Chris Evans steps down from Top Gear

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Evans arrives at Broadcasting House today to present his radio show

CHRIS Evans is stepping down as presenter of Top Gear, following heavy criticism and poor viewing figures for the revamped BBC series.

Evans tweeted:  “Stepping down from Top Gear. Gave it my best shot but sometimes that’s not enough.

“The team are beyond brilliant, I wish them all the best.”

In a statement he added: “I have never worked with a more committed and driven team than the team I have worked with over the last twelve months.

“I feel like my standing aside is the single best thing I can now do to help the cause.

“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.”

Mark Linsey, director of BBC Studios, said: “Chris is stepping down from his duties on Top Gear.

“He says he gave it his best shot doing everything he could to make the show a success.

“He firmly believes that the right people remain, on both the production team and presenting team to take the show forward and make it the hit we want it to be.

“The new series has so far notched up over 30 million views in the UK alone and has already been sold to 130 territories worldwide.”

Top Gear ended its new series on Sunday with its lowest audience so far.

An average of 1.9 million viewers watched the final programme Evans will present – 8.6% of the available audience.

More than 4 million tuned into the opening episode.

“I will continue to focus on my radio show and the allied events that it encompasses.”

Mark Linsey, director of BBC Studios, said: “Chris is stepping down from his duties on Top Gear.

“He says he gave it his best shot doing everything he could to make the show a success.

“He firmly believes that the right people remain, on both the production team and presenting team to take the show forward and make it the hit we want it to be.

“The new series has so far notched up over 30 million views in the UK alone and has already been sold to 130 territories worldwide.”

Top Gear ended its new series on Sunday with its lowest audience so far.

An average of 1.9 million viewers watched the final programme Evans will present – 8.6% of the available audience.

More than 4 million tuned into the opening episode.

Evans has been sensitive to the falling ratings, telling his 2.3 million Twitter followers that “overnight television viewing figures for Top Gear have never been less relevant.”

He wrote in June: “Top Gear audience grew throughout the hour. FACT. Won its slot. FACT. Still number one on i Player. FACT. These are THE FACTS folks.”

Former Top Gear presenter Sue Baker say she’s not really surprised by Evans’ decision, saying it “really wasn’t working”.

“He never seemed entirely comfortable with what he was doing and I think he was outshone by some of the newer presenters,” she told Sky News.

It is unclear if the rest of the current Top Gear line-up will remain.

It includes former Friends actor Matt LeBlanc, racing driver Sabine Schmitz and F1 pundit Eddie Jordan.

The original Top Gear was a massive ratings success for the BBC, and one of its biggest international hits, selling around the world.

It was presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, but after Clarkson was suspended by the BBC for what it called a “fracas” with a producer, the other two decided to call it a day in 2015. news.sky.com

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