July 4 may not be a holiday in the UK, but Chris Evans has just declared his independence from motoring show Top Gear. The host, whose rebooted version of the BBC Two series replaced the previous iteration led by Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, tweeted that he was stepping down this afternoon:
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
Evans was named host in June 2015 after a headline-making physical altercation between Clarkson and a producer earlier in the year led to the latter’s contract not being renewed. In February this year, Matt LeBlanc was set as co-host with Evans. Four others also subsequently joined the lineup.
There have been reports of on-set tension between Evans and LeBlanc, and the BBC is said to be negotiating with the former Friends star to continue for a second season, The Guardian reports.
Mark Linsey, Director of BBC Studios said in a statement, “Chris is stepping down from his duties on Top Gear. He says he gave it his best shot doing everything he could to make the show a success. He 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. The new series has so far notched up over 30M views in the UK alone and has already been sold to 130 territories worldwide.”
Evans added, “I have never worked with a more committed and driven team than the team I have worked with over the last twelve months. 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.”
This has not been a terrific time for the franchise: Top Gear USA was canceled last week by History.
Meanwhile, Clarkson, Hammond and May are prepping their new show, The Grand Tour, for a fall debut on Amazon.