Is it really the end of the road for Top Gear as we know it? While it has been rumored for the past few days that after Jeremy Clarkson’s removal, the contracts of the other two hosts of Top Gear — Richard Hammond and James May — would also not be renewed, there was nothing coming from the official quarters that suggested this was going to happen. However, a recent change to the Top Gear UK website might just be a hint towards the fact that the show would indeed go ahead without the duo.
As noted by the Verge, the UK website of the show had until March 29 displayed a prominent top banner that showed all the three hosts of the show. That picture is no longer seen on the top banner and has been replaced by the photo of what is being referred to as the “Super Stig.”
After it was confirmed by the BBC that they would not be renewing their contract with Jeremy Clarkson, James May updated his Twitter profile and described himself as a “former presenter” of Top Gear. He also tweeted using the hashtag #stillunemployed, indicating that he would not be seen in a Top Gear episode sans Clarkson.
As for Richard Hammond, he too updated his Twitter profile, writing, “Can’t explain it really… er, I do this car show and stuff.”
James May, on the other hand, had publicly professed his support for Jeremy in an interview he gave to Sky News on the day it was announced by the BBC that they would not be renewing Clarkson’s contract.
“As much as I think he’s a knob, I quite like working with Jeremy.” May said.
That said, it is likely that you will see all three of them together on a show — minus the Top Gear branding. According to a blog post by Top Gear, all three existing presenters would continue to host Top Gear Live – which has been renamed to Clarkson, Hammond, and May Live. This, according to the BBC, has been done in the interest of viewers who had purchased tickets for the show well in advance.
“So as not to disappoint the thousands of people around the world who have already purchased tickets, BBC Worldwide has agreed with our joint venture partner Brand Events that the remainder of the tour can continue,” a BBC spokesman confirmed. “These events will not, however, feature any BBC Top Gear branding or content. We believe this is a sensible approach in the circumstances.”
The question as to who would host the “original” Top Gear series still remains. Does the picture of the Super Stig on the top banner mean that “The Stig” is the new host of the show?
[Image via CrossMap]