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by George Skentzos

SBS has today officially announced that Top Gear Australia host Charlie Cox would be leaving the show due to other media commitments.

He will be replaced by long-time CarAdvice favourite and jazz musician James Morrison, best known for his previous role in Behind the Wheel executive produced by our very own Anthony Crawford.

Cox has said that it was a difficult decision to leave the show, however his role as director of local and British companies as well as a broadcaster for the BBC have left little time for Top Gear.

“My time on Top Gear Australia was very special and it was a fantastic opportunity to be part of launching an extraordinary series. It seems best to leave the show and I wish James all the best in joining the two best blokes in Australian television – Warren Brown and Steve Pizzati,” Cox said.

Morrison is more than qualified for his new role, having headlined the 1994 show Behind the Wheel which was the first motoring show in the world that could be called entertainment – five years ahead of the UK series Top Gear.

His presence will no doubt transform the controversial Australian version, adding some much needed enthusiasm and originality.

The original Behind the Wheel series was a huge success, launching with an audience of 2.1 million viewers and running for 18 episodes.

Anthony Crawford had this to say about the enigmatic trumpeter on his role in the original car program.

“James was brilliant. One take every time and he knew how to entertain the television audience. He is a passionate car nut and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of anything with either four or two wheels.

I just hope that they call in producer Tim Kupsch and camerman Andy Wallace, who contributed hugely to the series”

For a taste of what’s to come, why not take a look at the original 1994 pilot episode with James Morrison, Dick Johnson, Kevin Bartlett and Monica Trapaga – exclusive to CarAdvice.