Top Gear launches Gallic equivalent
A popular actor and comedian, a Le Mans racing driver and a men's magazine editor are to become the Gallic equivalents of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May for the French launch of Top Gear.
The trio of car fanatics were named today as the presenters for the series which will begin broadcasting in the spring after the UK version has already proved popular in the country.
They are the actor and comic Philippe Lellouche, former racing car driver Bruce Jouanny and the journalist Yann Larret-Menezo - known as Le Tone - who will also be accompanied by their own version of The Stig.
Lellouche has appeared alongside Oscar-winning Jean Dujardin and his actress wife Vanessa Demouy was once the model who portrayed video game heroine Lara Croft.
The new series is being produced by BBC Worldwide Productions France and will be screened by the RMC Decouverte channel, which already broadcasts the Clarkson version of the show to a sizeable audience.
Their programme will incorporate the "the familiar features of the UK version along with the same humour and camaraderie between the three presenters".
Top Gear is estimated to have a global audience of 350 million making it the world's most watched factual programme and the format has been sold to countries around the world including Australia, South Korea and recently to China.
The presenters posed in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris before driving a Ferrari California T, an Aston Martin Vanquish and a BMW i8 around the city.
Adam Waddell, the director of entertainment brands at BBC Worldwide said: "Before you ask 'who is the Jeremy, who is the Richard and who is the James' - I should explain that Bruce, Philippe and Yann all have their unique personalities. But like the UK hosts, they instantly clicked on screen and share the sense of fun that the show is known for."
The UK version of the show was recently under fire after upsetting people in Argentina while filming in South America with a car bearing a number plate which appeared to be a reference to the Falklands War.
The BBC and the programme team maintained that the number plate H982 FKL - which some interpreted as a jibe at the 1982 Falklands conflict between Britain and Argentina - was not deliberately chosen and was simply a coincidence.