'Top Gear' Host Chris Evans Stepping Down
The presenter announced Monday he would be hanging up his driving gloves after just six episodes of the rebooted motoring show, but on the same day it was confirmed he was being investigated over allegations of sexual assault.
The wheels appear to have fallen off the rebooted Top Gear after just six episodes.
In a tweet sent Monday, new host Chris Evans announced he would be stepping down from the BBC's flagship motoring show, saying that he gave it his "best shot" but sometimes it wasn't enough.
Stepping down from Top Gear. Gave it my best shot but sometimes that's not enough. The team are beyond brilliant, I wish them all the best.— Chris Evans (@achrisevans) July 4, 2016
Evans was announced as the Top Gear host just over a year ago, taking over from Jeremy Clarkson, whose contract wasn't renewed after he punched a producer. He was later joined by Matt LeBlanc in a tactical move seen as extending the show's international reach.
But since the rebooted series first returned to screens in May, it has been hit with growing criticism, most notably for its falling ratings, which hit a series low on Sunday night with an average of 1.9 million U.K. viewers. Elsewhere, the show quickly become a regular target of British tabloids, which have published reports on a growing rift between Evans and LeBlanc. Last week, The Telegraph claimed LeBlanc was planning to quit should Evans not leave first.
But Evans' announcement came on the same day it was confirmed that he was being investigated by police over allegations of sexual assault. The Met confirmed Monday that a woman had made an allegation of "non-recent sexual assault," reportedly relating to an incident in the 1990s.
In a statement, the BBC suggested that the show would be returning without Evans, but didn't announce a successor or indicate whether the other hosts would remain.
"Chris is stepping down from his duties on Top Gear. He says he gave it his best shot doing everything he could to make the show a success," said Mark Linsey, director of BBC Studios.
"He firmly believes that the right people remain, on both the production team and presenting team, to take the show forward and make it the hit we want it to be."
Evans added that he "never worked with a more committed and driven team" than the one he had worked with over the past year.
"I feel like my standing aside is the single best thing I can now do to help the cause," he said. "I remain a huge fan of the show, always have been, always will be."
July 4, 9:30 a.m. Updated with information about the sexual assault allegations.