The new era of Top Gear certainly had a wobbly start, thanks to an identity crisis, and too many presenters, one of which really didn’t land well with viewers. No prizes for guessing who that is…However, once the Ginger Chris was gone, and the presenting line-up was streamlined, things started getting rapidly better.
Evans’ departure not only made the show better (no offence, Chris) but it also allowed Matt LeBlanc to find his feet and come in to his own on Top Gear. With Evans as the lead host, the American always seemed a bit wooden in the studio, and you could tell there was a difficulty in getting any real chemistry.
The LeBlanc, Harris and Reid setup has been noticeably better, and like many, I’ve enjoyed watching Top Gear again. So much so, that parts of me are starting to prefer it to The Grand Tour – surely, sacrilege? Things were finally starting to look for the new setup of Top Gear, but this week LeBlanc has caused quite the stir by announcing he is to quit the show after the next series.
His reason for this shock departure was that he was travelling to much and therefore spending too much away from his family. That, if you ask me, is as good as reason as any, but surely he must have known the job would involve a large amount of travelling? Maybe he took the job as a bit of a personal gamble, thinking that he could balance TG and family life, but his family were losing out in the equation.
Upon breaking the news, LeBlanc commented; “It’s unfortunate, but for these reasons I will not be continuing my involvement with the show. I will forever be a Top Gear fan and I wish the team continued success. Thanks for a great drive.”
That aside, that doesn’t change the fact that he will soon be gone, leaving the TG production team with yet another headache to contend with. This has also re-opened the rumour mill for who will be the next host, and once employed, will they be the lead, or will Harris step up to the plate?
I say Harris, because I doubt the Beeb will have Rory as the frontman of the show, That’s not to say he can’t do it, because I definitely think’s up to the task, but I reckon those involved will want someone with more experience to front the show. Once again both Martins – James and Guy – have been placed near the top of the list, as well as Jodie Kidd.
I’ve seen plenty of other names rumoured as well, one of which, surprisingly, was Rob Bryden. No, I don’t quite understand that one either. Personally I think Kidd would be a good fit, but that would heavily depend on whether she would be able to build chemistry with Harris or Reid, which I definitely think would be do-able. I’m not really sure on James Martin as a real choice, and I’ve not seen enough of Guy Martin to form a strong enough opinion.
Either way, it looks to be a bit of an ominous time for the TG team as this looks to be another setback to a show that was really starting to find its feet again. It’ll be interesting to see who the BBC choose to replace LeBlanc, but I hope they make the right choice for the sake of the show’s progression, and also those that tune in to watch.