Friday 28 October 2016

Evans vows to have female presenter as 'Top Gear' co-host

Michael Hogan

Published 18/06/2015 | 02:30

Contender: former model Jodie Kidd
Contender: former model Jodie Kidd

Top Gear will "definitely, 100pc" have a female presenter in its new line-up, Chris Evans has said.

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Evans, who was announced as Jeremy Clarkson's replacement on the BBC Two show, said there would be at least one woman, chosen not "for the sake of it" but because of their passion for cars.

Jodie Kidd, the former model, and Suzi Perry, the Formula One correspondent, are the leading contenders. Evans's deal makes him executive producer of the show, meaning he has final say over the presenting team.

Perry is one of his friends and was in the audience for last week's 'TFI Friday' revival.

After weeks of rumours, rumblings and wild speculation - not to mention bare-faced, flat-out denials from the man himself, Evans was unveiled as the new host of 'Top Gear'.

The Radio 2 'Breakfast Show' host signed a three-year deal to lead an all-new line-up on BBC Two's most-watched programme.

Evans will be paid millions but if he makes a success of the motoring magazine show, which earns £50m per year for BBC Worldwide, he'll be worth every penny.

The beleaguered Beeb has been under fire from 'Top Gear' devotees since Clarkson's much-discussed departure.

One million viewers signed a petition calling for their hero's reinstatement. Now the corporation has come out fighting by pursuing and bagging their man.

Evans was surely their first choice all along. Not just renowned for his love of cars but one of the finest broadcasters of his generation, he's the right man for the job - and arguably the closest thing there is around to Clarkson.

Evans is the only candidate with the charisma, chops and sheer chutzpah to step into jowly Jezza's size 11 driving shoes.

As such, he represents the franchise's best chance of survival. Ever since his early 90s radio days, Evans has shown himself to be a trail-blazing broadcaster.

When he made the move to TV on 'The Big Breakfast', 'Don't Forget Your Toothbrush' and 'TFI Friday' - which returned for a one-off special just five days ago - he established himself an instinctive, innovative talent.

Like Clarkson, he's a quick-witted, sure-footed, unpredictable presenter who is always unapologetically himself - and not just a genius in front of the camera either. Usually with an exec-producer credit and a hand in all areas of his programmes, he has the popular touch and a creative knack of coming up with original ideas, memorable features and influential formats. Evans is winningly self-deprecating and engaging about it, rather than bullying, boorish or boring.

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