Top Gear

Chris Evans slams Top Gear’s critics

The BBC has defended Top Gear after the second episode of the new series presented by Chris Evans pulled just 2.8 million viewers on Sunday, down from 4.3 million viewers for the opening show the previous week. But there was encouragement for Evans and his BBC bosses after the consolidated audience for the first outing, which includes people who recorded it and watched it in the subsequent seven days, boosted the opening show’s audience by nearly 50%, to 6.4 million.

Evans accused his critics on Monday of living in the past for not taking into account catch-up viewing and how the show was “repositioning the way” people watch TV. Alan Tyler, the BBC’s acting controller of entertainment commissioning, said the consolidated audience for the first episode of the new series was the programme’s highest consolidated launch audience since 2010. He said he was delighted with the performance of the show, which has had a further 1.8m requests to watch it on the BBC’s iPlayer, taking its total audience to more than 8 million.

Last Sunday’s overnight audience was about half the number that used to watch Top Gear on a Sunday night when it was still presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May last year. Catch-up and on-demand viewing is now a far more significant proportion of TV ratings than a decade or even a few years ago, but the overnight audience remains a significant indicator of a show’s popularity. The BBC will also be looking to the show’s popularity around the world, airing in more than 80 countries within 72 hours of its UK transmission. Evans had previously said he would be disappointed if the show attracted less than 5 million viewers on BBC2.

The BBC moved to defend the show at the weekend after reports that 370 viewers had complained about the show – perhaps predictable after the departure of its long-running presenting team – but also that it received the lowest audience appreciation scores of any BBC2 show last week. Speaking at the programme’s launch last month, Evans said press stories alleging he did not get along with co-presenter Matt LeBlanc and that his behaviour was “out of control”, were nonsense.

“None of it was true, but there’s no point saying that, there’s just no point,” he said. “In many ways my job for this year has been not only to make this show but to take all the shit, which was going to happen. I knew I was going to get the shit kicked out of me.”

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1 comment

Fitzy June 7, 2016 at 8:22 am

Like I said last week sack Chris………………………and BRING TIFF BACK………………………………BRING TIFF BACK……………………BRING TIFF BACK……………………………BRING TIFF BACK……………………BRING TIFF BACK


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