Chris Evans: “I can confirm 100% we’ll have a female” Top Gear presenter

"We have the Christmas tree but I am going to put more decorations on it," said the new lead presenter of what changes are ahead for the "rock solid" TV format

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Chris Evans has revealed that he will be joined by a woman on the all-new Top Gear line-up.

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“I can confirm that definitely, 100%,” Evans, who it was announced last night that he would be the lead presenter on the show, told Radio 5 Live Breakfast.

Asked by Nicky Campbell whether one of his co-presenters will be a woman he said: “absolutely, but not for the sake of it”.

The red hot odds on bookies favourite take get the gig is Jodie Kidd, a motoring enthusiast and experienced presenter.

Last year she told RadioTimes.com that she would never “join the Top Gear boys”. When she made this statement the show was then presented by Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.

However since Clarkson’s departure she has declined to rule out a role on the show. A source close to the presenter told RadioTimes.com that the “normally chatty” presenter has been “tight-lipped” about a possible involvement, suggesting that she may have been advised not to fuel speculation about her involvement.

Kim Shillinglaw, controller of BBC2 and BBC4, revealed in April that the show was examining the possibility of a female presenter for the show.

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.”

Other women who’ve been associated with the show include Zoe Ball, Suzi Perry and Sue Perkins.

Evans also told 5 Live that he will produce the show and “make all the calls”. He said that the Top Gear films will be kept as they are a “crucial part of the show” but said that he would listen to experienced production staff before deciding where to take the programme.

He said that Star in a Reasonably Priced Car would be kept but he will make his own changes – what he called “bells and whistles.”

“We have the Christmas tree but I am going to put more decorations on it,” he said, adding that the existing format was “rock solid”.

“A bad Top Gear… is ten out of ten for any other programme. I have never seen a bad Top Gear, they don’t exist… It’s like being given a pot of gold.”

Last night it was announced that Evans has signed a three-year deal to lead an all-new Top Gear line-up on the BBC.

The Radio 2 Breakfast Show host has been tipped for the job ever since Jeremy Clarkson left the show in April of this year following a “fracas” with a Top Gear producer.  

The DJ, presenter and entrepreneur, has repeatedly denied his interest in or involvement with Top Gear, although he did admit to Lewis Hamilton during the TFI broadcast on Channel 4 on Friday night: “I did say ‘never,’ but I downgraded it to ‘never say never’.”

He said of his new role: “I’m thrilled, Top Gear is my favourite programme of all time. Created by a host of brilliant minds who love cars and understand how to make the massively complicated come across as fun, devil-may-care and effortless. When in fact of course, it’s anything but and that’s the genius of Top Gear’s global success.

“I promise I will do everything I possibly can to respect what has gone on before and take the show forward.”

Last night Shillinglaw said of Evans’ appointment: “I am so delighted that Chris will be presenting the next series of Top Gear. His knowledge of and passion for cars are well-known and combined with his sheer inventiveness and cheeky unpredictability he is the perfect choice to take our much-loved show into the future.

“Chris is a huge fan of Top Gear and has great respect for the craft and work ethic of one of the best production teams in the world. He knows the phenomenal attention to detail it takes to make a single sequence of Top Gear, let alone a whole series. He is already full of brilliant ideas and I can’t wait for him to get started.”

Production on the new series of Top Gear will begin in the next few weeks.

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