Chris Evans insists Top Gear is a 'hit' despite first episode of new series being panned by critics

'The new Top Gear is a hit. OFFICIALLY,' Evans wrote in a Twitter rant

The first episode featured Evans and Matt LeBlanc driving Reliant three-wheelers from London to Blackpool
The first episode featured Evans and Matt LeBlanc driving Reliant three-wheelers from London to Blackpool

New Top Gear presenter Chris Evans has insisted he is pleased with his opening episode despite the fact it was largely criticised by critics and didn't attract as many viewers as he hoped.

The relaunch of the BBC Two show was seen by an average of 4.4 million viewers, with viewing peaking with 4.7 million just before the show ended.

Earlier in the week, Evans said he would be “disappointed” with anything fewer than five million viewers for the show's first episode. The final Top Gear featuring former host Jeremy Clarkson attracted 5.3 million viewers last June.

The 50-year-old former radio presenter has now taken to Twitter to insist the new show is a hit in a disjointed tangent.

“The new Top Gear is a hit,” he said. “OFFICIALLY. 23 % audience share. 12% MORE than the opening episode of the last series. These are the FACTS.”

Top Gear audience grew throughout the hour. FACT,” he added. “Won it's slot. FACT. Still number one on i Player. FACT. These are THE FACTS folks.”

He concluded by informing viewers the programme would be shown again tonight.

The new revamped Top Gear which now features Matt LeBlanc, was still the most watched programme in its 8pm time slot, attracting 22.8 per cent of the audience.

The new programme features Evans and LeBlanc driving Reliant three-wheelers from London to Blackpool.

While Clarkson has so far refused to comment on the new programme, former Top Gear co-presenter James May has been positive about the new show, telling the MailOnline he was a “massive fan”.

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