By on April 23, 2015

James May

Top Gear presenter James May is saying farewell to the show, as hosting it with Richard Hammond and a “surrogate” Jeremy Clarkson would be “lame.”

May explained hiring a replacement for the dismissed host is a “non-starter” at best, as the chemistry that made the trio what it was would be hard to replicate without Clarkson, according to The Guardian:

It has to be the three of us. You can’t just put a surrogate Jeremy in and expect it to carry on. It would be forced. I don’t believe they would be stupid enough to try that.

May added he’d like to continue working with the BBC on other projects and there may be a possibility of all three returning to Top Gear someday.

Regarding Clarkson’s dismissal as a result of the “fracas” between he and producer Oisin Tymon in March, the host says the BBC “haven’t completely closed the door on Jeremy’s return,” adding the broadcaster only decided not to renew his contract instead of outright firing and/or banning him.

Whether the trio would reunite for a production elsewhere, May did not rule it out, though non-compete clauses in at least one of the presenters’ contracts would make the jump difficult for now.

May also said he would be happy to film new studio and other footage for the remaining three episodes of Top Gear previously cancelled. The BBC says those three would air sometime this year, with this summer being the earliest.

[Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons]

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34 Comments on “James May Bidding Farewell To Top Gear Unless Clarkson Returns...”


  • avatar
    RHD

    Kudos to each of the Musketeers for their all-for one and one-for-all loyalty… but making Top Gear with someone other than Jeremy Clarkson could certainly be done, and done well. The retirement of Babe Ruth didn’t mean the end of the Yankees.
    May and Hammond are very talented, and with another talented, clever car guy who DOESN’T try to be Clarkson they could also put together an excellent show, if they put their creativity and hearts into it.
    My guess is that after a while the stuffed shirts will get over it, the cash cow will get restarted and they will just carry on.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Well…maybe it can be done.
      But in my opinion, this is just an entertainment reality show. The characters and how they know how to interact (read act) with each other is paramount to a successful show.
      This reminds me (OK, here we show age) of the time they tried to replace one of the 3 Stooges. OK. It was done, but the real fun and interaction and love was never there with Curly’s replacement.
      This is a dangerous move.
      Perhaps not an up to date example, but a good one.
      And I think the actors themselves know full well how they each play off each other during filming. And each one knows how far the bantering and trash talk can go without hurting the other.
      They do like and care for each other, so the direct hits and name callings are done with a love.
      This isn’t so easily replaced.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The way is being paved for Clarkson’s return. Don’t be surprised if there is a change of heart at the Beeb.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Mr. May – please finish either the ice cream or the pipe before beginning the other. I say this as someone who enjoys good tobacco in either pipe or cigar form on an semi-regular basis.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Good for them for sticking together.

    All 3 have earned enough money via Top Gear that their next few generations of descendants should be well off. So it would be us devoted viewers who would suffer most if Top Gear with its current crew of presenters were to end.

    Potential revenues for continuing in one form or another for any number of networks are so great that surely it will resurface.

    The most vexing question is how can you smoke a pipe and eat an ice cream cone at the same time?

  • avatar
    xtoyota

    Never liked the show anyway…… Good reddens :=)

  • avatar
    probert

    As all my Exs’ parents have whispered to them:”You can do better.”

  • avatar
    Bowlandmonkey

    Chris Evans (of Ginger fame, not Captain America fame) would be awesome leading that team.

    There’s even a load of speculation about him doing it in the UK tabloids: http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/chris-evans-replace-jeremy-clarkson-4176402

  • avatar

    Chris Evans is another dinosaur from the inanity of 90s Britain. One of the good points about living outside the anglophone world was not having to see or hear Chris Evans. Putting him on TG will mean he could briefly be everywhere. He would not last long as he is talentless.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    May and Hammond are nothing without Clarkson, and May knows it.

    True, the show might be worse without Clarkson, but May and Hammond are fools hitching their wagon to that oaf.

    Top Gear should just get a whole new cast, American Idol-style, and let those three move on.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I was hoping they’d do the routine they had in mind if one of them died. “I’m afraid that Jeremy Clarkson is no longer with us. Anyway…”

  • avatar
    brn

    Don’t let the door hit you in the arse on your way out.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Jay Leno could “pinch hit” until they can find a suitable Brit.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Top Gear is the biggest show that BBC has, and everyone knows it. The chemistry between Clarkson, May and Hammond is what makes the show what it is. Without them you may as well show reruns of Top Gear USA, but in the long run, its just a TV show, if it ends it ends everyone will be just fine without it.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I enjoy TG but honestly found Clarkson tiresome, predictable, and boring. I liked James May’s segments the best, honestly.

    He also did some other interesting shows on the BBC. The time he built a full-sized house out of Legos comes to mind. I’m sure (and hope) he has other interesting opportunities outside of Top Gear flying at him now.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      He is the most well-rounded of the three. He can be funny, but also intelligent and thoughtful with what he says. His specials are usually very good, and he’s good at giving information rather than Clarkson hyperbole.

      I feel like Hammond doesn’t know much about anything other than farming and Morgans. The rest is just fed to him and he’s not that bothered.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed Corey, I also prefer May. BTW, thanks for the tip on his car of the people specials. I learned of that from your comments on TTAC, watched them all and did learn a few things. And yes, the shelling of the French cars was the lowest point in the series. Barely justifiable.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Of course. That was a fun series, I think my favorite part was the long history of the Fiat 124 (a very stylish car!). And I couldn’t believe the lax regulations allowing what was it, 13 year olds to drive those low powered death traps in France? Since they were considered “scooters” or whatever the term was.

          The shelling part – just made my head hurt. No reason for it, I would rather have had much more detail on the history of the 2cv, or perhaps how the French have done hatchbacks for so long with Citroen and Peugeot.

          • 0 avatar

            I agree, the 124 even made it to Brazil in the 90s for a very brief period back in the 90s as Ladas. Still see some tooling about, mostly decrepit, though a few years back I saw a red one in mint condition driving though a nicer part of town. Amid the BMWs and smaller Fiats and VWs I’d say it looked…regal.

            Yes those scooters were fun. Being electric, and making no noise, it also seems they led to a rash of people being run over in towns.

            As to French hatches, don’t forget the Simca! Originator of it all. Absorbed by Chrysler IIRC and later still by Peugeot who I thinks holds the brand.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh I meant the actual little cars, that were classified as scooters, that the French children were allowed to drive under a special license. He did that segment with the French girl, yelling at her to slow down etc. (lol)

            Simca made it to North America, but only Canada, and not for a very long time (under Chrysler ownership).

  • avatar
    skor

    Save the drama for your mama.

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