The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has at last announced the full cast of presenters for its revitalised Top Gear television series, just one week since announcing that actor Matt LeBlanc would join lead host Chris Evans.
This week, the BBC has revealed that Evans and LeBlanc will be joined by well-regarded driving star and series regular Sabine Schmitz, along with racing legend Eddie Jordan, and journalist and YouTube star Chris Harris.
As if the cast weren’t large enough, that team will also be joined by British motoring scribe Rory Reid who in 2011 tweeted that he couldn’t imagine the Top Gear line-up ever changing, noting that any new presenter would face an “insane amount of hate”.
Overnight, a new tweet from Reid reads: “Took the bins out. Fed my kid breakfast. Became a Top Gear presenter. Standard Thursday.”
Reid, who describes himself as “the lovechild of [actor] Idris Elba and Jeremy Clarkson”, landed the role after submitting a 30-second audition reel.
“I knew the odds were very firmly against me, as the auditions were open to absolutely everybody. To be the only person to make it through the open audition process makes me immensely proud,” he said.
“I’ve been a Top Gear fan for decades, but more than that, I live and breathe cars in a way that is perfectly compatible with the show.”
Sabine Schmitz, the ‘Queen of the Nurburgring’, has appeared on the previous incarnation of Top Gear a number of times, but today’s news marks her move into a full-time role on the show.
“I grew up next to the Nurburgring, and have been racing for most of my life, so the chance to combine both driving and filming was too good an opportunity to pass up,” she said.
Chris Harris is a long-time motoring scribe, but his international profile has risen through a combination of well-produced video reviews and his own unique presentation style.
“I’m also quite gobby and happy to get into trouble, so I’m hoping I can underpin the programme with journalistic credibility but still cause some mischief. And if it all goes wrong, well, I can say I was once on Top Gear, and just head back to being that annoying small bloke off YouTube,” he said.
Irishman Eddie Jordan, famous not only for his motorsport involvement but also as a musician and analyst, has also been working in the media since 2009 with BBC Sport F1.
“I’m giddy with excitement to be joining Chris and the team. I have such enormous respect for all my fellow presenters and I politely ask that they go easy on these old bones. Cars are in my DNA and although I’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish most things I ever aspired to in motorsport, presenting Top Gear is quite simply the icing on the cake.”
Top Gear returns to British television in May. Australian broadcast plans are still to be confirmed.
As for the series’ last hosts – Clarkson, May and Hammond – filming of their new Amazon-hosted series began this week.