Comedian Steve Coogan and former Isle of Man TT rider Guy Martin are 5/1 joint-favourites to replace Chris Evans as lead presenter of BBC’s Top Gear motoring show.
This weekend Evans announced that he would not return for a second series of Top Gear, stating that he had tried ‘his best, but it just did not work out’.
Publishing an early ‘Next Top Gear Presenter’ market Ladbrokes has placed comedian Coogan a renowned car enthusiast as market leader alongside daredevil mechanic Guy Martin at 5/1.
Both contenders have yet to confirm their interest in taking over the Top Gear hot seat, with Coogan having been critical of the show under the direction of former presenter Jeremy Clarkson, labelling its humour “puerile playground stuff”.
Doubts will also be cast with regards to Martin, who with limited TV profile may lack the experience and persona to lead a BBC headline show such as Top Gear.
The BBC who were expecting a Top Gear ratings drop following the controversial departure of its original presenter line-up of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond may seek to recast the show for a new audience.
If so, female race car driver Rebecca Jackson had been placed as joint fifth favourite at 12/1, alongside supermodel/presenter Jodie Kidd.
UK TV critics had been critical of the BBC for sticking to the same format and not taking risks when recasting Top Gear, stating that ‘Auntie Beeb had played it safe’. Despite this season viewer decline, Top Gear remains the BBC’s most globally watched and syndicated TV show.