Chris Evans is back fighting against critics after 'Top Gear' ratings drop 4 years ago

Chris Evans is back fighting against critics after 'Top Gear' ratings drop

Is the new series of Top Gear flailing? Or is the media failing in its coverage of the show?

That's the question raised by the show's host Chris Evans on Twitter today, after he felt the need to come to the series' defence again following another spate of alarming headlines about last night's second episode.

The main news from episode two is that the ratings for the broadcast suffered a big drop from the previous week. The figures dropped to 2.8 million from 4.3 million for Evans and co-host Matt LeBlanc's debut. This was a 14 per cent share of the total available audience.

It was up against Antiques Roadshow, which drew 4.1 million viewers, a share of 21.2 per cent, and the four-hour Soccer Aid, which averaged 2.7 million viewers over the course of the evening.

Amid headlines using words like "crisis" and "setback", Evans went on Twitter to explain that last week's figures ended up totalling 9 million once catch-up and iPlayer viewings were taken into consideration.

He then made the valid point that the focus on "overnight viewing figures" - the ratings for the actual TV broadcast - shouldn't be taken as the last word on a show's progress any more.


Evans' used Twitter to respond to critics last week too...

...which only seems to entertain his detractors even more.


There were reports too that canned laughter was used to cover up "awkward silences" from the studio audience who apparently were not responding to the hosts' banter.

'The Sun' - which employed former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson as a columnist - quoted one studio audience member as saying:

“There were so many long, awkward silences. But when I watched the show back I just couldn’t believe how much laughter they had added in. The episode made it sound as though we were in fits of hysterics throughout the recording but that is far from the truth."

A show spokesperson dismissed the claims:

"There were no awkward silences during filming as reported by 'The Sun' newspaper, which clearly has an agenda against the show. It's well known that Top Gear isn't a live program and that the show is edited after filming, but last week's episode was edited in exactly the same way as previous series."

While the overnight viewing figures might have taken a hit, reviews for the actual content of the show itself were far more positive than last week.


Elsewhere, guest driver Jensen Button was a big hit - maybe too big a hit.