The Chris Evans re-launch of Top Gear has suffered a hit after it was revealed its executive producer has left for pastures new.
Lisa Clark was brought in by lead presenter Evans to reinvent the show in the wake of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May’s departure earlier in the year.
But just a few months later ─ and after much hype from Evans ─ Clark has left the BBC to pursue “new projects”, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper.
Clark announced the news: “After an extremely busy five months I am moving on from Top Gear to new projects which I will be announcing in the new year. I’d like to wish production all the very best with the show.”
The BBC said in a statement: “We’d like to thank Lisa for all her incredible work over the last five months readying new Top Gear for its busy filming schedule in 2016 and planned return in May.”
A spokesperson added that the show is unaffected by the loss of Clark. Top Gear will return on the 8th of May 2015 ─ a mere five months away.
Top Gear’s series editor, Alex Renton, will take over the position on an interim basis until a new appointment is announced in 2016.
Evans, who had worked with Clark on The Big Breakfast, said of her appointment as executive producer at the time: “Lisa is as good as it gets when it comes to making big, important television shows.”
“She’s funny, sassy, super experienced and has always absolutely loved cars,” he added.
Clark and comedians Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer setup a production company known as Pett in 2001.
The presenters on Top Gear have yet to be announced, but F1 and MotoGP presenter Suzi Perry has been touted ─ and given the BBC’s termination of its F1 coverage she may have more free time. Our money is on numerous presenters to step away from the three-person mould.
The rival Amazon motoring show is still without a name or a release date other than 2016, but we know the much-loved trio are working alongside the old Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman as part of a three-year, 36-episode deal said to be worth £160 million.
Without knowing what the exact “new projects” are (Clarkson’s Amazon show, perhaps?), it’s hard to judge whether Clark is distancing herself from a sinking ship or fancied a change of scenery.
Excited for the new Top Gear or will you be taking your viewing time to Amazon for Clarkson’s new show?