Chris Evans had a light-hearted dig at Jeremy Clarkson minutes after the revamped Top Gear was unveiled.
The much-loved motoring show returned to our screens with Chris and former Friends actor Matt LeBlanc at the helm.
— Top Gear (@BBC_TopGear) May 29, 2016
Previous frontman Jeremy was sacked for an ‘unprovoked physical and verbal attack’ on a producer, apparently over catering, and Chris could not resist bringing it up during his opening segment.
He introduced a group of people from an Indian restaurant and asked the audience what they thought they were doing there.
One person suggested they were there to prepare the food.
Chris said playfully: “By the way, we don’t talk about catering on this show any more.”
Jeremy Clarkson (Liam Burney/PA)
During the first episode, Chris, 50, visited a US Naval Base – better known as the home of Top Gun – where he raced a Dodge Viper ACR against a Corvette Z06.
Matt, who is the first non-British host in the programme’s 39-year history, went for a spin through the Moroccan desert in an Ariel Nomad.
The pair also braved the cold British weather as they raced from London to Blackpool in roofless Reliant Rialtos, and welcomed celebrity guests Gordon Ramsay and Jesse Eisenberg who took part in the new Star In A Rallycross Car part of the show.
Matt LeBlanc (BBC)
Viewers were quick to slam the show on social media.
Is it possible to axe a TV show half way through the first episode? #TopGear. We could watch something else for the next 30 minutes.
— Philip Walmsley (@M2Phil) May 29, 2016
Much of the criticism was levelled at Chris’s performance as host, with fans accusing him of shouting and being ‘too excitable’.
Chris Evans is too much like a high pitched excitable kid that no one pays attention to. Cringe
— Toby Whitehead (@twhitehead1986) May 29, 2016
#TopGear pls calm Chris down a bit. Too excitable
— Ben Falconer (@benfalconer) May 29, 2016
#TopGear good first effort but should have changed more features – the uk vs USA was the best thing. Evans too excitable, le blanc legend
— Emma Riley (@TheEmmaRiley) May 29, 2016
US star Matt, 48, escaped most of the barbs and some fans said that his segment with the Nomad was one of the few highlights.
Unfashionable as always; I liked Matt le Blanc on #TopGear, Nomad was the best piece, show should be more of that, IMO.
— Matt Biggs (@PawnSacrifice) May 29, 2016
— David White (@davidwhiteshow) May 29, 2016
Loved @Matt_LeBlanc and his Nomad segment on tonight’s Top Gear launch! Looking forward to next week’s ep!
— Amy-Lee (@Aymeh) May 29, 2016
Within minutes of the show starting there were calls to bring back Jeremy and his co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May.
Yeah Top Gear wasn’t great. Bring back Clarkson and co!
— Aled Hopkins (@AledHopkins) May 29, 2016
How to make new #TopGear better? Get rid of the presenters and bring back Clarkson, Hammond and May.
— LittleOne ♔ (@VikLar2906) May 29, 2016
Unfortunately, as expected, @BBC_TopGear was awkwardly awful. Bring back Clarkson.
— James King (@JamesRossKing) May 29, 2016