BBC Top Gear presenter Chris Evans (pictured, left) has departed the rebooted automotive series 13 months after joining the UK pubcaster’s flagship production.
The BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show host, who took the reins after former host Jeremy Clarkson was fired, announced that he would be exiting the series after Sunday’s (June 3) episode drew an audience of 1.9 million – nearly one million viewers less than the previous week.
No episode in the program’s history beginning in 2002 had fewer than two million viewers, according to The Guardian.
Stepping down from Top Gear. Gave it my best shot but sometimes that’s not enough. The team are beyond brilliant, I wish them all the best.
— Chris Evans (@achrisevans) July 4, 2016
“I have never worked with a more committed and driven team than the team I have worked with over the last twelve months,” Evans said in a statement. “I feel like my standing aside is the single best thing I can now do to help the cause. I remain a huge fan of the show, always have been, always will be. I will continue to focus on my radio show and the allied events that it encompasses.”
He will continue on as presenter of his morning radio show and 500 Words, the annual motoring festival CarFest, Children In Need and “whatever else we can dream up in the future.”
The news also follows reports that London’s Metropolitan police are investigating “non-recent sexual assault” allegations made by a former colleague of Evans that emerged in May of this year.
A spokesperson for the BBC declined to comment on the allegations.
No decision has been made on whether the remaining presenters, including Matt LeBlanc, will return for the motoring show’s 24th season.
“[Evans] firmly believes that the right people remain, on both the production team and presenting team to take the show forward and make it the hit we want it to be,” added Mark Linsey, director of BBC Studios on Top Gear. “The new series has so far notched up over 30 million views in the UK alone and has already been sold to 130 territories worldwide.”