Chris Evans has stated he has no interest in replacing Jeremy Clarkson as Top Gear host after Betfair listed him as the person most likely to present the show's next season.
Following the news that Jeremy Clarkson punched a BBC producer sparking the cancellation of Sunday's show, bookmaker Betfair started taking bets on the next host of Top Gear, which remains one of the BBC’s highest grossing shows internationally.
The firm ranked Chris Evans at 3/1 to replace Clarkson on the much loved yet controversial programme. But petrolhead Evans, who has appeared on the show in the ‘Reasonably Priced Car’ segment, denied any interest in the role this morning (Wednesday 11 March).
Re @SkyNews Top Gear debate. I can categorically say I am not and will NEVER be running for office. Pls discount my candidacy. .
— Chris Evans (@achrisevans) March 11, 2015
In second and third place was retired Formula One driver Eddie Irvine (5/1) and racing driver and television presenter Vicki Butler-Henderson (6/1).
Cormac Dowling, novelties and politics trader for Betfair, said: “Recent rumours suggest that a career in politics beckons for Clarkson and with the general election imminent, 25/1 for him to become an MP is a decent bet.
“Chris Evans is the early 3/1 favourite to take over from the presenter, but Vicki Butler-Henderson at 6/1 could be an ideal fit if the producers are looking to breathe new life into the show.”
Mark Borkowski, founder and head of Borkowski PR, told The Drum that Clarkson’s inability to exercise restraint is both his biggest appeal and biggest weakness in the eyes of the public: “Crisis comms demands a low profile, but Clarkson is unable to pull on his Second World War helmet and duck beneath the parapet. Like Farage and Katie Hopkins, his authenticity is his own enemy. He can't button up – he says it as he sees it.
“To the liberal media he is vile and brutish; to his fans he is a mischievous rogue and the last politically incorrect totem. Clarkson’s value as a brand has managed to soar because of this and despite his critics and the headlines. Like Madonna and Diana, he has managed to attain single word ubiquity. No mean feat for an overweight, middle-aged, nicotine-stained baby boomer.”
The full Betfair list is available below.
Who will replace Jeremy Clarkson as Top Gear host?
Chris Evans 3/1
Eddie Irvine 5/1
Vicki Butler Henderson 6/1
Eddie Jordan 8/1
Jake Humphrey 8/1
Jay Kay 10/1
Martin Brundle 10/1
Steve Coogan 12/1
Jodie Kidd 12/1
Suzi Perry 12/1
Rupert Grint 20/1
Olly Murs 20/1
Piers Morgan 20/1
James Blunt 28/1
Nigel Mansell 33/1
Katie Hopkins 28/1
Max Mosley 50/1
Nigel Farage 50/1
Notably, Piers Morgan, who regularly clashes with Clarkson on Twitter, offered his expertise to the role – he sits at 20/1.
I'm available. #TopGear
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 10, 2015