The pair made their debut on the BBC motoring show on Sunday (29 May), and viewers and critics had trouble taking to them, following the much-publicised departures of previous hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.
It was then revealed their first episode had failed to pull in the five million viewers Chris stated he was hoping for, drawing an average of 4.4m - nearly a million viewers less than Clarkson and co. enjoyed during their last series, and the lowest figure since July 2006.
However, Alan Tyler, Acting Controller Entertainment Commissioning at the BBC, has now defended the show, stating (via The Mirror): “Chris and Matt have successfully kicked off a whole new era in style and we are really looking forward to bringing our audiences even more thrills as the series continues.”
His comments came after Chris had taken to Twitter to insist he’s happy with the way the first show turned out, posting a string of frustrated tweets.
“The new Top Gear is a hit. OFFICIALLY. 23% audience share. 12% MORE than the opening episode of the last series. These are the FACTS," he raged.
“Top Gear audience grew throughout the hour. FACT. Won its slot. FACT. Still number one on i Player. FACT. These are THE FACTS folks. [sic]”
Chris had previously said he would be "disappointed" if the show pulled in anything less than five million viewers, telling the Guardian last week: “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 five million. Five million-plus would be great, after that it doesn’t matter.”
'Top Gear' continues on Sunday at 8pm on BBC Two.