Jeremy Clarkson exit not fatal to ‘Top Gear’, says Chris Evans

Axing Jeremy Clarkson as host of Top Gear is not a “fatal blow” for the show, Chris Evans has said, as he again ruled himself out from taking over.

Jeremy Clarkson exit not fatal to ‘Top Gear’, says Chris Evans

The BBC Radio 2 DJ, who remains among bookmakers’ favourites to take Clarkson’s place on the show despite his repeated denials, hit back at suggestions that the hit BBC2 motoring show would need to be “reinvented”.

And he added rumours that co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond were also considering their positions were wrong, backing the pair to keep the series going.

Clarkson was told that his contract would not be renewed at the end of this month after a BBC investigation found that he attacked and verbally abused one of the show’s producers, Oisin Tymon.

BBC director general Tony Hall said that the BBC would look to renew the show for next year and look at ways to screen the remaining episodes of the current series, cut short following the fracas that cost the 54-year-old his job.

Evans said: “In no way does Top Gear need to be reinvented. This series was shaping up to be the best yet.

“After surviving the insanity of what happened in Argentina for the Christmas special, it felt like the whole team had been drawn closer together as a result.

“As for Jeremy no longer being on the show, sure it’s a huge loss. Top Gear was the show he was born to do. But by no means is it a fatal blow.”

Meanwhile, British police are investigating threats to kill BBC director-general Tony Hall, reportedly linked to his decision to axe Clarkson.

Scotland Yard confirmed it was looking into allegations made on Wednesday.

The BBC boss and his wife Cynthia had been under 24-hour guard since the threat was received.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Police in Westminster are investigating an allegation of threats to kill.

“The allegation was reported to police on Wednesday March 25.

“Inquiries continue. No arrests have been made.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “We wouldn’t comment on security matters.”

On Wednesday, Hall announced that Clarkson, a popular but divisive figure during his time at the hugely successful BBC Two motoring show, would not be retained, saying “a line has been crossed” and that “there cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another”.

Tymon had his lip split by Clarkson in a 30 second-long assault on March 4 and took himself to hospital with his injuries.

He was also shouted at by the former Top Gear presenter in a torrent of verbal abuse during an argument about catering..

Clarkson reported the incident to the BBC five days later and was suspended by the broadcaster on March 10.

Following the BBC’s decision not to renew Clarkson’s contract, Tymon was subject to an outpouring of abuse from Top Gear fans on social media, leading Clarkson to issue a statement urging fans of the show to desist.

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