Chris Evans will not be presenting any more series of TFI Friday for Channel 4, a show which he first hosted from 1996 to 2000 and again over the past autumn. Evans’s attention instead will be on Top Gear which returns in early May with him at the helm, alongside German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, journalist Chris Harris and F1 driver David Coulthard.
This move comes as The Sunday Times reported that preparations for the show are ‘in a shambles’. The paper has suggested that Evans ‘overcommitted’, with BBC bosses surprised he took on his Radio 2 show as well as Top Gear. Evans has been pre-recording segments and admitted in a recent magazine column that he had worked for 26 hours straight one day covering his BBC Radio 2 show, TFI Friday and Top Gear.
He wrote: ‘It began with the usual 4.30am Friday start for the Breakfast Show. After that, it was straight to TFI Friday. All I could think of was my third job of the day, jumping on a motorbike the moment TFI finished. I got back home at 6.40am on Saturday – 26 hours and 10 minutes after my alarm had gone off.’
Losing the knowledgeable production team behind the show has also compounded the problem, with a source close to Top Gear saying: ‘They’ve brought in a production team that doesn’t know anything about cars. Writers from Top Gear magazine have had to be called over to suggest ideas and offer advice on what cars to film.’
The latest blow for Evans was the loss of his long-time colleague Lisa Clark, just five months after she had been brought in as executive producer on Top Gear. The show’s script editor Tom Ford is also departing.
Meanwhile, Clarkson, Hammond and May are busily working away on their new show for Amazon Prime, though they haven’t been spotted filming in recent weeks and the show’s name is yet to be announced.