Richard Hammond and James May are to launch a new show with their sacked Top Gear colleague Jeremy Clarkson

According to Mirror Online, no amount of cash would persuade the pair to return to the BBC2 show without Clarkson. In fact, they are turning down an offer – worth £4million – to work on the new project with their old pal.

A source told the website that Jeremy, Richard and James, along with executive producer Andy Wilman, are on the verge of closing a big-money deal with on-demand provider Netflix. 

James, Richard and Jeremy have been in talks with a number of channels and media outlets – including ITV – but the source claimed the trio have opted to go with Netflix, whose hit shows include House of Cards.

“They’ve always said they come as a team and that hasn’t changed,” said the source. “They are all very excited at the prospect of having total editorial control over their new show, to make it and get it distributed.

“It would be groundbreaking and also incredible lucrative. They would stand to earn much, much more than they would with the BBC.”

Earlier this week, May and Hammond shot studio scenes for two Top Gear films, which were made before Clarkson was let go by the BBC following the fracas with producer Oisin Tymon. The two episodes will be screened in the next few weeks.

Another source told Mirror Online : “Clarkson had his faults but his ­importance to the show cannot be understated.

“He wrote it, came up with ideas and was its heart. It will need about three or four good operators to replace him..

“Richard and James could make it work as a duo – but the idea of different guest presenters every week is seen as a non-starter.

“They’ve been sounded out to return – but if, as expected Richard and Jamesturn the offer down, then Top Gear will have to be re-invented – undergoing a total re-boot and re-branding.”