Top Gear presenter James May has reportedly hinted that the show's trio of presenters, including Jeremy Clarkson, could return to present the show in the existing format in future.
In an interview with The Sunday Times May said the BBC has not yet ruled out the reinstatement of Clarkson to the show, having previously announced it would sever his contract after details emerged that he had physically and verbally abused a colleague.
“We could all go back to the BBC in the future,” he said. “They [the BBC] don’t appear to be ruling it out,” May told The Times.
It has been widely reported that although the BBC has not wanted to cancel the show, which pulls in an average five million viewers, 350 million globally, with the co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond. However, both have come out stating they would refuse to do so if Clarkson wasn’t reinstated.
TV streaming giants Netflix and Hulu are understood to be interested in the trio recreating the show for their own channels, but the BBC has been reluctant to let it go, according to The Times.
However, Clarkson responded on Twitter to another piece relating to his reinstatement last night when Sunday Mirror editor Nigel Pauley tweeted that he had "interesting news" to share with Top Gear fans, to which Clarkson responded: "I can't wait because there is no new news."
The Mirror piece since published reported that May and Hammond have turned down a £4m offer from the BBC to continue the show without Clarkson and are "close" to signing a deal with Netflix.
Top Gear is among the BBC's most lucrative export, generating more than £40m a year from overseas sales and merchandise.
The BBC declined to comment on the speculation.