I expected Chris Evans to quit Top Gear after constant criticism, says former Stig


Perry McCarthy, who portrayed Top Gear's The Stig in the first two series of the BBC Two show, has said he expected Chris Evans to quit after constant criticism.

"It's sad for Chris," he told BBC News. "But personally I was actually expecting such an announcement."

The former racing driver added: "I wasn't expecting it this quickly, but I did think Chris would step down from it."

Perry McCarthy was the original Top Gear Stig
Perry McCarthy was the original Top Gear Stig (Anthony Devlin/PA)

When asked why he believed Chris would leave Top Gear, Perry pointed to the mixed reaction directed at the BBC Radio 2 DJ.

He said: "Chris is an enormously popular radio presenter and TV show host etc, but he hasn't quite gelled with this show and he's not really gelling with the viewers.

"It must be a little bit painful for him to receive this reaction from everybody. I don't think he'd want to continue. I probably wouldn't want to continue if I was getting constant criticism either."

Perry was Top Gear's faceless test driver in 2002 and 2003 when the show relaunched with Jeremy Clarkson at the helm.

Following Clarkson's dismissal in 2015, James Hammond and James May also departed as presenters.

The former Top Gear trio will debut their motoring show The Grand Tour this autumn on Amazon Prime.

Chris Evans
Chris Evans has quit Top Gear (Alex Howe/BBC/PA)

Meanwhile, the BBC has said that the plan was to "continue with no changes to the current line-up", with production set to begin in September.

Former Friends star Matt LeBlanc has proved popular with viewers.