Belfast Telegraph

Evans hints Top Gear date

Chris Evans insists he has a “very long list” of possible names to present alongside him for the new series of Top Gear.

While discussing his role as the new presenter of the BBC 2 motoring show, the 49-year-old presenter appeared to reveal when it will return to the small screen. Chris made his comments while hosting his radio breakfast show.

"This is BBC Radio 2 - not BBC Two - that's next March," he joked to listeners.

With rumours swirling over who will share hosting duties with Chris, he also announced that open auditions will be held. Fans of the show will be given the chance to submit a 30-second clip to prove they have what it takes.

“I’m not going to name any names. I haven’t got a short list, I’ve got a very long list,” Chris told BBC’s The One Show. “The way Richard [Hammond] and James [May] were found was by auditioning and so what we’re going to do is hold auditions.

“Not just for famous people... but for people who are watching the show. Male, female, old, young, it doesn’t matter. The thing that does matter is that you’ve got to a have an appetite for cars.”

Referring to reports that a woman is being lined up for the new series, Chris said that was “100 per cent” true.

“I think there has to be. There is a huge amount of female presenting talent in the motoring industry and it would be silly for them not to be represented,” he explained.

“If you are talking about evolution not revolution that would indicate a change in tone for the show.”

British model Jodie Kidd and Formula One correspondent Suzi Perry – who is pals with Chris - are both believed to be in the running.

Chris also refused to rule out former Top Gear presenter James May returning to the show.

“We had a chat, we are going to meet up today or tomorrow to talk about things,” he revealed. “Who knows what might happen there?”

The flame-haired presenter stands to earn an impressive £5 million from the three-year Top Gear deal.

Insiders claim he will be closely involved in every part of the cult show, including choosing his co-hosts.

“Chris is very much at the helm of the new Top Gear as he is also executive producing the show,” a source told British newspaper The Mirror.

“It’s very much his decision so any names previously being mentioned before may not fit his vision.”

Chris has also explained his shock U-turn, after previously “categorically” ruling himself out of presenting Top Gear.

"I honestly thought James and Richard were going to carry on and I thought they should carry on, and they could carry on and I wanted them to carry on as a viewer,” he said.

Former hosts James, Richard and Jeremy Clarkson – who left the show after Jeremy punched a producer – have all been in touch with Chris to offer their support for his new role.

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