THE BLOG
30/06/2015 08:44 BST | Updated 29/06/2016 06:59 BST

The Richard Hammond Show?

Of course my advice to the BBC bosses is what I have said from the start - turn the concept into the Richard Hammond Show and offer the pint sized prince too much cash to turn it down. But now I feel like I'm labouring the point...

Did you tune into Top Gear last night to see the last ever episode featuring Clarkson and his petrol scented bezzies?

The infamous steak-gate wasn't mentioned and instead, hilariously, a giant plastic elephant nestled in the corner of the studio while Clarkson, Hammond and May prepared themselves for the scrap-heap. It was a cobble together of previously recorded antics (vintage cars, new cars, smashing cars, leaking oil, insulting Turkey etc), interspersed with some studio based chatter between the trio, who's camaraderie is clearly genuine.

The not-unsurprising news that telly marmite Chris Evans is set to fill the vacant space left by Jeremy Clarkson's rather ignominious departure was announced recently by the BBC.

For those of us (I can't be the only one) who were hoping the entire show would focus entirely on the world's most attractive hamster Richard Hammond this is of course a great disappointment.

Not to Evans, though, who, while riding the wave of an unexpected and inexplicable 90s revival, has resorted to acupuncture in a bid to calm his excitement at his new job thumping shiny bonnets and kicking tyres on national television.

But while the iconic flame haired 90s shouty man is understandably cock-a-hoop at his new appointment, there has been mixed-feelings among others over the new choice of presenter - for some it's the similarity between the two egos and for others it's the differences that are making them anxious, It's important to remember that this isn't just a case of making the programme successful in the UK, this is essentially a brand with enormously wealthy syndication and £50 million (ish) of global revenues behind it. No wonder Evans is going under the needle.

So, does he have the personality to successfully throw off the Clarkson shadow and make the show his own while also sweeping up the Jezza faithful in his wake? From his TFI days, it's clear the presenter shares Clarkson's knack of assembling a group of personalities that get along and have a laugh together- something unlikely to have been overlooked by the telly bosses when deciding on a new presenter for their golden egg.

It's hard to say at this stage whether it will work, but it's worth noting that Evans is the king of the live show - he has always excelled when it comes to that nervy, unpredictable edge that programmes without the safety net of a recording have. (Except that one time Sean Ryder swore on tea-time Channel Four and TFI Friday was forced to subsequently broadcast on a time delay of course...)

He's also a rather different type of personality to Clarkson - yes, they both have a similar outspoken blokeishness to them but Evans has toned his down considerably in recent years. If that uncontrollable laddish ego forms a quintessential part of what a Top Gear lead host must have then is he going to prove too tame to give the audience what they want? Given the dedication with which some of the fans follow the show will the fan base allow for any deviation from a Clarkson-esque script or will Evans be forced to simply be a ginger haired version of what went before?

More importantly, in the last couple of days Clarkson himself has revealed that he is in talks for his own new car show - along with former hosts Richard Hammond (*swoon*) and James May - and where does that leave the original Top Gear? Having yet to prove his spurs, Evans surely has no chance to erase Clarkson from the minds of the faithful if he is there doing all his old routines, with his old side kicks, just over on another channel? It will be interesting to see how this plays out, even for those who aren't that interested in the programme itself.

However it's worth noting that Evans is mad about cars, and has a collection of vintage models tucked away in the garage of his country pile. He will know what he's talking about, but will he have Clarkson's edge?

Of course my advice to the BBC bosses is what I have said from the start - turn the concept into the Richard Hammond Show and offer the pint sized prince too much cash to turn it down. But now I feel like I'm labouring the point...