Chris Evans has spoken Top Gear for the first time since announcing he would be “stepping down” from the role.
Evans spoke about his time on the BBC motoring show in a review of the Mercedes S 500 AMG Line Cabriolet for the Mail Online, describing it as “a complete honour, privilege and a pleasure” and that he “really did try to make the best show I possibly could”.
But he admitted it was never going to work out for him in the long run. “It seems I may well have been a square peg in a round hole,” he said, “which is fine if you keep hammering it in, but the moment you leave it to do its own thing, the universe will quite rightly pop it back out again.”
He goes on to use the expression “not meant to be” but even though viewing figures dropped to 1.9 million for the sixth and final episode of series 23, he said “the Top Gear ship has been steadily refloated” and that he would continue to be a huge fan.
“From scaling the dizzying, snake-like trail of the Sani Pass with Seasick Steve riding shotgun, to getting to drive that fabulous 168mph Abingdon MGB around the lanes of sunny Buckinghamshire, I don’t regret a single second,” he said.
Evans went on to praise his ex-colleagues. “The Top Gear gang are the most driven (forgive the pun) and dedicated I have ever worked with. There is nothing those guys won’t do to make every second of on-air content shine to its maximum potential,” he added.
Besides making light of a whole lot of hate from Top Gear fans, who lambasted him with claims he was too ‘shouty’ and for trying to emulate former host Jeremy Clarkson, Evans expressed his faith in Matt LeBlanc. “The simple truth is he and Top Gear were made for each other. From the moment he made his first real driving film, in the bonkers Ariel Nomad in Morocco, it was love at first sight.”
Evans concluded his article: “I am entirely sad Top Gear didn’t work out ─ I would have loved to have carried on working on it. But letting go with a smile on your face is far better than clinging on till you look constipated. Know what I mean?”
Some comments on the article were obviously of the ‘good riddance, you were no Clarkson’ variety but many appreciated his ‘class’ approach to leaving what was a dream role for Evans. We expect his sizable pay packet will, too, help ease the pain.
James May said he was “very chuffed” about Chris Evans stepping down from Top Gear, although there have been reports he misheard the question asked by an onlooker in Vicenza in Italy, where Clarkson, Hammond and May were filming for their new Amazon show, The Grand Tour.