Matt LeBlanc has admitted that Top Gear has improved since Chris Evans departed the programme.
Evans left the motoring show after just a single series of presenting. The decision followed months of criticism from fans and journalists alike over the former Big Breakfast presenter’s abrasive style.
In fairness to Evans, he was always likely to face an uphill struggle convincing fans he was the man to replace Jeremy Clarkson at the helm of the show.
LeBlanc, however, fared better with his fun and relaxed presenting style, coupled with the enduring popularity of his hit show Friends, winning him plenty of fans.
Still very much a part of things on Top Gear, LeBlanc opened up about Evans’ turbulent reign as part of an interview with The Times.
“I didn’t realise I’d be stepping into the middle of a media shitstorm,” he told the paper.
And though LeBlanc insists he got on well with Evans, he also seems to suggest there was some distance between the pair.
“I didn’t know he was leaving. I get along fine with the guy. I read it in the paper,” he said.
LeBlanc’s most damning comments came when he attempted to compare and contrast the first series alongside Evans with the current incarnation.
“[In the first series] I was just there to deliver some jokes and drive some cars. I think the second season, after Chris Evans left, it became more of a collaboration,” he said.
“In Chris’ hands he was the guy in charge and when he left it became more of a collaboration.”
Though LeBlanc was keen to stress that he was merely suggesting current co-hosts Chris Harris and Rory Reid made Top Gear a “more productive and more creative’ mix” the comments will do little to quell the suggestion that all was not right on that first series.
Chris Evans has so far failed to respond to the comments.
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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.