Chris Evans quits Top Gear

Chris Evans bales out of Top Gear 'to help the cause'

'I gave it my best shot'

Chris Evans quits Top Gear

CHRIS EVANS told viewers of his revamped Top Gear that the show didn’t do bombshells any more, but his first series in charge ended with one all the same when he announced he was stepping down.

Evans revealed his decision in a tweet this afternoon.

A minute later he tweeted again to reassure his followers that he would still be devoting his energy to other projects. 

In a statement released via the BBC, Evans later said: “I have never worked with a more committed and driven team than the team I have worked with over the last 12 months.

“I feel like my standing aside is the single best thing I can now do to help the cause. I remain a huge fan of the show; always have been, always will be.”

Mark Linsey, director of BBC Studios, said: “Chris is stepping down from his duties on Top Gear. He says he gave it his best shot, doing everything he could to make the show a success. He firmly believes that the right people remain, on both the production team and presenting team, to take the show forward and make it the hit we want it to be.”

Evans’s resignation follows criticism of the new-look Top Gear and disappointing audience figures; ratings hit a low of 1.9m on Sunday night for the series finale, which clashed with France’s Euro 2016 match against Iceland. About 6.6m viewers watched the football, and Antiques Roadshow, which overlapped with Top Gear on BBC1, was watched by an average of 3.9m.

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A number of changes were introduced to series 23 of Top Gear, including the replacement of the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car feature with two or more celebrities racing a new rallycross Mini on a course containing a water splash and a jump. Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May were replaced by six presenters, including Matt LeBlanc, the American star of the sitcom Friends, with whom Evans reportedly did not get on. It has been reported that LeBlanc told producers of the BBC2 show that he would quit unless Evans was given his marching orders.