Top Gear timeline: A year of bumps and scrapes for Chris Evans


Chris Evans was named Top Gear's new frontman in June 2015, but the year that followed did not run as smoothly as show bosses may have liked.

Here is a rundown of notable moments in Chris's Top Gear tenure.

The big reveal - June 16 2015

Chris Evans ( Andrew Matthews/PA )
Chris Evans ( Andrew Matthews/PA )

After months of speculation about who would replace ousted favourite Jeremy Clarkson, the BBC announces that Chris has signed a three-year deal to lead an all-new line-up for the popular motoring programme.

Doing things differently - October 6 2015

Chris hints that there may not be co-hosts with him at all times throughout the new series.

He suggests that the old format, which saw Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May front the show, may not be a fixture in every episode going forward.

Executive producer leaves - December 22 2015

Top Gear's executive producer Lisa Clark announces that she is leaving the show after five months.

Friends star joins Chris - February 4 2016

Actor Matt LeBlanc is named as a surprise addition to the Top Gear presenting team.

Chris confirms the news as he tweets a picture of himself, Matt and The Stig.

Full line-up revealed - February 11 2016

The new Top Gear presenting team.
The revamped line up (BBC)

The full presenting team is revealed as racing driver Sabine Schmitz, YouTube star Chris Harris, F1 pundit Eddie Jordan and motoring journalist Rory Reid alongside Chris, Matt and The Stig.

BBC defends Chris - February 29 2016

A BBC boss says Chris is a team player and it is "rubbish" to suggest otherwise.

He was described as a "passionate presenter" by Mark Linsey, acting director of BBC Television, following reports about his behaviour on the job.

The TV chief also said it was "simply not true" to say Chris was against the appointment of Matt to the show's line-up.

Mr Linsey was responding to speculation about Top Gear which included a report that executive producer Ms Clark left after just five months on the show because of Chris' behaviour.

Chancellor of the Exchequer: Quiet please - March 13 2016

George Osborne scolds Chris for making a racket near Downing Street and distracting him from writing the Budget.

Controversy at the Cenotaph - March 14 2016

Matt LeBlanc takes a selfie driving over Tower Bridge London with rally driver Ken Block
Matt LeBlanc (Mark Yeoman/Top Gear)

Chris apologises "unreservedly" after scenes for Top Gear were filmed near the Cenotaph in central London.

Matt was seen driving around Westminster as shooting took place for the new series and photos show large tyre circles left on streets surrounding the war memorial after the stunt.

Speaking on his BBC Radio 2 show, Chris said he "completely understood the furore" around the photographs and admitted it had been "unwise" to film anywhere near the Cenotaph.

He said the footage was "disrespectful" and should not be broadcast and, speaking outside the BBC, he described the images as "terrible".

Kazakhstan cancellation - March 30 2016

A big-budget trip had to be cancelled after the team were not permitted to fly to Kazakhstan.

According to reports, presenters Rory, Sabine and Eddie were trying to make their way to the former Soviet state alongside around 40 crew members - but they did not get farther than Moscow.

The BBC told the Press Association: "Through no fault of the Top Gear team, the airline carrying them was not permitted to fly from Moscow to Kazakhstan and so they returned to London. They intend to visit Kazakhstan in the future to shoot the planned film there. The BBC will be looking to recoup the cost of the flights."

Feud rumours - April 13 2016

Matt and Chris dismiss rumours of a feud after the presenters were reported to have fallen out over the Cenotaph stunt.

However, they both laughed off the claims on Twitter.

Bully claims 'ridiculous' - May 8 2016

Chris hits back at claims he is a bully, saying the allegations are "ridiculous". He was accused of being "out of control" by former colleagues.

War denials - May 23 2016

Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc on Top Gear
Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc (BBC)

Matt dismisses claims he and Chris are "at war" as a "big load of bullshit".

First episode airs to lukewarm reviews and fall in ratings - May 29 2016

While TV critics did not appear to be overwhelmed by the new show, it did not attract a lot of criticism either.

The Daily Telegraph said that while the new presenters had "sharp things" to say about the vehicles, "the show's trademark flights of savagely funny sarcasm were as thin on the ground as edible grub in service stations".

The Sun review was a little more critical, saying: "If you hadn't seen the old version, BBC2 would have a perfectly serviceable new motoring show on their hands. But we have seen this done before and better."

Canned laughter? - June 4 2016

The BBC hits back at claims that canned laughter was edited into the first episode to cover up "wkward silences" from the audience.

The Sun quoted an anonymous audience member at the recording of the first episode who said there has been "long, awkward silences" during filming and that they "couldn't believe how much laughter they had added in" to the broadcast programme.

Falling ratings - June 5 2016

Matt LeBlanc
Matt LeBlanc (BBC World Wide/Jeff Spicer)

The audience plummets to 2.8 million viewers in its second outing, losing a third of the viewers who watched its debut, while the finale of the series on July 3 draws an average of 1.9 million people.

The show failed to reach the viewing figures of the last series with Jeremy, James and Richard, who bowed out with 5.8 million viewers.

End of Chris - July 4 2016

Chris said he was leaving Top Gear.