After Chris Evans’ perhaps not-so-surprising departure from Top Gear, all eyes have now turned to Matt LeBlanc; with fans wondering whether the ex-Friends star could be the one to save the struggling series.
With the BBC announcing Evans will not be replaced as the main host on the show, it’s essentially boosted LeBlanc from co-host to lead anchor. A move Evans seems particularly keen to support, on his own part; taking to The Mail on Sunday to write a glowing recommendation of the actor’s work on the show, and marking a show of confidence in his takeover.
“For me, he is the man. He is the captain Top Gear truly needs going forward, the perfect torso for the rest of TG’s limbs,” Evans wrote. “Not only does he eat, sleep, breathe and dream engines, propshafts, and trail-braking, but the overwhelming quality that struck me about him is that he’s just such a pro.”
“The whole time I worked with him, he never once looked at the clock, was never late on set, knew his lines inside out and back to front and, most importantly on such an intense production, he always had time for everyone, especially the crew. The simple truth is he and Top Gear were made for each other.”
Indeed, though there have been reports of a fractious relationship between the pair, LeBlanc has overall seen fairly positive feedback from even the show’s harshest critics. The challenge is whether LeBlanc’s charisma alone would be able to reverse the show’s plummeting viewing figures, which hit an all-time low during its series finale.
Evans had previously announced he would be leaving the show with no plans to return, despite “giving it his best shot”. He told listeners of his Radio 2 show that the rest of the team should “move on” without him, after admitting that “standing aside is the single best thing” he could do to help the show progress in his leaving statement.
“I have never worked with a more committed and driven team than the team I worked with over the last twelve months,” he said. “I remain a huge fan of the show, always have been, always will be. I will continue to focus on my radio show and the allied events that it encompasses.”