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Was Chris Evans' Top Gear tyre-squealing brilliance or a write-off? And what about Matt Le Blanc?

Warning - may contain spoilers

By Jonny Bell

Published 30/05/2016

Top Gear returned with Chris Evans and Matt Le Blanc.
Top Gear returned with Chris Evans and Matt Le Blanc.
Top Gear 20016 Chris Evans Matt LeBlanc 29 May 2016
Pictured: Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc.
Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc meeting the Mayor of Blackpool.
Chris Evans
Matt Le Blanc test drives the Ariel Nomadic.
The new Top Gear team
Chef Gordon Ramsay and Actor Jesse Eisenberg on the Chris Evans verison of Top Gear
Undated BBC Handout Photo from Top Gear. Pictured: Rory Reid, Chris Evans, The Stig, Matt LeBlanc, Sabine Schmitz, Chris Harris. See PA Feature TV Top Gear. Picture Credit should read: PA Photo/BBC. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TV Top Gear. WARNING: Use of this copyright image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' BBC Digital Picture Service. In particular, this image may only be published in print for editorial use during the publicity period (the weeks immediately leading up to and including the transmission week of the relevant programme or event and three review weeks following) for the purpose of publicising the programme, person or service pictured and provided the BBC and the copyright holder in the caption are credited. Any use of this image on the internet and other online communication services will require a separate prior agreement with BBC Pictures. For any other purpose whatsoever, including advertising and commercial prior written approval from the copyright holder will be required.
Top Gear presenter Sabine Schmitz answers media questions during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenter Sabine Schmitz answers media questions during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenters Chris Harris (left) and Rory Reid answer media questions during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenters (left to right) Chris Harris, Rory Reid, Sabine Schmitz, Chris Evans, Eddie Jordan and The Stig, answer media questions during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenters Sabine Schmitz and Chris Evans answer media questions during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenter Chris Evans answers media questions during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenters Sabine Schmitz and Chris Evans answer media questions during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenter Chris Evans answers media questions during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenters (left to right) Chris Harris, Rory Reid, Sabine Schmitz, Chris Evans, Eddie Jordan and The Stig, during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenter Eddie Jordan answers media questions during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenters (left to right) Chris Harris, Rory Reid, Sabine Schmitz, Chris Evans, Eddie Jordan and The Stig, during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenter Chris Evans answers media questions during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenter The Stig at a press conference during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, as it returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenter Chris Evans arrives at a press conference during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, as it returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenters Chris Evans and Sabine Schmitz talk to the media during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, as it returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Top Gear presenters Eddie Jordan (left) and The Stig at a press conference during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, as it returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Two Robin Rialto cars painted in the colours of the American flag and the Union flag on display during the launch of Top Gear at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, as the car show returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
File photo dated 25/05/16 Top Gear presenter Chris Evans who has admitted to being scared while filming a segment for the new Top Gear that involved racing to the highest pub in South Africa. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday May 28, 2016. The new series of the BBC Two show has been filmed over four continents in nine countries. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
File photo dated 13/3/16 of Matt LeBlanc (left) and rally driver Ken Block (right) during filming of BBC Top Gear, as LeBlanc has hailed Top Gear's global popularity, calling the BBC Two series an "international juggernaut". PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday May 27, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ LeBlanc. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
File photo dated 25/05/16 of Top Gear presenters (left to right) Chris Harris, Rory Reid, Sabine Schmitz, Chris Evans, Eddie Jordan and The Stig, during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday May 28, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ TopGear Profiles. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Some 4.4millon people tuned in for the long-awaited return of the BBC motoring show, Top Gear - and it sparked a huge online reaction.

Chris Evans launched his version of the long-running show on Sunday night.

He, along with the ex-Friends actor Matt Le Blanc, Irish former F1 supremo Eddie Jordan and German racing driver Sabine Schmitz are fronting the new show.

More: Top Gear reveals full line-up for new series

Sunday night's debut was more of a re-tuning of the format that a wholesale rebuild.

Evans and Schmitz pitted the latest Chevrolet and Dodge sports cars against each other at an American naval airbase while Le Blanc took to the desert for an excursion with an Ariel Nomadic.

Chef Gordon Ramsey and American actor Jesse Eisenbery were the celebrity guests taking part in the tweaked feature, Star in a rallycross car.

More: Revamped Top Gear fails to hit viewing numbers of last series

While the showpiece of the opener was Evans and Le Blanc's road trip in three-wheeled Reliant Robins to Blackpool with a few challenges thrown in, ending with a very Top Gear finish on top of a mountain.

Host Matt Le Blanc impressed many of those tuning in, going by the reaction on social media. But Evans got a rougher ride.

What did you think of the new show? Take our poll:

 

Top Gear is the BBC's most successful export generating around £50m with a global audience of 350m and seemingly endless repeats.

Jeremy Clarkson was suspended and then later fired by the BBC last year after a "fracas" that saw him punch Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon. His co-presenters Hammond and May quit the show shortly after.











 

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