It’s been a rough year for British car show, Top Gear. First, original host Jeremy Clarkson was fired after an altercation with a production employee over cold breakfast. Now, Clarkson’s replacement Chris Evans has left the show after low ratings, scandal, and an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual assault.
Top Gear was originally hosted by British writer Jeremy Clarkson along with co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May. All three left the show after Clarkson’s contract was dropped by the BBC, following his public fight with a Top Gear production employee in 2015. Clarkson was replaced by British presenter Evans (no relation to Captain America Chris Evans), and Friends star Matt LeBlanc.
Unfortunately for Evans, his tenure on the show was met with record low ratings, with the series finale garnering fewer than 2 million viewers – a deep drop from what was once the most popular program in the whole world. This comes at a time where Evans is also being investigated by British police for sexually assaulting a female colleague in the ‘90s. Evans has denied the allegations, and no formal arrests have been made.
Evans took the reins for Top Gear after original hosts Clarkson, Hammond, and May left the show. Clarkson, in particular, had been criticized for making offensive statements routinely categorized as racist or sexist. The altercation in 2015 was simply the final straw for the BBC after years of covering for Clarkson’s behavior. It didn’t help that Top Gear was such a popular global brand, producing spinoffs in the United States, Australia, and South Korea. Clarkson and his former Top Gear co-hosts are currently developing another car show for Amazon.
Top Gear has often been categorized as a mens show, but to its credit, the program made the idea of appreciating cars appeal to a broader audience thanks to a clever mix of car reviews and filmed documentary segments.