herald

Saturday 1 October 2016

'Loads of people have told me they love my new Top Gear', says Evans

New host Chris Evans
New host Chris Evans

He caused a storm of controversy when he was revealed as the new presenter of Top Gear, but TV star Chris Evans wouldn't have it any other way.

The 50-year-old was announced as the new presenter of the hugely-popular show last year and has signed a three-year deal with the BBC to replace former host Jeremy Clarkson.

Speaking to the Herald, the presenter admitted he wasn't bothered by the flack he received.

"Everybody is entitled to their opinion. I've received literally thousands of emails from people saying they love the show, from individuals who don't have newspaper columns," he said.

"Look, I've taken some of the criticism on board - I've expected it. I would have been semi-disappointed if it (Top Gear) hadn't caused such a fuss. It has to cause a fuss, it's a massive show. But this is what we get paid for, we don't get paid to come into work, take a bow and breeze home again and get all the plaudits."

The show will feature a trip to Irish shores in the June 26 episode. Evans paid tribute to the locals in Kerry who played their part in the production - particularly the Gaelic footballers of the An Gaeltacht and Dingle GAA clubs, who played in an exhibition match.

"Wow, did we love filming in Ireland. It was brilliant, it really was - but then again all the shoots went so well.

"We had a great crowd for the Gaelic football game. It was one of those things, we filmed loads but only got to use a small part of it," he said.

The Cheshire native admitted he had a worrying moment on the country roads on a drive between Killarney and Dingle.

Sparks

"That drive over the mountains on the last day of filming was quite hairy for me," he said.

"I bombed out at one stage and there were sparks under the car. Matt [LeBlanc] was behind in his car and he jumped out and said 'hey buddy, you alright?' but I was fine. There are always hairy moments on those shoots."

Over three days Evans, in his classic Rolls-Royce Corniche and co-host Matt LeBlanc, in a modern Rolls-Royce Dawn, filmed from Kenmare to Slea Head.

The host admitted some might find it hard to believe they filmed on Irish shores.

"The footage and finished pieces look amazing. I think some people will find it hard to believe that this is Ireland.

"It was stunning, simply stunning. If you get Ireland on the right day and go to the right places it doesn't get any better really."

The last time Top Gear visited Ireland was in 2009, when Richard Hammond raced a Mazda against a greyhound in Dublin's Shelbourne Park.

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