The BBC have announced today that Matt LeBlanc is set to leave Top Gear – in a move which will no doubt upset current fans of the show. LeBlanc will depart after the completion of the upcoming Series 26, with the aim of spending more time with his family and friends.
“My experience on Top Gear has been great fun. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the whole team,” LeBlanc said. “However, the time, commitment, and extensive travel required to present Top Gear takes me away from my family and friends more than I’m comfortable with.”
“It’s unfortunate, but for these reasons I will not be continuing my involvement with the show. I will forever be a Top Gear fan and I wish the team continued success. Thanks for a great drive.”
LeBlanc joined Top Gear for the revamped but much maligned Series 23, presenting alongside Chris Evans. However, Evans was given the boot after his first series, over what the BBC called an “unprovoked physical attack” on a producer.
But LeBlanc’s retirement should come as no surprise, after stating he was “ready to retire” back in August last year. “I would love that,” LeBlanc told Conan at the time. “I would like to retire earlier than later, because I think I would like to do not a fucking thing. That’s what I would like to do. Just nothing. Nothing! Zero.”
In the interview, LeBlanc said on a “typical day” of retirement, he would like to “sleep as long as you want…or get up early, if you want. It’s just not having to go somewhere or having someone else telling you what you have to do,” LeBlanc explained. “Maybe you go to the gym…or not go to the gym. Maybe you have nine cups of coffee…or not.”
“And it might be fun to “get up and go drive the bulldozer around—all day long,” LeBlanc pondered. “Maybe I’ll get another one. We could race ’em!”
Patrick Holland, the controller of BBC Two, has paid tribute to the “fabulous” LeBlanc and thanked him for being a “brilliant” co-host.
“Matt has thrown himself into the show with real passion, revealing his extraordinary car knowledge and a willingness to get down and dirty,” he said. “We were always going to be borrowing him from his day job as one of the top comic actors in Hollywood, so I wish him all the very best.
“The next series of Top Gear, Matt’s last, promises to be something very special and we have great plans to welcome a new co-host to join the team for 2019 and beyond.”