The popular Saturday Kitchen presenter is understood to have expressed an interest in fronting Top Gear before Chris Evans was named as lead host and has been identified as a potential new presenter now there’s a vacancy.
Martin is a well known motoring enthusiast and is now freed from his Saturday morning responsibilities, which is understood to have been a factor in him failing to land the Top Gear job.
“The BBC wanted him to carry on doing Saturday Kitchen and he couldn’t have done Top Gear because some of the filming was done at weekends,” said a source.
Currently the BBC is planning to make the second series with the current line-up minus Chris Evans but has so far not confirmed their plans.
It is understood that the Corporation is currently negotiating with Matt LeBlanc with a view to making the former Friends star the lead presenter, but nothing has been confirmed. Another new presenter has not been ruled out, it is believed.
It is understood that up to 12 episodes of the second series of Top Gear could be filmed for the second run which is expected to air next Spring. Two planned Christmas specials are understood to have been shelved.
Martin, a passionate car fan who has a personal collection of around 20 cars including two Ferraris, has always refused to comment on whether he would like to present Top Gear.
When he quit Saturday Kitchen he denied it was because he was angry that he hadn’t landed a berth on the motoring show.
“I didn’t leave because we didn’t have a sink, or because of Top Gear, or budget cuts. All these rumours! I left because 10 years is a long time. That’s every Friday and Saturday you’re giving up. I had to be in bed by 9pm and up at 3am. It’s a tough show,” he said.
Martin’s agent declined to comment on the speculation.