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It took a little time, but the BBC program Top Gear has finally found a host to replace ousted lead Jeremy Clarkson. On Tuesday, the network announced that Chris Evans will take over for Clarkson on the automobile-based series. No, we’re not talking Captain America actor Chris Evans; instead we’re talking about the British TV personality and radio host.
The announcement indicates that Evans has signed a three-year contract with the series, and that production on Season 23 will begin over the next few weeks. Other details relating to possible co-hosts and more will be announced later. Evans joins Top Gear as the series is undergoing a major overhaul, losing not only Clarkson but likely Clarkson’s two co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May, who reportedly turned down major money to return to the show. As such, Evans has pretty big shoes to fill. Luckily, the BBC’s report indicates that Evans is well-known as a car fan and is “full of brilliant ideas” to bring to the franchise. Here’s the quote from BBC Controller Kim Shillinglaw:
I am so delighted that Chris will be presenting the next series of Top Gear. His knowledge of and passion for cars are well-known and combined with his sheer inventiveness and cheeky unpredictability he is the perfect choice to take our much-loved show into the future. Chris is a huge fan of Top Gear and has great respect for the craft and work ethic of one of the best production teams in the world.
The last part of that quote is a little cheeky, as it mentions “respect” and “work ethic” in one bound. For those of you not in the know, longtime Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson was axed by the series after he punched producer Oisin Tymon in the face following an on-set dispute over the lack of a hot dinner for himself and his co-stars. Clarkson later turned himself in over the incident, but didn’t really help his case by ranting about what happened. He was later let go over the incident, although fans didn’t take the news very well, with some even sending out death threats. In the time since, Hammond and May have followed Clarkson out the door, and Clarkson is looking to do another car show.
Interestingly, Evans is also known for being outspoken, and has had his own share of public controversies as a radio and TV host over the years. More than a decade ago, he was even banned for driving for 56 days after he was pulled over for rampant speeding in a Ferrari Maranello. Top Gear has always done well with an outspoken car lover as its host, and Evans sounds like the perfect fit.