30/05/2016 12:46 BST

'Top Gear' Ratings: Chris Evans' First Episode Falls Short Of The Five Million Viewers He'd Hoped For

He could live to regret saying he'd be 'disappointed' with fewer than five million viewers.

Chris Evans‘Top Gear’ reboot managed to pull in 4.4 million viewers when it returned to our screens on Sunday night (29 May).

Impressive enough, admittedly, until you consider the fact that Chris Evans had specifically said in the lead-up to the new series that he wanted to hit the five million mark with the first episode.

Oh dear.

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Chris Evans

He told The Guardian last week that he’d be “disappointed” with anything less than five million, explaining: I think we’ve produced the best show we can produce, that’s all we can do. It’s out there, if people like us great, if people don’t, we need to sneak off into the shadows.

“If we had to guess about the number of viewers we are going to get on Sunday night, you have got to say you would be disappointed if it was under 5 million. Five million-plus would be great, after that it doesn’t matter.”

Over the course of the episode, viewing figures rose to a peak of 4.7 million, but this still falls short of Chris’s expected benchmark.

It also lags behind the 5.3 million viewers being brought in by Jeremy Clarkson during his last series of 'Top Gear' (before he was ultimately sacked for lamping a producer in the face in March last year, while filming on location).

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Chris and co-host Matt LeBlanc

However, it’s not all bad news for Chris and his fellow new recruit, Matt LeBlanc, as ‘Top Gear’ was the most watched TV show in its timeslot, beating the British Soap Awards and ‘Antiques Roadshow’.

The episode received mixed reviews from critics, with some criticising the new presenting team for not playing enough with the show’s format, while viewers on Twitter were similarly skeptical, although Matt LeBlanc did seem to get the thumbs up from a lot of ‘Top Gear’ fans.

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