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Top Gear will need refuelling again after Chris Evans quits

The BBC’s flagship car show, Top Gear, has ended its season finale on a low, with mediocre ratings and a resignation.

Host Chris Evans announced on social media Monday he was leaving the show after just one season.

“Gave it my best shot but sometimes that’s not enough,” said Evans. “The team are beyond brilliant, I wish them all the best.”

Mark Linsey, director of BBC Studios, said Evans believes that the remaining producing and presenting team will be able to “take the show forward and make it the hit we want it to be.”

Evans, who reportedly signed a three-year contract to helm the revamped Top Gear, said he would continue with his other BBC radio and television projects.

Top Gear was rebooted in May following the high-profile departures of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. The well-known trio drew an audience of around 5.8 million viewers before leaving to start a new show on Amazon Prime.

The latest season of Top Gear, which also featured former Friends star and auto buff Matt LeBlanc among its fresh slate of co-hosts, attracted just 1.9 million viewers for its Sunday night finale.

Competing coverage of the Euro 2016 soccer game between France and Iceland may have also contributed to the slump in viewership for Sunday’s finale, but the 23rd season of the show had been dogged with rumours of internal dissension between Evans and LeBlanc.

Some fans and critics had attacked the new cast on social media and in the press, and Evans was forced to apologize for an episode in which some of the co-hosts performed “doughnuts” in their cars not far from London’s Cenotaph, a stone monument to Britain’s war dead.

Evans, 50, was also recently accused publicly by a former colleague of inappropriate behaviour on the set of a 1990s production, which he strenuously denied. No charges have been brought in connection with the allegations.

Top Gear was scheduled to resume filming for new episodes in September. It’s not immediately clear if that production schedule will be affected by Evans’ departure, or if LeBlanc will be back on the show.

CBC | Arts News