Tuesday 25 October 2016

Chris Evans 'relieved' Top Gun pilot was sick during Top Gear challenge

Published 25/05/2016 | 10:31

Top Gear presenter Chris Evans answers media questions
Top Gear presenter Chris Evans answers media questions
Friends actor Matt LeBlanc with Chris Evans and The Stig (BBC/PA)

Chris Evans has said he is "very relieved" that a Top Gun pilot was sick in the new series of Top Gear.

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The newly-launched show will return to television screens this weekend, featuring the all-new line-up of Evans, Friends star Matt LeBlanc and four other hosts including German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, plus The Stig.

Teaser footage released a few weeks ago showed Evans being sick after being taken around a race track by Schmitz.

In new footage shown to media at the global press launch, Evans and Schmitz undertake a racing challenge against each other at US Naval Base Fallon, better known as the home of Top Gun.

Evans said: "I was just so relieved when the Top Gun pilot threw up, and no offence to him at all and I feel for him massively, and he's never going to hear the last of it from the guys at base, but I thank him. I owe him a big drink, actually."

His "wing man" and main co-host LeBlanc was absent from the launch, but sent a video message explaining that he was busy filming the final series of his BBC TV show, Episodes.

He said: "It's great that the show continues to prompt so much global interest, even before we have shown the first episode. I've had an amazing and crazy few months since joining Top Gear. We've accomplished a lot and I'm extremely proud of it."

The show has been plagued by reports that Evans and LeBlanc are at loggerheads, but LeBlanc recently dismissed the reports calling them bullshit.

The new series will air in 83 countries over six continents in a 72-hour period, and Evans said he felt relieved that the series was starting at last.

He told the Press Association: " I'm honestly relieved because I can't wait for the first show to get out there and that's it really, it's the cork off the bottle, because all the pressure has been building up. So I just want the first show to get out there, get it on the air and then get on to show number two. We are already making it and we finish it tomorrow."

He said he had learnt a lot from working with American star LeBlanc: " He's worked on one of the biggest shows of all time and to make a show like Friends your work ethic has to be supreme.

"The overriding thing that hit me first was how much he's prepared to work to make the job a good job. He never looks at his watch or says 'Can we go?'."

Ex-Formula 1 team boss Eddie Jordan, who joins the programme as a presenter, promised it will be a "different show" to the previous version, hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.

The former presenting trio recently announced that their rival Amazon Prime motoring show would be called The Grand Tour.

Asked about comparisons to the old series and Clarkson's Amazon show, Jordan said he felt it would be wrong to focus on what had been done in the past.

He said: "I know Jeremy particularly well and I'm a huge fan and I like him. That doesn't mean I want to be absolutely so much better. I believe, and I'm not just speaking for myself, I know there's a willingness not to just focus on them, that would be wrong.

"I think this will be a very different show. I think they had a very successful past and I think you will find this show will be more successful to a wider audience," he added.

The racing pundit said that seeing Evans and LeBlanc working together had left him "hugely impressed".

The show's popular Star In A Reasonably Priced Car segment will be replaced with Star In A Rallycross Car, with a new car and a new track, and will see two celebrities going head to head. The Social Network star Jesse Eisenberg and chef Gordon Ramsay will be the first guests.

The series also boasts a new set, complete with raised viewing platforms on either side, and a balcony, as well as a new video wall.

The main show will be followed by spin-off show, Extra Gear, which will be hosted by Y ouTuber Rory Reid and motoring journalist Chris Harris.

He said: "Extra Gear is the show that will bring you more of the Top Gear universe, if you're ever watching Top Gear and wondering how it all came together.

"We'll also have our own guests so it's basically giving people more of what they've seen on the main show."

:: Top Gear returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm.

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