As Matt LeBlanc is leaving Top Gear, entertainment host and comedian Paddy McGuinness and former England cricketer and TV presenter Freddie Flintoff will join motoring journalist and racing driver Chris Harris as presenters of the show.
The trio will begin production on season 27 of the BBC Two show in early 2019, with their inaugural series premiering later in the year. The next season of Top Gear, LeBlanc’s last as lead host, will debut early in 2019 on BBC Two.
Rory Reid, who has co-presented Top Gear since season 23, will step down from the main presenting lineup but will remain part of the Top Gear family, along with Sabine Schmitz. He will continue to be the face of the companion series Extra Gear and will be at the heart of what will become a larger digital presence for the show.
Patrick Holland, controller of BBC Two, said: “This is a thrilling maneuver from the Top Gear team and I’m relishing what this trio will deliver. Both Paddy and Freddie love their cars but more than that, they’ll bring a new energy and competitive spirit to Top Gear. Chris Harris might have the greater car skills, but when it comes to the infamous Top Gear challenges, he’s going to have to bring his A-game to have the beating of these two.”
McGuinness commented: “Getting the Top Gear gig is a real honor and I’m thrilled the BBC have given me this opportunity. To be hosting a show I’ve watched and loved from being a small boy is beyond exciting. Top Gear fans worldwide are a passionate bunch and I consider myself one of them. Now let’s start up this Great British machine and see what it can do!”
Flintoff added: “It’s not often you have the chance to do both of your dream jobs, but I’m now lucky enough to say I will have. I’ve always been passionate about cars and I’m so excited to be joining the Top Gear team.”
Harris said: “I think you can tell just how much fun we’re going to have making Top Gear with Paddy and Freddie. They’re both brilliant, natural entertainers—and their mischief mixed with the most exciting cars on the planet is sure to take the show to the next level. My dream job just got even better.”