BBC mulling major changes to Top Gear line-up in an attempt to rescue the sinking ship
The BBC is mulling a number of major changes to the next series of Top Gear in an attempt to rescue the motoring show following the swift departure of host Chris Evans after rating dropped to their lowest ever.
This could include the promotion of two junior presenters and the introduction of a regular celebrity road trip feature, the Telegraph reported.
The BBC is also advertising for a new series producer who must be able to “manage their own emotions in the face of pressure”, according to the job description.
The document, seen by the Daily Telegraph, says applicants should have the “ability to create a vision and inspire others to realise it irrespective of circumstances,” and must “maintain personal effectiveness by managing own emotions in the face of pressure, setbacks or when dealing with provocative situations”.
BBC executives are scrambling to refresh the strategy and staff of the programme after Evans announced he was quitting Top Gear last week. It came after the BBC2 show finished the most recent series with its lowest ratings since 2002, reaching an audience of just 1.9 million people – less than half of its launch overnight audience of 4.3 million.
As a consequence the corporation is thinking more strategically about when it will launch its second series - likely under Matt LeBlanc’s leadership - targeting a return early next spring when television audiences are generally higher than in summer.
The show’s well-loved Christmas specials - in which previous presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May carried out extended road trips abroad - will be scrapped as a result.
The first series of the revamped Top Gear has not been without its controversies, including executive departures, reports of audience complaints and rumours of on-set tension between Evans and LeBlanc.
To prevent such controversies from filtering through into the next series, executives are also planning an overhaul of the production team that will see Evans’s responsibilities as “creative lead” passed to series editor Alex Renton, who has worked on Top Gear for over ten years.