Richard Hammond has joined James May in confirming he will not be returning to BBC2’s Top Gear following the axing of Jeremy Clarkson and the departure of its executive producer, Andy Wilman, according to several reports. The news comes not long after James May refused to return to Top Gear unless Jeremy Clarkson was on board, and follows weeks of speculation about whether or not the Hammond and May would return to the show without Clarkson. Hammond took to Twitter in order to make the announcement.
To be clear amidst all this talk of us ‘quitting’ or not: there’s nothing for me to ‘quit’. Not about to quit my mates anyway.
— Richard Hammond (@RichardHammond) April 24, 2015
When James May said he wasn’t going to return to Top Gear, he hinted at the fact that Richard Hammond also wouldn’t be returning to the show.
“Me and Hammond with a surrogate Jeremy is a non-starter, it just wouldn’t work. That would be lame, or ‘awks’ as young people say. It has to be the three of us. You can’t just put a surrogate Jeremy in and expect it to carry on. It would be forced. I don’t believe they would be stupid enough to try that. It would be a bloody tough call to do Top Gear without Jeremy, that would be a bit of a daft idea. I don’t think you could carry on with two people and put someone in as the new Jeremy because they are not going to be the new Jeremy. That would be short sighted and I don’t think it would work. Virtually impossible.”
A source close to Richard Hammond spoke to the Guardian and said that, while he probably won’t be returning to Top Gear, he still has a number of ideas for shows that he is currently working with the BBC on.
“The fact of the matter is Richard’s contract has expired, and he’s very much part of the discussions with the others as to what’s next for the three of them. Anything more than that at this stage is speculation. Away from Top Gear, Richard will continue to discuss future collaborations with the BBC.”
Rumors that the co-hosts refuse to host with anyone but Clarkson came after an alleged secret meeting was held between Clarkson, May, and one of the show bosses, Andy Wilman, according to the Daily Mail. During this secret meeting, the presenters’ futures were discussed. It has also been revealed that Wilman, who produces the show, will also not be returning to Top Gear.