Top Gear’s James May has ruled out returning to the show without Jeremy Clarkson.
In an interview with MediaGuardian he said: “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.
Top Gear presenters James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in happier times (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)
“It doesn’t mean I won’t go back, we may all go back in the future. It might just be we have a break from it. I don’t know.”
According to the MediaGuardian, May went on to say: “It would be a b****y 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.”
May later added on Twitter: “I have not quit the BBC, just so you know.”
Clarkson was suspended and then later axed from the show after he attacked Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon, splitting his lip and verbally abusing him.
Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon (BBC Worldwide/PA)
Clarkson’s contract was not renewed, with director-general Tony Hall saying ‘a line has been crossed’ and ‘there cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another’.
Earlier this week, BBC2 boss Kim Shillinglaw, who has been tasked with finding a replacement for Clarkson on the hit motoring show, said the presenter would return at some point.
She said: “Jeremy will be back on the BBC.
“It’s serious and unfortunate what happened, but there is no ban on Jeremy being on the BBC. It’s a big deal what happened and Jeremy, as any human being would, needs some time.”
She also confirmed that scenes filmed before Clarkson was suspended for his attack on Tymon were likely to screen this summer, saying: “No way would I want the available material not to be seen by viewers.”