They say, “two’s company” and “three’s a crowd,” but we’re willing to bet the new lineup of the BBC’s Top Gear presenters will be anything but overcrowded. After Clarkson, May, and Hammond left the show in 2015, there’s been no small amount of turnover among the ranks and changes to Top Gear, whose viewership has steadily declined. Replacement Chris Evans was only on board a short time, as were Matt LeBlanc and Rory Reid. LeBlanc announced his leaving the show completely, and Reid and German racer Sabine Schmitz are expanding Top Gear’s online presence with a web-only spinoff, Extra Gear. What’s next for Top Gear Series 27?
For the start of Top Gear Series 27, it’s been confirmed that frequent guest host Chris Harris will be front and center in the new series. YouTube star Harris formerly hosted a long-running web series, Chris Harris On Cars, which was absorbed by the BBC when he became part of Top Gear in 2016. Alongside Harris, the BBC has signed on two new main presenters, both car enthusiasts and natural entertainers.
Patrick “Paddy” McGuinness joins Top Gear, new for Series 27. McGuinness has been active in television since the mid-1990s, as an actor, comedian, and Prime Time television host. He even once hosted a show called Stars in Their Cars, which was probably a good primer for a slot in the Top Gear lineup.
Finally, Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff, retired cricket-player and television host, rounds out the threesome heading up Top Gear Series 27. One of the best cricketers of his time, at least his first 2000s run, he’s since retired from sport and gone on to other projects, including fashion design and comedy.
In a press release, BBC Controller Patrick Holland notes Paddy and Freddie are both avid car enthusiasts, expecting beyond that they’ll “bring new energy and competitive spirit” to Top Gear. McGuinness has been watching Top Gear since the early years and becoming one of the hosts is something of a dream come true. Flintoff says joining Top Gear is a chance to do both of his dream jobs.
Hopefully, the 6’ 4” Flintoff will find some cars to drive that can handle his height, or will we be seeing him shoehorned into cars like his old Lamborghini? That might make for a good comedy bit, to be honest, but we hope it won’t be overdone. Still, some critical questions remain to be answered: Will the cars really be the stars in Top Gear Series 27 and forward? Also, can Harris, Flintoff, and McGuinness bring viewership numbers back up?
Top Gear Series 26 airs early 2019, the last with Matt LeBlanc hosting. Top Gear Series 27, with new hosts and possibly a new format, starts production around the same time and will premier later in the year.
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