BBC announces new hosts for Top Gear in 2019…
The BBC has announced another line-up change for Top Gear with Paddy McGuiness and Freddie Flintoff joining Chris Harris for Series 27 in 2019.
Matt LeBlanc has announced he will walk away from the BBC’s Top Gear franchise at the end of this year with the iconic TV show struggling to get out of first gear ever since Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond left the program. Co-host, Rory Reid will be shunted off the main program and left to host companion show, Extra Gear and a “larger digital presence,” according to the BBC.
The new-look cast was unveiled in the UK this morning and, in a statement, the BBC said: “Lancashire lads Paddy McGuinness, the primetime entertainment host and comedian, and former Ashes-winning England cricketer and TV presenter Freddie Flintoff, will join motoring journalist and racing-driver Chris Harris in what promises to be one of television’s most explosive combinations of entertainment firepower and petrolhead fumes”.
The new-look presenting team will take over the show from Series 27 which will begin filming in early 2019 with their inaugural program airing later that year.
Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, says: “This is a thrilling manoeuvre from the Top Gear team and I’m relishing what this trio will deliver. Both Paddy and Freddie love their cars but more than that, they’ll bring a new energy and competitive spirit to Top Gear. Chris Harris might have the greater car skills, but when it comes to the infamous Top Gear challenges, he’s going to have to bring his A-game to have the beating of these two.”
Paddy McGuinness commented: “Getting the Top Gear gig is a real honour and I’m thrilled the BBC have given me this opportunity. To be hosting a show I’ve watched and loved from being a small boy is beyond exciting. Top Gear fans worldwide are a passionate bunch and I consider myself one of them. Now let’s start up this Great British machine and see what it can do!”
Freddie Flintoff added: “It’s not often you have the chance to do both of your dream jobs, but I’m now lucky enough to say I will have. I’ve always been passionate about cars and I’m so excited to be joining the Top Gear team.”
Whether the new-look, all-British team can win back audiences to the brand remains to be seen.