Saturday 21 April 2018

Evans to hold Top Gear auditions

Chris Evans leaves the BBC Radio studios in London, in his vintage Aston Martin, after he was announced as the new Top Gear presenter
Chris Evans leaves the BBC Radio studios in London, in his vintage Aston Martin, after he was announced as the new Top Gear presenter

Newly-appointed Top Gear presenter Chris Evans is to hold auditions to be a co-host on the show - including for members of the public.

He told viewers on BBC1's One Show tonight: "Male, female, old, young, it doesn't matter. The one thing that does matter if you've got to have a real appetite for cars, and you've got to know something about cars."

He said he would be making the main announcement about it on his radio show tomorrow,.

"The way James (May) and Richard (Hammond) were found was by auditioning, so we are going to hold auditions, not just for famous people, for people who are watching the show."

Earlier he confirmed he will be joined by a female, sparking speculation former model Jodie Kidd is in the driving seat for the job.

Evans, announced as the new host of the hit show last night, told Radio 5 Live's Nicky Campbell he could "100%" confirm he would have a female co-star "but not for the sake of it".

Kidd, a former m odel who has already appeared on the BBC2 show as a guest, is the bookmakers' favourite for one of the two spots left after Hammond and May left.

A spokesman for William Hill said: "We think Jodie is almost a certainty but the third member of the expected triumvirate looks very open.

"There will be a load of celebrities willing their phones to ring."

The bookmakers have Kidd at 5/4, Guy Martin at 2/1, Philip Glenister at 3/1 and Dermot O'Leary at 5/1, even though he has previously ruled himself out, telling the Daily Mirror he had not been approached about the job.

Evans, who hosts the Radio 2 breakfast show, has revealed former show host J eremy Clarkson was among the first to congratulate him on getting the job.

The 49-year-old has long been tipped to take the driving seat on the flagship BBC show after Clarkson was sacked for punching a producer in a row over steak.

Evans repeatedly ruled himself out of the running, but has signed a three-year contract to head a new presenting line-up.

He told his listeners on his radio show he was only offered the job last Thursday afternoon when Hammond and May finally ruled themselves out of returning.

He said he immediately texted Clarkson, May and Hammond, to tell them he had been offered the job and accepted it, and they lined up to congratulate him.

Evans told his listeners Clarkson said: "I knew you would, and best of luck."

Press Association

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