Regardless of how you felt about Jeremy Clarkson and co. after the whole “fracas” affair regarding a steak dinner, you can’t deny that the quality of Top Gear dropped in the wake of his dismissal.
Given to Chris Evans to steady the ship, he did nothing but worsen the name of the show, constantly shouting and bragging about the cars he bought. Matt LeBlanc was the only saving grace and when he was named as the main presenter when Evans left, things looked better.
For various reasons though, LeBlanc wasn’t up to it, the show was pretty average and the three presenters lacked any real chemistry. The former-Friends man announced that he wouldn’t be involved in the next season and it looked like that was that for a while for BBC and Top Gear.
Meanwhile, The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime with the original three was pretty good. It wasn’t quite as fun as the original Top Gear, but it was far closer than the BBC had gotten since.
So what are the BBC doing to win back viewers and the trust of a nation? That’s right, they’re enlisting the help of a cricketer and a professional friend of better comedians…
The BBC have confirmed that Paddy McGuinness and Andrew Flintoff will be taking over from Matt LeBlanc, alongside racing driver Chris Harris.
Meanwhile, Rory Reid, the other co-host, will now host Top Gear’s follow-up show, Extra Gear, along with Sabine Schmitz.
McGuinness was delighted, saying:
“[It’a a] real honour and I’m thrilled the BBC have given me this opportunity.
To be hosting a show I’ve watched and loved from being a small boy is beyond exciting. Top Gear fans worldwide are a passionate bunch and I consider myself one of them. Now let’s start up this Great British machine and see what it can do!“
“It’s not often you have the chance to do both of your dream jobs, but I’m now lucky enough to say I will have. I’ve always been passionate about cars and I’m so excited to be joining the Top Gear team.”
Now bizarrely the longest-serving member of the Top Gear presenting team, Chris Harris had this to say about his new co-hosts:
“They’re both brilliant, natural entertainers – and their mischief mixed with the most exciting cars on the planet is sure to take the show to the next level. My dream job just got even better.“
I’m not convinced, really.
Flintoff is a good guy to have as part of a larger team, and he has a lot of charisma, but Top Gear is a global brand, and I can’t really see him going down that well overseas. I hope I’m wrong though – I do like him and he’s perfect for A League Of Their Own… but Top Gear?
As for McGuinness… pfft. I’m genuinely shocked that the full might of the BBC put their heads together and decided that Peter Kay’s mate was the best choice to front one of their highest-grossing programmes ever.
Filming is expected to start early 2019, with a release due for later that year.
Images via BBC, Getty