Matt Leblanc is threatening to quit the new Top Gear, if they don’t get rid of Chris Evans.
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Chris Evans, ever since people compared me to him at school (now I get Ed Sheeran and Prince Harry.) But that’s definitely turned to hate/hate as I’ve seen what he’s been doing to BBC’s Top Gear.
It’s not that he’s so awful on the show – although with the silver-haired foxiness of Matt Leblanc outshining him, Evans is the very epitome of underwhelming in his role as host. It’s just that behind the scenes, his ego seems to be in the driver’s seat – and he’s powering the production right over the ratings precipice as a result.
One of the reasons the original Top Gear worked so well was the relationship between Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. That extended to May and Hammond quitting the show when Clarkson was punted; which is pretty much the most admirable display of friendship and loyalty you can imagine.
Evans and Leblanc, however, have about as much chemistry as a Christian homeschooling science class. The two were clearly forced together by the producers, and neither likes each other very much. As a result there’s none of the banter that made Top Gear so awesome – since you can tell when two Brits really like each other, because they rib each other mercilessly.
And to compound the issue, Matt Leblanc is way, way better as host than Chris Evans. Easy-going, laconic and charming, the former F.R.I.E.N.D.S. star easily carries the show these days and his immense likeability just highlights how awful Evans is.
So if the rumors are true, and Leblanc really is threatening to quit… Well, I hope the BBC have the balls to do the right thing. Matt Leblanc is the new face of the new Top Gear – and only he has the charisma to make it work.
Evans is a lead weight, on the other hand, and the longer he’s kept around, the more and more likely it is that the BBC’s former flagship will sink beneath the waves.