Wednesday 24 April 2019

Matt LeBlanc thanks viewers as he drives away from Top Gear

The actor had been popular with fans of the BBC motoring programme.

Matt LeBlanc on Top Gear (BBC)
Matt LeBlanc on Top Gear (BBC)

By Julia Hunt, Press Association Entertainment Correspondent

Matt LeBlanc thanked viewers for tuning in as he took his last ever spin on Top Gear.

The former Friends star announced last year that he was stepping down from the BBC Two motoring programme and his final instalment aired on Sunday.

As the episode – and the current series – came to an end, he said: “Thank you all so much for watching.

“We’ve had a lot of fun making this series. Sometimes too much fun.”

“Good night,” he added.

The show then aired a few minutes of outtakes from the series, which saw LeBlanc fluffing lines and joking around in between takes.

The US actor joined Top Gear in 2016, originally hosting alongside Chris Evans, who later quit amid criticism over his hosting style.

LeBlanc was a hit, with many viewers crediting him for giving the show a boost at a time when some feared it didn’t have many miles left in the tank.

However, he announced last year that he was leaving because of the demands of the role and how much it kept him away from his family and friends.

LeBlanc’s last episode saw him chatting to his Episodes co-star Stephen Mangan, who tried his luck on the Top Gear racetrack.

The pair enjoyed some light-hearted banter, with Mangan joking about wanting to post a better lap time than LeBlanc.

At one point, Mangan teased: “He (LeBlanc) wasn’t that big in Friends. Chandler was my favourite.”

The instalment also saw LeBlanc try out the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, while Rory Reid tested the Rolls-Royce Phantom and Chris Harris explained why a Ford Fiesta was better than a Lamborghini.

Paddy McGuinness and Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff will take the wheel when Top Gear returns this summer for its 27th series.

McGuinness and Flintoff will join motoring journalist and racing driver Harris in the main presenting line-up.

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