Having stepped down from Top Gear amid falling ratings and poor reviews, Chris Evans has tipped Matt LeBlanc as the “captain Top Gear truly needs going forward”.
Speculation had been rife that the pair’s friendship had suffered during the filming, with the US star particularly irked over Evans’ apparent behaviour towards staff, but now that all appears water under the bridge(stone) as the former host tipped LeBlanc to take centre stage in the next series, which begins filming later this month:
"For me, he is the man. He is the captain Top Gear truly needs going forward, the perfect torso for the rest of TG's limbs," wrote Evans in the Mail of Sunday this weekend.
"Not only does he eat, sleep, breathe and dream engines, propshafts and trail-braking, but the overwhelming quality that struck me about him is that he's just such a pro.
"The whole time I worked with him, he never once looked at the clock, was never late on set, knew his lines inside out and back to front and, most importantly on such an intense production, he always had time for everyone, especially the crew."
Also hailing him as "the man" and a "total mensch", Evans even went so far as to say LeBlanc and Top Gear "were made for each other", adding that by comparison he’d been "a square peg in a round hole."
The Radio 2 host also had a few kind words for the crew of the show, who he tipped to go on to bigger and better things:
"The Top Gear gang are the most driven (forgive the pun) and dedicated I have ever worked with. There is nothing those guys won't do to make every second of on-air content shine to its maximum potential."
Quite whether LeBlanc would want to be captain remains to be seen. Though if the BBC's flagship motoring show really is a sinking ship, at this point one might come in handy.