Top Gear to switch to BBC One for first time in 18 years, Corporation confirms
The BBC has confirmed that Top Gear will switch to BBC One for the first time in its modern history this year after its new presenting line-up proved a hit with viewers.
In their debut on BBC Two last year June, Bolton-born Paddy McGuinness, Preston's Freddie Flintoff and Chris Harris attracted an average consolidated audience of 3.8 million - making it the channel’s most popular show of 2019.
The programme was also popular amongst young audiences - the Holy Grail for the Corporation - occupying a spot in the top four shows on British TV for 16 to 34-year olds during each week of its run.
Charlotte Moore, the Director of BBC Content, said: “The time is right to move the world’s best motor show to the nation’s most popular channel and bring it to an even broader audience on BBC One.
“Freddie, Paddy and Chris have revitalised the hit series with their escapades and banter; and we couldn’t have asked for a better response to their series so far and the impact it’s had with young audiences.”
Host Harris told BBC Breakfast: “I think it’s been so successful they want to move it to BBC One. We can view that as a pat on the back. It’s nothing to do with me at all. It’s the eye candy that is Fred and Paddy’s genius humour.”
Ralph Lee, director of content at BBC Studios Production, added: “I suspect things will get bigger, better, and crazier when we arrive on BBC One.”
The show, originally resurrected with Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc as hosts, will air on BBC One from its 29th series later this year.
Long-standing Top Gear front man Jeremy Clarkson and executive producer Andy Wilman had previouly resisted a move to BBC One.
“We never went to BBC One, we always wanted to be a big dog on BBC Two,” Wilman said.