TV

Who Should Replace Clarkson on Top Gear?

It's official: Clarkson will not be having his BBC contract renewed.

The move comes after the Top Gear host allegedly insulted and punched a producer after a row over hot food and follows a series of controversial moments over the years.

So one of the biggest jobs in broadcasting is now up for grabs and, despite it being a David Moyes-esque task to replace the jacket and jeans hero, there's bound to be no shortage of willing volunteers.

We take a look at the runners and riders: cast a vote for your choice in our poll at the end.

Chris Evans

Currently the bookies' favourite, the radio and TV presenter is a notorious petrolhead, owning a fleet of fast cars. He is also, obviously, a fantastic presenter, slipping into Terry Wogan's vacated slippers with ease when taking over his Radio 2 Breakfast show in 2010. He also made his TV return the same year, presenting The One Show on the BBC on Fridays. He seems like a natural fit, but we'd find it hard to imagine he'd have the time to continue the breakfast show alongside a stint as Top Gear anchor. He has repeatedly stated his love of radio over TV (and after the failure of his last TV show OFI Sunday, he claimed he no longer knew how to be successful on television) but could Top Gear be the one job that would persuade him to leave?

Jodie Kidd

Another hot tip with the bookies, the 36-year-old model and presenter would be a fascinating choice. She first appeared on the show back in 2003 - gaining the fastest celebrity lap in the star in a reasonably-priced car at the time (she's in 10th overall on the Suzuki Liana Leaderboard) and featured in the Clarkson: Thriller best-seller in 2008. Clearly, she knows her stuff and would be an interesting way to avoid direct comparisons with the big man she's replacing. However, having only made her full presenting debut earlier this year on Channel 5's The Classic Car Show, it would be a bold move.

Piers Morgan

If the BBC really want to up the ante on the 'divisive' stakes, they could appoint possibly the only man with the ego to think he'd be better than Clarkson: step forward the one-man hate-generator Piers Morgan. Ironically, up until a year ago, the former Mirror editor would have relished replacing his sworn enemy, but after a booze-fuelled makeup session in their local Kensington pub, he might well think twice about it about. However, we can't imagine that notions of friendship would bother Morgan too much, and he might see it as a prime way back into television after the end of his CNN show; however, his lack of any known car knowledge will surely count against him.

Steve Coogan

We've covered the petition that fans have made for Alan Partridge to take over as Top Gear host (backed up by a superb showreel) and, while that would make television gold, we can't really see a fictional character taking over what is, nominally at least, a serious motoring show. However, there's nothing to rule out his creator, Steve Coogan, taking the reins. He's a noted car enthusiast, would be fantastically funny and, if he was short of a few ideas, could simply give Rob Brydon a call and do a few more roadtrips around the world, whilst doing impressions of Jeremy Clarkson.

Stephen Fry

The great man has appeared on the program several times, driving a resonably-priced car reasonably slowly. If the BBC wanted a calming influence on the show, they couldn't really pick anyone better: we can't imagine any sort of controversy with the notoriously well-mannered Fry at the helm. However, they already have James May on the staff for that sort of thing, so we can't really see this happening. It would certainly be 'Quite Interesting' if it did though, and we'd love to see his taxi cab going round the Top Gear test track.

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Vicki Butler-Henderson

Another riding high in the bookies' odds, the racing driver has, of course, already had one bite of the Top Gear cherry, co-presenting until 2001 when the original show was cancelled. While this would normally count her out, the intervening 14 years have seen her rapidly expand her presenting portfolio, including stints on radio and daytime TV, and, not that we would dream of suggesting that nepotism could be factor, is married to the current Top Gear series director Phil Churchward. We're just saying it probably wouldn't harm her chances, that's all.

Sabine Schmitz

A Top Gear fan favourite after several highly entertaining and impressive appearances on the show, the German driver and presenter would be a wildcard, but she possesses all the requisite talents, being a fixture on the German equivalent of the program. Praised effusively by Clarkson himself whenever on the show and awarded the title of 'Best German' in 2005, she would nonetheless represent a serious departure from Clarkson, being both substantially more female, and German.

Nigel Farage

(Images: Rex)