Various news outlets are reporting that Top Gear host Chris Evans is set to have his screen-time on the show reduced, following a further reduction in viewing figures – but co-host Rory Reid has denied these claims, after a tweet of his own kick-started the rumours in the first place.
On Sunday night Reid took to Twitter to reply to fans who had praised his presenting, admitting that he was now ‘in it for the rest of the series’. The Telegraph then claimed that “it is understood that pre-recorded material featuring [Rory Reid and Chris Harris] will feature more prominently in the rest of the series”, leading to numerous headlines suggesting Evans was set to take a back-seat.
Chris Harris has a long and established following on YouTube, while Rory won his spot through an open audition; the pair both host the spin-off show Extra Gear and have become firm favourites with viewers. However on Tuesday morning Rory shared a tweet with fans that revealed he was alarmed ‘how a tweet can be misinterpreted and turned into a news story’.
He added: ‘It’s also odd that people think a big TV series won’t have been planned and shot is shot months in advance.’
Viewer figures for Top Gear Series 23 Episode 3 reduced to just 2.4 million viewers, although we saw a similar thing happen with Episode 2 – which has since risen to 4.1 million viewers once on-demand viewing is accounted for. Those who did tune in for Episode 3 had a pleasant surprise as the overall social media reaction was positive.
A BBC spokesperson said: “Chris and Matt are the presenters of Top Gear with the rest of the team appearing in the studio throughout the series when they feature in a filmed insert. These films have been in the schedule for months therefore there has been no adjustment in prominence for anyone.”