Thursday 29 September 2016

We're the modern day odd couple, says Chris Evans of Top Gear buddy Matt LeBlanc

Published 22/02/2016 | 17:51

Top Gear presenters (left to right) Rory Reid , Chris Evans, Matt LeBlanc, Sabine Schmitz, Chris Harris get together for the show's launch
Top Gear presenters (left to right) Rory Reid , Chris Evans, Matt LeBlanc, Sabine Schmitz, Chris Harris get together for the show's launch
Chris Evans
Chris Evans (left ) and Matt LeBlanc racing to Blackpool
Matt LeBlanc taking part in the first challenge for Top Gear with Chris Evans, which is a UK v USA race from London to Blackpool in Reliant Rialtos, emblazoned with their respective country's flags.
Matt LeBlanc (left) and Chris Evans before taking part in the first challenge for Top Gear
Top Gear presenters Chris Evans (left) and Matt LeBlanc filming time trials for the new series in Blackpool.
Chris Evans on the race to Blackpool

Chris Evans has dubbed he and fellow Top Gear presenter Matt LeBlanc the "modern style odd couple".

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The pair have just completed their first challenge for the BBC show - a UK v USA race from London to Blackpool in Reliant Rialtos, emblazoned with their respective country's flags.

LeBlanc hinted that another task would see the pair "in the woods, testing a couple of icons".

Evans said he wanted LeBlanc, best known for playing Joey Tribbiani in Friends for 10 years, to join the Top Gear team because "he loves his cars".

"He knows so much about his cars, he's a brilliant driver and he's a world star, and that's very important for Top Gear," Evans told the Press Association.

"Also the transatlantic connection, we are very much like a modern style odd couple, completely different on first impressions but actually we've got an awful lot in common."

The pair were in Liverpool for a BBC showcase of its latest programmes.

Evans revealed the new seven-presenter line-up would function with him and LeBlanc as the main hosts, and the other stable of presenters would "come in and come out as required".

The new series of the BBC Two show is due to start in May, featuring The Stig, Formula 1 commentator Eddie Jordan, German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, motoring journalist Chris Harris and car reviewer Rory Reid.

LeBlanc appeared in the previous series of the show and holds the record for the then-popular Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment.

Talking about joining the show he praised Evans, jokingly adding he was "a nice guy, very approachable, taller than me".

He said: "We've just done our first film together and we spent three days in the rain and the mud, and we had an absolute blast.

"Sets can be very long, with tedious hours and for me, I like to spend that downtime between setting different shots and setting different scenes, with people whose company you enjoy, it makes the day go quicker."

The actor, who also starred in the BBC comedy Episodes, said Top Gear "didn't feel like a job to me, it feels like this is a fun thing to do".

The new series will see the Top Gear crew globetrotting through countries such as Norway, Kazakhstan, Scotland, South Africa, Morocco and Cuba.

Evans said that he plans to "make films with more people".

He said: "The film we made up in the north of Britain over the last few days, I counted there are 36 other people, other than Matt and I, in those films on camera, so we're going to be much more inclusive."

He said the focus of each episode is the car, but added: "If there's something or someone applicable to the car that will be in the film, whereas before it was a lot more blinkered, so we are opening this up."

When asked if any of the Friends cast had asked to appear on the show as guests, LeBlanc said they had not, due to there being "not nearly as many car nuts" in the US.

He said Formula One driver Romain Grosjean and US Motocross/Supercross champion Jeremy McGrath have asked to be on the show.

Evans said he wants McLaren's star driver Jenson Button to be a guest and added that he wants people "who genuinely love cars inside and outside of what they do, even if what they are involved in is motor sport".

He also hinted at an all-star special, saying: "We've got a road trip and some very well known co-drivers coming with us next week ... but they all love cars, they adore cars. So it's cars first, name second."

Press Association

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