For the Love of Cars revs into top gear as Philip Glenister is made favourite to replace Clarkson

The Channel 4 series returned with its biggest audience to date just as bookies put the Life on Mars star in pole position to become the new Top Gear presenter

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Channel 4’s For the Love of Cars returned on Sunday night with its biggest audience to date, just as bookies put host Philip Glenister in pole position to take over from Jeremy Clarkson on BBC2’s own petrolhead show Top Gear.

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For the Love of Cars was up half a million on its series-one average, drawing overnight figures of 1.8 million on C4 (including HD and +1) in the same Sunday-night 8pm-9pm slot occupied by Top Gear (which would have ended its current run last week had the final three episodes not been pulled in the wake of the Clarkson fracas).

On the same day, Glenister overtook Sue Perkins as the bookies’ favourite to replace former host Clarkson on Top Gear, following a story in the Sun On Sunday that the BBC (which declined to comment on the speculation) is considering him for the role.

Glenister is already associated with the combination of fast cars and old-school banter that is Top Gear’s calling card, thanks to his role as DCI Gene Hunt in BBC drama Life on Mars, and on Sunday night many For the Love of Cars viewers took to Twitter calling for him to step into Clarkson’s shoes.

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Whatever the future holds for Top Gear and Glenister, it’s clear the British viewing public has not lost its appetite for a Sunday-night helping of men and motors…