The BBC is poised to reveal more “big names” joining Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans in fronting a rebooted Top Gear, RadioTimes.com understands.
Friends and Episodes star LeBlanc was today unveiled as a member of the new show’s “family” in what could be a pyramid structure, at the very top of which – of course – will sit Evans himself.
The BBC is close to officially confirming that German motorsport star Sabine Schmitz and motoring journalist Chris Harris will be joining Evans and Matt LeBlanc on the revamped Top Gear, RadioTimes.com understands. Harris and Schmitz will be the two principal names below Evans.
Harris is understood to have already signed up to the show. He gave an additional major clue to his involvement when he announced this week that he would only be making four more videos for his YouTube business before closing the account.
He tweeted that the Patreon account, which is thought to have netted him more than £4,000 per month, would be closing:
I'm going to close my @patroen account later today. I want to thank everyone who donated and helped me through 2015.
— chris harris (@harrismonkey) February 2, 2016
RadioTimes.com understands that Harris and Schmitz will not be part of a conventional “gang” alongside Evans and LeBlanc in the way that “Three Amigos “Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond presented the show.
The new structure is expected to see Evans with the sole main presenter credit and Harris and Schmitz as the most regular guest presenters, followed by other members of the “family” including LeBlanc and other personalities who are expected to be named in the coming days.
“This is the Chris Evans show, let no-one be in any doubt about that,” said a source.
It is understood that the producers have also ruled out replicating the old Top Gear specials which saw the then presenting team of Clarkson, May and Hammond travelling abroad pursuing various stunts and challenges. “Chris won’t have the time,” said a source. “And in any case, it won’t be a conventional ‘team’ in that sense.”
Schmidt, a racing driver for BMW and Porsche and the former host of German TV show D Motor, will be regularly used on Top Gear for a variety of hair raising driving escapades, similar to the one she performed for the show’s old hosts, it is understood.
On Top Gear in December 2004, she raced round the Nurburgring in a van, beating the time Jeremy Clarkson had set in an S-Type Jaguar.
Harris (below) is a respected motoring journalist who has worked as a reviewer, writer and editor for many car magazines.
BBC Worldwide has announced that it will be giving the public the first look at the new Top Gear at its annual showcase in Liverpool later this month.
Evans will front the official unveiling in a bid to win over more than 700 programme buyers who in the past have made Top Gear such a money spinning TV juggernaut for the Corporation.
“The event signals the international trade launch of the new look Top Gear,” said BBC Worldwide. “More than 700 international television buyers will get the chance to see Chris Evans offer a glimpse of what’s in store for the new series of Top Gear.”
BBC Worldwide’s 40th showcase event will also see stars including James Norton of War and Peace and Happy Valley, Ben Miller and Keeley Hawes promoting BBC shows to international buyers.