New Top Gear with Chris Evans: as it happened

Missing chemistry and nervous presenters made the first episode of Top Gear with Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc a hit-and-miss affair – will it grow in confidence next week? Here's what we had to say about episode one


After months of wheel-skidding speculation, Top Gear with Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc finally got off the starting line this Sunday – with mixed results.


Gone are the three amigos, instead we have Friends Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc – oh, and Sabine Schmitz, who on the evidence of this first episode looks to be a brilliant permanent addition.

But a nervous opening episode and a work-in-progress relationship between Chris and Matt meant that new Top Gear… didn’t get out of second gear. There’s more to come, though, and one hour of TV does not make or break a show that’s worked for a decade.

Here’s our live take from the first episode. Will you be tuning in next week?

9.14pm Thanks for coming along for the ride everyone. I need a hot meal and a lie down. Let us know your thoughts though, and we’ll post some of the best ones later on.

7.41pm That’s the spirit Percy Weasley!

7.33pm Love looking through all the tweets from people saying they will be boycotting the show on principle. How will they know what cutting remarks to tweet their overlord Jeremy Clarkson if they haven’t seen it?

7.30pm T-minus 30 minutes. Sorry, just flicking in between this and the Monaco Grand Prix highlights. Surely Lewis Hamilton will pop up at some point this series? He clearly enjoyed himself on TFI Friday.

7.26pm Two: chemistry. Whatever the truth about Matt and Chris’s ‘friendship’, frankly all that matters is that they look like they’re enjoying each other’s company on screen. After all, Mythbusters presenters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage worked with each other for over a decade – and couldn’t stand each other.

But even if you couldn’t care less about the central double act, it’ll be interesting to see exactly how the other Top Gear presenters are used/abused. Sabine Schmitz has already given us the best trailer moment after she made Chris sick. More please…


7.23pm OK, couple of things to look out for tonight. One: Matt LeBlanc.

Can he handle the gig? Top Gear doesn’t just have to be a hit in the UK; it’s got to sell around the world. America especially.

Hence Matt. People in the US still need to be reminded that this Chris Evans isn’t Captain America. Dear old Joey on the other hand needs no introduction. LeBlanc is the first foreign host in Top Gear history. The best of British to him…

7.21pm We checked, and yes, the Top Gear Wikipedia page STILL doesn’t list Chris Evans or Matt LeBlanc as presenters.

7.17pm See, this is the thing. This show is so bloody divisive people can’t even agree on whether Chris Evans has loads to live up to or whether anything is better than Jeremy Clarkson.

7.14pm Damn, popcorn. Knew I was missing something…

7.07pm First show, first new star in a reasonably priced car (except it’s not actually called that any more. Did you know that?).

7.03pm Most of the time though, it’s been a nightmare. “Apparently the new show’s going to be s**t,” Evans told the Mail this weekend. “So s**t that people might actually tune in to see just how s**t it is.” So, car crash telly then?

7.02pm The BBC gave the keys to Chris Evans in June last year, and ever since we’ve been trying to work out whether he was the right man for the job. Just occasionally, he’s looked like he’s enjoyed the challenge.


7pm Start your engines. We’re live.


It’s James Gill from, here, gearing up for C̶h̶a̶t̶t̶y̶ ̶R̶a̶c̶e̶s Top Gear. Thought it would be something people might want to talk about…