Thursday 19 April 2018

Comedian Bob Mortimer describes Top Gear's Chris Evans as a 'timebomb'

Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc filming Top Gear in Blackpool
Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc filming Top Gear in Blackpool
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Comedian Bob Mortimer has described new Top Gear host Chris Evans as a "timebomb".

Mortimer (56) tweeted a reference to The Sun's story which cited a source accusing Evans of being a "control freak" and claiming he was the reason producer Lisa Clark quit.

"Well we'll soon see if Tony Hall meant what he said about talent abusing their power at the BBC" he wrote. He also used the hashtag #topgeartimebomb

Tony Hall is the BBC director general.

Mortimer worked with Lisa Clark in the past and The Sun reported that he had tweeted negative comments about Evans last month but had deleted those tweets.

When Lisa Clark departed the show after five months she said she was simply "moving on to new projects" and she said, "I'd like to wish production all the very best on the show."

On Tuesday acting director of BBC Television Mark Linsey released a statement refuting the claims made in The Sun.

"It is rubbish to suggest Chris Evans's behaviour on the set of Top Gear has been in any way unprofessional," he said.

"Chris is a consummate professional and a real team-player. He is a passionate presenter who commits his heart and soul into everything he does - whether his Radio 2 show, Children In Need or Top Gear - and we are extremely fortunate to have him leading the show.

"Also, it is simply not true to suggest Chris did not support the signing of Matt LeBlanc, when he has been behind Matt joining the presenting team since day one.

"Chris and Matt are part of a wider production team that is full of brilliant and talented people. That team is tight-knit, in great spirits and utterly focused on delivering the best possible series for viewers."

Clark had worked with the 49-year-old presenter since his time on The Big Breakfast in the 90s.  She had replaced Andy Wilman on Top Gear.  He left when Jeremy Clarkson was sacked following his bust-up with producer Oisin Tymon.

Clarkson issued a formal apology to the Irish producer and settled a racial discrimination and personal injury claim for a estimated £100,000 (€127,000).

The launch of the show, which has seen the departure of script editor Tom Ford and BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw, has been put delayed two weeks until May 22.

Clarkson will team up with fellow Top Gear presenters James May and Richard Hammond for a new car series for Amazon Prie.

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