Top Gear series 27 is finally off its starting line, with new line-up Paddy McGuiness, Freddie Flintoff and Chris Harris in the driving seat.
They drove around Ethiopia in the first car they ever owned, raced blindfolded and even taught us how to change a tyre without using a jack. And, according to audiences, the new trio deserves a podium position for their debut – not just because they achieved a viewership of 2.54 million, a 25% increase from the series 26 finale.
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Almost two-thirds of respondents to a Radio Times poll rated the trio four stars or above – a third giving the presenters top marks.
Comments sent in to the Radio Times Facebook page echo the positive reaction, with many praising the banter and chemistry between the presenters. While Craig Monk said the first episode provided some “brilliant laughs”, Scott Knapp said new Top Gear has “finally hit it on the head”.
Many agreed that despite low expectations, the presenters surpassed the efforts from Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans. As Nic Breeze wrote, although the former Friends star started generating some chemistry in their last series, “it always felt scripted and forced”. McGuiness, Flintoff and Harris, however, seemed “unified” on screen.
Although some claimed Flintoff didn’t appear altogether natural in front of camera…
…and others thought Jeremy Clarkson’s The Grand Tour was far better, with commenters like Angela Mallows saying nothing can beat “Clarkson and the other two”. However, most agreed that the new presenters have got Top Gear on track again.
Top Gear is on 8pm Sundays, BBC2