From left to right: Rory Reid, Sabine Schmitz, Matt LeBlanc, Chris Evans, Chris Harris, Eddie Jordan and of course, The Stig, who have been announced as the full line-up of BBC’s longest running motoring show, Top Gear.
We mentioned last Monday that popular and longest running motoring show ‘Top Gear’ opened its doors to former ‘Friends’ superstar Matt LeBlanc to be one of its co-host. Now, BBC has finally completed its full line up of presenters taking the mantle so to speak from former hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammon. Ever since the departure of the trio due to controversies surrounding Jeremy Clarkson, speculations have been rife on who will take reins of the show which has been running since 1977.
The first announcement was that of Chris Evans (no, he is NOT the shield-wielding guy), BBC Radio 2 DJ and TV presenter who would take over as the show’s main host filing in Clarkson’s shoes. Names were discussed and debated on who will be joining Evans next but few could have guessed that the next name to be announced was that of Matt LeBlanc. It received a lot of mixed reactions from audiences ranging from applause of admiration for LeBlanc, to prophetic doomsayers heralding the end of the show in a matter of 3-4 episodes. While LeBlanc’s inclusion might have appeared odd, there is no question that he is in fact a self-confessed petrol-head and car enthusiast, and bears the undefeated title of holding Top Gear’s record for the fastest lap time set by a ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’.
Now BBC completes Top Gear’s line-up by adding four new presenters before it returns this May, each with an equally impressive resume of automotive experience: racing heroine Sabine Schmitz, YouTube star Chris Harris, F1 expert Eddie Jordan and motoring journalist Rory Reid. With the exception of Eddie Jordan, most viewers are asking the most fundamental question of all: who on Earth are these guys?
Sabine Schmitz has raced for BMW and Porsche, and has appeared in Top Gear several times.
Sabine Schmitz has actually appeared several times in Top Gear. Being the first female host of the show for fifteen years, she might be familiar with most of its devout viewers. Schmitz also has the bragging rights of being the first female winner of the Nurburbring 24 hours in 1996. She still races actually and is at the helm of her very own team. It is hoped that her presence and input will bring a professional driving perspective to the program. “I grew up next to the Nürburgring and have been racing for most of my life, so the chance to combine both driving and filming was too good an opportunity to pass up,” Schmitz says.
Chris Harris is an online sensation with his YouTube channel, Chris Harris on Cars.”
Chris Harris owes his popularity to his legion of online fans. He has his own YouTube car-based channel named after him, “Chris Harris on Cars.” The show currently has more than 250,000 subscribers and more than 20 million views, so when the opportunity came along his way to make it to mainstream television, there were no second thoughts in his mind. It is also a strategic move for BBC since Harris will bring along with him his established quarter of a million fan base, after the show lost a significant portion of its viewership no thanks to Clarkson, Hammond and May’s departure. Harris looks at his appointment more as paying it forward. He says, “Top Gear is the thing that helped shape my life with cars, my perception of cars and my obsession with cars, and I’m raring to give it a go.”
Winning at the Formula Atlantic Championship during the 70s, Eddie Jordan went full throttle in his racing career by establishing his own F1 team that launched the likes of Schumacher, Irvine, and Barrichello.
Eddie Jordan, as you may have guessed, is best known for being the guy behind the success of legendary Formula 1 racing drivers such as Michael Schumacher, Eddie Irvine and Rubens Barrichello through his Jordan team. He has been co-hosting BBC’s F1 coverage since 2005 and given his huge motor sport knowledge and presenting experience, Jordan is quite a catch for Top Gear. “I have such enormous respect for all my fellow presenters and I politely ask that they go easy on these old bones,” Jordan quipped.
The wild card, Rory Reid is no stranger to the camera. He presents for several YouTube channels, and hosts at Radio 5 Live.
Lastly, Rory Reid maybe considered as the show’s wild card having landed his spot on the panel after a series of successful public auditions. He hasn’t quite come out of nowhere though; Reid has been writing about cars for nearly 20 years. He’s also instrumental in launching CNET UK’s Car Tech channel and has appeared on Sky 1’s ‘Gadget Geeks’. He currently runs a YouTube channel called the “Fast, Furious and Funny”. Reid couldn’t be more proud considering the circumstances that brought him to show. ‘To be the only person to make it through the open audition process makes me immensely proud. I’ve been a Top Gear fan for decades, but more than that, I live and breathe cars in a way that is perfectly compatible with the show,’ Reid says.
Admittedly, Top Gear’s new presenting lineup is an interesting mix coming from all sorts of the motoring industry. It is interesting to speculate how the new team, with their strong background in motor racing and varied experiences, will bring about a different direction which has not been seen from the show for a very long time. For the past years, Clarkson and his team have been interested solely on pushing regular cars to their limits modifying and exposing them to gruelling challenges. Are we to see the same format and theme, or will Evans and his presenters be maverick enough to try something new?
Tell us what you think. Will you be watching Top Gear when it returns in May, or will you be crossing over to Amazon Prime once Clarkson, Hammond and May launch their new car show later in the year? Share your comments below.
The new season of the revamped Top Gear will debut in the UK on BBC sometime in May, 2016.