Almost everyone, myself included, thought that Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman resigned from the BBC late last month, after his emotional email to Top Gear staff was made public. But this was not the case. Shortly after his email went viral, Andy issued a statement saying: “The email I wrote yesterday was not a resignation statement, and nor was it meant for public consumption”.
But this time it’s for real. Andy Wilman has officially quit, pulling the pin on his job and lobbing yet another grenade at the BBC and the Top Gear brand – who themselves are already critical after being hit hard by fans all around the world for suspending Jeremy Clarkson and then losing Richard Hammond and James May as a result. If the prospect of Top Gear returning to our screens was doubtful before, it’s now dangerously close to being canned for good.
In any event, Top Gear as we know it now, is dead.
But this won’t be the last we’ll see of him, or the boys. Andy’s resignation from the BBC means he is now free to reunite with the team on a rival channel – whether it be another British broadcaster such as ITV or Channel 4, or an online streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. To say this would be a nightmare scenario for the BBC would be an understatement. A nightmare which is quickly becoming a reality.
Only hours after his resignation, Andy was seen outside Jeremy’s apartment in west London, before meeting up with Richard and James. The men all headed to a pub, where they no doubt discussed their future plans over a few frosty beverages.
James rules out returning to Top Gear without Jeremy
Earlier in the day, James May ruled out returning to Top Gear without Jeremy, insisting it would be ‘lame’ with a new presenter in place of his sacked co-host. He told the BBC that it would be ‘stupid’ to try a version of the programme with ‘a surrogate Jeremy’, Hammond and himself – adding that the idea was a ‘non-starter’.
“Me and Hammond with a surrogate Jeremy is a non-starter, it just wouldn’t work. That would be lame, or “awks” as young people say. It has to be the three of us. You can’t just put a surrogate Jeremy in and expect it to carry on. It would be forced. I don’t believe they would be stupid enough to try that. It doesn’t mean I won’t go back – we may all go back in the future. It might just be we have a break from it. I don’t know. It would be a bloody tough call to do Top Gear without Jeremy.” – James May
Speaking after the meeting today, James said he had just been ‘having a pint’ with his co-stars and Mr Wilman, adding that he still didn’t know what he would do in the future.