Matt LeBlanc announced as new Top Gear host
It’s been revealed today that Matt LeBlanc is to take over as a host of Top Gear.
It’s been well documented about the issues with Top Gear over the past year, and though it was no surprise to see car-mad Chris Evans be announced as the main host of the new format a few months back, the latest announcement seems to have surprised many.
LeBlanc is obviously best known for playing Joey in Friends, and subsequently appearing as a mocked-up version of himself in Episodes, though he holds the record for fastest lap in the show’s “Star in a reasonably priced car” feature and is meant to be as fanatical about cars as Evans.
There’s been an interesting response to the news online. The die-hard Jeremy Clarkson fans have questioned the appointment, others have welcomed LeBlanc who is said to be a massive car fan.
For me, I’m not sure that an actor can bring what’s needed to the show.
Top Gear’s strength over the past decade or so has been not just the chemistry between Clarkson, Hammond and May - which Evans, LeBlanc and whoever else will find hard to reproduce - but the excellent writing.
It should be remembered that Top Gear was very much a Clarkson product. It had become moulded by Clarkson simply as he was the main writer as well as the presenter.
Anyone hoping that Top Gear will pick up where it left off last year is likely to be sadly disappointed. The show is Top Gear in name only, and even if they choose to retain the elements that fans know and love, it will still be a vastly different product than before.
That’s not to say it’s doomed to fail. Evans is definitely the BBC’s golden boy at the moment, and LeBlanc is a car fan and will be competent if nothing else at reading a script, which is the worst case scenario for him.
Evans is no fool, and will hopefully bring his own magic touch to the writing, but it will be an interesting battle between the Evans / LeBlanc Top Gear and the Clarkson / Hammond / May Amazon Prime show.
I can’t see either show enjoying continued phenomenal success that the BBC has had to date with the format, and the fallout from Clarkson’s actions last year has left everyone - the BBC and the viewers - all the poorer for it.
Let’s hope that both shows pleasantly surprise everyone.