fronted the programme.

The former newsreader said it would be “great” if the BBC invited her back to host the show when it returns to TV next year.

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