BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw has confirmed Top Gear will return in a new form next year – and could be presented by a woman.
The BBC2 series – which has been off air since the BBC’s decision to suspend Jeremy Clarkson in March – has three shelved episodes which will air by the end of the year, before Top Gear returns in 2016 in its new guise.
Speaking at a BBC2 preview event in London, Shillinglaw – who was previously the BBC’s commissioning editor for science and natural history – declined to rule out a female host to front the new-look format.
“I am not really thinking about it in terms of gender,” she said. ”I have done a lot with female presenters when I used to work in science. That was something across the piece that I really wanted to tackle. It’s a really open book on that.
“We will definitely look at women but it is not the driving priority. I have never approached an individual show thinking that is the way you cast it.”
While the BBC publicly announced their decision not to renew Clarkson’s contract last month, the futures of his former co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May, and the show’s long-running executive producer Andy Wilman, are still up in the air.
However, Shillinglaw did reveal that much of the behind-the-scenes staff would continue working on the series: “We have got a great in-house team that has always made it and will continue to make it.
“It’s not been an easy year but it’s kind of creatively exciting – what we are going to do, what we have to do. We have got to move the show on. That’s what we are going to do.”