Chris Evans Texted Jeremy Clarkson Before Top Gear Host Announcement
Chris Evans texted Jeremy Clarkson to let him know he’d been asked to replace him on Top Gear before he was announced as the new host.
The BBC Radio 2 DJ has revealed he sent messages to all three of the BBC Two motoring show’s former hosts, his pals Jeremy, Richard Hammond and James May, as well as former producer Andy Wilman, before the announcement was made last night (16.06.15).
He said: “Before it was announced I texted Jeremy and James and Richard and Andy and I’ve heard back from all of them. James called me back straight away, within a minute of me texting him, and we had a chat and we’re going to meet up today and tomorrow and talk about things and who knows what might happen there. Then Jeremy texted me … He said, ‘I knew you would, best of luck’, and then he gave me a piece of advice which I’m not going to repeat on the radio and then Richard texted me back and he said, ‘You were designed and built for that job, it’ll be great’.”
The 49-year-old star also insisted he was only offered the job last week despite being linked to the role immediately after it was announced Clarkson had been sacked for punching a Top Gear producer in a row over a steak.
Speaking on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2, he explained: “I got a text and it was from Mark Lindsay who is the head of entertainment for BBC Two and basically it said would you be interested at all in having a Top Gear conversation. Now I have never been or had never been offered the Top Gear job before that. I had one brief text exchange about Top Gear with somebody fairly high up at the BBC and it was when what has now become infamous happened and that was very short, very concise, them saying if anything happens in the future would you be up for a conversation so the text that I received on Thursday was pretty similar to the one I received three months ago or whenever it was … And I so I called Mark Lindsay back and Mark explained to me that the situation had changed in the last 24 hours because Richard and James had finally ruled themselves out of the return to Top Gear.”
Chris – who discussed the future of the show while on holiday with James a few weeks ago – also claims he was hoping both May and Hammond would agree to continue presenting the show without Clarkson.
He added: “Before that they were very much considering returning, the BBC had made an offer to them, I was aware of that and I wanted them to return, I wanted Top Gear to carry on as a family and I thought that’s what was going to happen so whenever I said I categorically rule myself out of running for office it was because I didn’t want to be a pawn in a chess game involving two, in fact three, of my friends.”
Meanwhile, the final two episodes of Clarkson’s last series of Top Gear, which was cut short earlier this year after he was sacked, have been put together to create a special one-off episode and will air on BBC Two on June 28.