A woman has landed the Top Gear job – just not in front of the camera (or not yet anyway).
Entertainment and comedy producer Lisa Clark has been made executive producer on the show which is set to embark on a new era with Chris Evans as lead presenter.
Clark takes over from Andy Wilman who stepped down in the wake of the “fracas” which saw Jeremy Clarkson removed from the show and the voluntary departures of his fellow presenters James May and Richard Hammond.
Clark knows Evans well having worked as a producer on two of his biggest Channel 4 shows, The Big Breakfast and Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush.
She has been producing entertainment and comedy programmes for more than 25 years, with a list of credits that includes Vic and Bob panel comedy Shooting Stars and the duo’s recent BBC2 sitcom House of Fools.
Evans was head of comedy at LWT and then a senior commissioning executive at the BBC. In 2001 She set up the independent production company Pett Television with Reeves & Mortimer and together they devised and produced a range of entertainment formats and scripted comedies across all channels and platforms, from BBC1’s Celebrity Dog School to BBC3’s Tittybangbang.
Evans said: “Lisa is as good as it gets when it comes to making big, important television shows. She’s funny, sassy, super experienced and has always absolutely LOVED cars.”
Clark added: “This is an incredibly exciting and challenging opportunity, which I couldn’t resist. I’m confident that after 14 years, Pett can continue to make original and probably funnier shows in my absence.”
Evans’s two co-presenters have not yet been revealed but names in the frame are said to include Jodie Kidd, Guy Martin, Philip Glenister, Dermot O’Leary and F1 driver Jenson Button.
The BBC has declined to offer any clues as to the timing of the new-look Top Gear – either on when filming will begin or when it will air.
“We need to get the presenters in place first,” said a source.