Chris Evans today said he was “stepping down from Top Gear” adding: “Gave it my best shot but sometimes that’s not enough. The team are beyond brilliant, I wish them all the best.”
The TV and radio presenter said he was stepping down after just one series, amidst flagging ratings. Top Gear’s audience fell to a new low of fewer than two million viewers as the series stalled again in the ratings on Sunday.
Evans tweeted: “Stepping down from Top Gear. Gave it my best shot but sometimes that’s not enough. The team are beyond brilliant, I wish them all the best.”
He added: “Full steam ahead then with Radio 2, CarFest, Children In Need, 500 Words and whatever else we can dream up in the future.”
In a statement, he said: “I have never worked with a more committed and driven team than the team I have worked with over the last 12 months. I feel like my standing aside is the single best thing I can now do to help the cause.
“I remain a huge fan of the show, always have been, always will be. I will continue to focus on my radio show and the allied events that it encompasses.”
Mark Linsey, director of BBC Studio’s, said: “Chris is stepping down from his duties on Top Gear. He says he gave it his best shot doing everything he could to make the show a success.
“He firmly believes that the right people remain, on both the production team and presenting team, to take the show forward and make it the hit we want it to be.”
Sunday’s finale of the rebooted first series, which featured Hollywood actor Patrick Dempsey, drew an average of 1.9 million people and an 8.7% share of the available viewing audience.
The BBC declined to comment on the audience figures as the show, presented by Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc, lost out to ITV’s coverage of Euro 2016.
The commercial channel’s broadcast of France’s 5-2 victory over Iceland averaged 6.6 million viewers and a 31.4% share, according to audience measurement organisation, BARB.
There is already speculation about the likely line-up for second series of the new incarnation of the programme.
Over the last six weeks, Top Gear has struggled to make an impact in the overnights - the figures for the previous day’s viewing.
It launched over a Bank Holiday weekend with 4.4 million viewers on May 29, but plummeted to 2.8 million in the second outing.
Top Gear averaged 2.4 million viewers for the third and 2.3 million for its fourth instalment.
Last week’s episode, which featured guests Jennifer Saunders and Paul Hollywood, rose for the first time since the new series began.
It drew an average of 2.7 million people, with a peak of three million viewers tuning in at one point.
Overall, the show has failed to reach the viewing figures of the last series with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May at the helm.
The popular former Top Gear trio bowed out with 5.8 million viewers.
The new presenting team joined after the old team left following a fracas between lead presenter Clarkson and a producer over hot food at the Simonstone Hall Hotel in North Yorkshire.
Clarkson, Hammond and May will debut their new motoring show The Grand Tour for Amazon Prime in the autumn.