Chris Evans and Top Gear are getting absolutely slated overseas as well is in the UK 4 years ago

Chris Evans and Top Gear are getting absolutely slated overseas as well is in the UK

The bad news just keeps on coming for the new series of Top Gear.

The second episode of the much-publicised reboot, with Chris Evans and Friends star Matt LeBlanc replacing the old Jeremy Clarkson-fronted team, saw its ratings drop dramatically for its second instalment over the weekend.

Its figures dropped to 2.8 million from 4.3 million for the show's first episode. To add insult to injury, it was up against Antiques Roadshow, which drew 4.1 million viewers.

Despite Evans' attempts to put a positive spin on the news, a narrative is setting in now that essentially says this new series is doomed and beyond saving.

Evans himself is attracting the lion's share of viewer ire: his loud, ebullient style appears to be rubbing people up the wrong way, so much so that some fans would prefer for some of the show's guest stars, like Jensen Button or Tinie Tempah, to replace him as host.


Now, the reviews from overseas will just pile onto the misery for Top Gear's producers. The show's launch in the US has been similarly disappointing to the UK. When it aired on BBC America on May 30, the show clocked 388,000 viewers, in contrast to the audience of 530,000 who tuned in for the opening episode of the last series, hosted by Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

This will be particularly worrying for producers of the show - which is believed to generate £50 million worldwide in sales for the BBC - as the popular, likeable Matt LeBlanc was very much being pushed as the public face of the show.

 


But even LeBlanc - and the goodwill he has accrued thanks to the cherished memories of his iconic Friends character that are embedded in popular culture  - doesn't seem to be enough to give Top Gear the lift it badly needs.

The reviews from elsewhere around the world haven't been any better. Top Gear's debut in New Zealand over the weekend was largely panned by viewers.

The comments on the Facebook page of Prime TV (which airs the show in New Zealand) were not good.

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Indeed, a trend seems to be emerging in the criticism. 

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NZ radio host Mike Hosking said of the show: "The reviewers were spot on - Chris Evans is the weak link. Strange programme and you can see why it's going nowhere fast - they've got some serious troubles ... they need to do something about the Evans guy."

The question now is whether Top Gear's producers stick to their guns, and allow Evans more time to find his groove, or plan for a quick, orderly succession where Evans bows out to be replaced by someone else.