Thrilled Chris Evans to be host of BBC smash Top Gear
Chris Evans is the new host of Top Gear, after months of speculation about who would replace ousted favourite Jeremy Clarkson.
The BBC confirmed last night that television and radio presenter Evans has signed a three-year deal to lead an all-new line-up for the popular BBC Two show.
Evans has previously insisted he would never take on the role, after being tipped as a favourite to replace Clarkson who was sacked following a "fracas" with the show's producer earlier this year.
But after agreeing the deal, he said: "I'm thrilled, Top Gear is my favourite programme of all- time.
"Created by a host of brilliant minds who love cars and understand how to make the massively complicated come across as fun, devil-may-care and effortless. When in fact, of course, it's anything but and that's the genius of Top Gear's global success.
"I promise I will do everything I possibly can to respect what has gone on before and take the show forward."
It is the first time the BBC has confirmed that co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May will not be returning.
A BBC spokeswoman said Evans' co-presenters will be announced "in due course", with production of the new series starting in the next few weeks.
Tweeting after the news was announced, Evans confirmed he will continue to present his BBC Radio 2's breakfast show, and praised his Top Gear predecessors.
He said: "First tweet as new Top Gear host. I would like to say Jeremy, Richard & James are the greatest. And NO I'm not leaving the R2 Breakfast Show."
It represents a sharp U-turn for Evans, who in March dismissed rumours he would take over the show, tweeting: "I can categorically say I am not and will NEVER be running for office. Pls discount my candidacy."