As the 23rd season of TV series Top Gear comes to a close, host Chris Evans has announced he will not be returning for another.
Revealing his resignation on Twitter overnight, Evans posted: "stepping down from Top Gear. Gave it my best shot but sometimes that's not enough". He wished the show well, describing the production team's efforts as "beyond brilliant".
Later, in a statement, Evans heaped praise on the show's team.
"I have never worked with a more committed and driven team than the team I have worked with over the last 12 months. I feel like my standing aside is the single best thing I can now do to help the cause," he said.
"I remain a huge fan of the show, always have been, always will be. I will continue to focus on my radio show and the allied events that it encompasses."
Evans's departure from the newly rebooted show follows reports over the past year of angry confrontations with production and audience members. More recently, co-host Matt LeBlanc is understood to have given showrunners a quiet ultimatum that either Evans goes, or he does.
Off to Dingle for some gaelic footy. What a day. pic.twitter.com/PZWirF9Jrf— Chris Evans (@achrisevans) April 16, 2016
Above: Evans with co-host Matt LeBlanc
Top Gear, once blackly lauded as the most downloaded show in the world, has seen its audience size in the UK nearly halved since returning in May.
The show's final season with its former hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond ended with around 6.9 million viewers in the UK. While the new season aired with nearly as many at 6.4 million, it ended with around 3.5 million.
Director Mark Linsey remains upbeat about the show's success, however.
"The new series has so far notched up more than 30 million views in the UK alone and has already been sold to 130 territories worldwide," Linsey said when responding to Evans's departure.
Of Evans, Linsey said: "Chris is stepping down from his duties on Top Gear. He says he gave it his best shot doing everything he could to make the show a success."
"He firmly believes that the right people remain, on both the production team and presenting team to take the show forward and make it the hit we want it to be."
Linsey has yet to reveal plans to replace Evans, although it is possible that LeBlanc will inherit the mantle of lead host, with another in the show's ensemble cast potentially stepping into the other regular spot.
Stepping down from Top Gear. Gave it my best shot but sometimes that's not enough. The team are beyond brilliant, I wish them all the best.
— Chris Evans (@achrisevans) July 4, 2016