In Depth

Why Matt LeBlanc is leaving Top Gear

Former Friends star will hang up his driving gloves at end of next series

Matt LeBlanc has announced that he is to quit Top Gear after filming his fourth series as a presenter on the BBC Two motoring show. 

The former Friends star will leave co-stars Chris Harris and Rory Reid at the helm following the 26th season, due to air later this year.

In a statement announcing his decision, LeBlanc said that the “time commitment and extensive travel required to present Top Gear takes me away from my family and friends more than I’m comfortable with.

“It’s unfortunate, but for these reasons I will not be continuing my involvement with the show.”

Presenting the show has been “great fun” and he “thoroughly enjoyed working with the whole team”, LeBlanc added.

The American actor was “a surprise addition” when he joined Top Gear’s revamped line-up in 2016, following to departure of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, says The Independent

LeBlanc hosted his first series alongside Chris Evans, but the British star then left the show amid falling viewing figures. 

Responding to the latest resignation, BBC Two controller Patrick Holland thanked LeBlanc for his contribution to the show, admitting: “We were always going to be borrowing him from his day job as one of the top comic actors in Hollywood.”

It is not yet known who will replace LeBlanc, but The Sunday Times notes that the BBC will be “desperate” to find a new presenter who can help “restore the show’s fortunes”.

Top Gear is “one of the corporation’s biggest international brands”, the newspaper says, but audience figures are current around half of the 7.1 million viewers that Clarkson averaged during his time as the frontman.

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