James May believes the BBC has been ‘harsh’ on new Top Gear host Chris Evans by celebrating the show’s history.

The former presenter quit alongside Richard Hammond when Jeremy Clarkson was fired from the BBC.

The trio are now set to launch their new Amazon Prime motoring show, and will go head to head with Chris as he reboots Top Gear.

James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond



James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond (Amazon Prime Video)

 

James told the Radio Times: “I was surprised they showed lots of Top Gear compilations over Christmas. I thought, ‘Oh, so now they’re celebrating us’, but I also thought it’s harsh on Chris Evans.

“Just as he’s trying to launch his version of the programme, the BBC is saying, ‘Look how brilliant it was before’.’”

Top Gear host Chris Evans with The Stig



Top Gear host Chris Evans with The Stig (Lionel Cironneau/AP)

 

He added: “I’d like to see Chris’s Top Gear do well. It’s a ballsy call to continue it. I wouldn’t want to be the one presenting it when we’d just finished, but there must be a way of reinventing it. We always said it would survive beyond us.

“I think the stories about Chris’s version being in trouble might be an elaborate hoax, before it explodes onto our screens in brilliance.”

Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond



Top Gear’s former trio Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond (BBC Worldwide Limited)

 

James also denied that the fracas which led to Jeremy’s firing was in any way connected to alcohol or a mental breakdown.

He said: “I don’t think he was unwell or having a breakdown. He’s deranged, but that’s not the same thing. There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s fat, obviously, and rather ugly.

“But those aren’t illnesses, merely misfortunes.”