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Chris Evans On Jeremy Clarkson's 'Top Gear' Exit: 'It Was Bizarre'

'He's still one of my heroes.'

02/05/2016 08:42 | Updated 02 May 2016

‘Top Gear’ host Chris Evans has spoken for the first time about Jeremy Clarkson’s departure from the show, admitting he found it “bizarre” when the controversial presenter lost his job at the BBC.

Chris landed the job as ‘Top Gear’ host last year, following Jeremy Clarkson’s firing from the show over a much-discussed “fracas” with a producer while filming on location.

In a new interview with GQ, Chris reveals that he still considers Jeremy “one of his heroes”, and admits he was surprised to learn that hitting a producer was what got him sacked from ‘Top Gear’.

SAV via Getty Images
Chris Evans and Jeremy Clarkson in May last year

He tells the magazine: “If you look at the chronology of controversy of Top Gear over the last five or six years, it is bizarre that he went for losing his rag over his dinner when there had been international incidents before that.”

Chris continues: “We used to get on. I don't know if we still get on because I haven't seen him in ages. But he is one of my heroes. He's entertaining. He was great on Top Gear and I love his writing.

“He is funny. He deconstructs things really well. They say if you can explain complicated things to a six-year-old you know what you're talking about, and I am like his six-year-old.”

Alex Huckle via Getty Images
Chris Evans was hired to replace Jeremy Clarkson, after it was decided his contract would not be renewed

Jeremy’s ‘Top Gear’ departure came at the end of a particularly controversial 12 months, which included several accusations of racism, including after he was forced to apologise when unaired footage showed him mumbling a racial slur while reciting a children’s nursery rhyme.

Chris’s first show at the helm of ‘Top Gear’ will air later this month, though various media reports in the lead-up to the new series have hinted at problems behind the scenes, which the BBC have refuted on multiple occasions.

Read his full interview in the new issue of GQ magazine, on sale from Tuesday (3 May).

Tap the image below to launch the gallery...

  • 25 March 2015
    Barcroft Media via Getty Images
    The BBC announces Jeremy Clarkson’s contract will not be renewed, following a fracas involving a cold dinner on location, and a punched producer. "A line has been crossed," said the BBC's statement.
  • 24 April 2015
    Matt Jelonek via Getty Images
    Richard Hammond joins James May in confirming they won't be back either, the team comes as a trio. 
  • 16 June 2015
    Alex Huckle via Getty Images
    The BBC reveals their Radio 2 breakfast show host Chris Evans will be leading the new team. 
  • 30 July 2015
    Matt Jelonek via Getty Images
    AmazonPrime reveals they’ve signed up Clarkson and co for an online motoring show, with a reported £10million/year package, with the series set to debut later in 2016.
  • 28 November 2015
    Frederick M. Brown via Getty Images
    Chris Evans reveals the show's debut date of 8 May, with an eight-episode series planned. 
  • 22 December 2015
    Barcroft via Getty Images
    ‘Top Gear’ producer Lisa Clark departs the team abruptly, saying she is to "pursue other projects", but wishes the team well.
  • 23 December 2015
    Hirz via Getty Images
    She is swiftly followed out of the door by script editor Tom Ford.
  • 4 February 2016
    Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle via Getty Images
    Matt LeBlanc is confirmed as a fellow presenter.
  • 11 February 2016
    BBC
    Rory Reid, Sabine Schmitz, Chris Harris and Eddie Jordan all confirmed to join.
  • 26 February 2016
    Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle via Getty Images
    The BBC announces a fresh debut date of 22 May, with six episodes scheduled instead of eight.
  • 19 January 2016
    UniversalImagesGroup via Getty Images
    BBC Two commissioner Kim Shillinglaw, who has been overseeing the relaunch of the show, announces she will be leaving her role. Due to a re-organisation at the BBC, there will be no one to replace her, meaning Chris Evans will report directly to the Controller of Channels, Jane Moore. 
  • 10 February 2016
    NBC via Getty Images
    Matt LeBlanc confirms that he has signed to a US sitcom 'I'm Not Your Friend', leading to concern that he may have stretched himself too thin for 'Top Gear' duties.  
  • 13 March 2016
    PA
    Veterans complain about the ‘Top Gear’ team filming stunts, creating donut turns and speed dust, in London’s Whitehall, with shots including footage of the country’s most revered war memorial, the Cenotaph. 
  • 14 March 2016
    Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle via Getty Images
    Chris Evans makes a public apology for the team’s actions, while adding, “This isn't a shoot I'm particularly involved in." And takes to wearing pyjamas to work.
  • 31 March 2016
    BBC
    The show releases its first trailer. Many respond that the footage has become too Americanised, and they miss Jeremy. 
  • 12 April 2016
    BBC
    The show receives a major boost with news that streaming service Netflix has bought rights to distribute the show internationally, thus bringing the new series to a potential 75 million subscribers. 
  • 13 April 2016
    Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle via Getty Images
    The atmosphere on set is said to be “frosty” following Chris Evans’ continuing fury over the Cenotaph stunt. 
  • Apart from that...
    BBC
    It's all been smooth sailing. We wait for 22 May with bated breath. 

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