'Top Gear': Chris Evans And Matt LeBlanc Defended By BBC Bosses Over Mixed Reviews

The new series hasn't exactly been a hit with viewers.

BBC bosses have spoken out in defence of the revamped 'Top Gear' and its presenters Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc, after the new series opened to mixed reviews and less than impressive ratings.

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.

<strong>Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc received a mixed reaction on 'Top Gear'</strong>
Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc received a mixed reaction on 'Top Gear'

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]”

<strong>Chris had previously stated he wanted at least five million people to tune in</strong>
Chris had previously stated he wanted at least five million people to tune in
Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

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.

'Top Gear' continues on Sunday at 8pm on BBC Two.

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