It’s looking like a bumpy road ahead for the much-vaunted revamp of the BBC’s car show Top Gear after figures revealed an average of 2.8 million viewers tuned in to the second ep on Sunday evening. That’s 1.6 million fewer than the series opener last week. Overnight figures showed that viewers peaked at 3.3 million towards the end of the show. The first ep of the show, now presented by Chris Evans and Matt Le Blanc, managed to get an average of 4.4 million viewers, accounting for a 23% share of the TV viewing audience.
The show’s embattled new host and lead presenter Chris Evans took to Twitter to defend the lacklustre overnight figures, arguing that on-demand viewing was accounting for the majority of the audience. The total viewing figures for the first week when taking into account 2million or so on-demand viewers actually gave the show a three-year high.
Top Gear‘s audience share for its second ep also dropped to 14%. Top Gear remains a highly lucrative franchise for the BBC, worth an estimated $75 million to the broadcaster’s commercial arm BBC Worldwide. Former Top Gearpresenters Clarkson, Hammond and May will launch their new driving show The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime last this year. The need for revamping Top Gear came in the wake of Clarkson exiting the show and BBC after being found guilty of assaulting a Top Gear producer last year.