Chris Evans may have let slip who will be joining him in the new series of Top Gear – and if true it would confirm a female touch.
The new Top Gear host was speaking on his Radio 2 show this morning when he said: “The first Top Gear of the brand new run, you’ll get there the day before. You’ll have your own hot lap with The Stig. You’ll be the star in the reasonably priced car.”
He added: “We’ll then reveal who was quickest at a dinner hosted later that night by Suzi Perry at my pub, which I had forgotten about. Then you will come to the recording of the first show the next day.”
Evans – who had previously said the new Top Gear will “definitely, 100 per cent” have at least one female presenter – was talking about a charity event that is raising money for Children in Need.
Given that Suzi Perry is well known for her MotoGP, Formula One and Gadget Show roles, it would be strange for the television presenter to merely be a host.
Not only that, Perry previously admitted she had made a huge mistake when she previously turned down a role in Top Gear, having been asked by the show’s executive producer at the time, Andy Wilman.
She also admitted the format would be different when suggesting Top Gear bosses wanted a “gang of people” as opposed to the old three-presenter mix of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. This would allow Perry to play a role given the 20 weeks a year she currently needs for her regular Formula One commitments.
Clarkson was forced out of the show he helped turn into a global powerhouse after punching producer Oisin Tymon, which lead to Hammond and May also exiting.
Clarkson has since poked fun at the Beeb in a new advert for Amazon Prime, the on-demand service that reportedly paid £160 million for a new 36-episode, three season motoring show that will go up against the Beeb’s reinvention of Top Gear.
He also tweeted a teaser photo, which showed himself, Hammond and May standing in front of the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari La(The)Ferrari.
It is unfair to judge the Beeb’s new Top Gear format before it launches, but Perry more than understands the difficult task ahead for Evans.
Speaking to Digital Spy, Perry said: “[Clarkson, Hammond and May] made that show a success with Andy Wilman, it was about those three, I don’t think it was particularly about the format, it was very much about their relationship together… and that’s what works.
“That’s what’s dynamite on television, and that’s what needs to be assembled, that’s what Chris [Evans] has to do, he has to assemble a good team that works very well together and keep the good bits and freshen it up with some new bits.”
The unnamed Amazon Prime motoring show is being produced by Wilman and hosted by Clarkson, Hammond and May. It will arrive in 2016 on an undisclosed date, the same year as Top Gear’s return.
You can listen to the relevant Chris Evans radio show here (skip to 2:21.48 for the Suzi Perry reference).