Great British Bake Off star Paul Hollywood has criticised the BBC over its handling of Jeremy Clarkson following the Top Gear “fracas”.
Clarkson, 55, was effectively axed from the hit show after he attacked a Top Gear producer, with director-general Tony Hall saying “a line has been crossed”.
TV judge Hollywood, one of the BBC’s biggest stars thanks to Bake Off, told Radio Times magazine: “I’m a car nut and Top Gear was a favourite, I’m really upset about it.
“It was handled wrongly. It could have been dealt with quietly – whether Jeremy left in the end is almost immaterial.”
Hollywood, a self-confessed petrolhead, was reported last year to have landed a deal to make a new BBC show about cars and motorbikes.
The TV baker told Radio Times: “I’m actually doing my own programme about cars at the moment. I’ve got my racing licence, have started racing for Aston Martin and was invited to do Le Mans this year.”
James May and Richard Hammond have not signed new Top Gear contracts, and the BBC is reported to have approached former model Jodie Kidd, Life On Mars star Philip Glenister and Channel 4 presenter Guy Martin for a new show.
Asked who he would choose to present a new Top Gear, Hollywood said: “You can’t replace those three guys. Change it, don’t mimic it.
“Maybe get (racing driver and former Top Gear presenter) Tiff Needell, or the old Stig Ben Collins back. Or Jodie Kidd – it would be nice to have a woman.”
Meanwhile, BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey ruled himself out of the running, telling the magazine: “It’s funny because there was me, David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan as a trio and people always used to say to us ’When the Top Gear guys stop, you three should take over!’
“But it’s a poisoned chalice at the moment.”