The BBC has revealed that comedian Paddy McGuinness and former England cricket captain Andrew Flintoff will be the new hosts of Top Gear.
The pair will join former racing driver Chris Harris, who stays on from the previous series. Rory Reid will no longer present, but will «remain part of the Top Gear family», according to the broadcaster.
McGuinness and Flintoff replace Friends actor Matt LeBlanc, who is stepping down following the next series of the show – due to begin in early 2019.
Reaction on the internet has been less than positive, ranging from confusion about the choice of an ex-cricket captain to criticism over the decision to demote Reid, who will continue to host Top Gear’s companion show, Extra Gear.
#TopGear is starting to become a bit like the Sugar Babes near the end.
— Nath (@5melllikewee) October 22, 2018
#TopGear so much talent in the car YouTube space and this is the direction they choose. @harrismonkey is great though %uD83D%uDC4D pic.twitter.com/tD9vyGGELq
— Justin Pickering (@thebigtwit78) October 22, 2018
Not sure how the new line-up will work for #TopGear However I’m sure moving @MrRoryReid from main presenting duties is a mistake. He is passionate and authentic, and it shows in his presenting
— Kelle Green (@KLM412) October 22, 2018
I think it%u2019s time to finally accept that #TopGear died a few years ago. Just let it rest peacefully. pic.twitter.com/YV7ntUCMfo
— Will (@willdot1) October 22, 2018
Was it 3 for 2 on leather jackets? #TopGear pic.twitter.com/nUee1Y6Djx
— Elliot Gonzalez (@elliot_gonzalez) October 22, 2018
Take Me Out host McGuinness said the new role is a «real honour».
«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 said: «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.»
Top Gear has gone through a number of changes since original hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May left in 2015. DJ Chris Evans was a host alongside LeBlanc, but quit after only one year.
While there has been a chorus of calls on Twitter for the BBC to cancel the long-running show, the internet isn’t famous for measured responses to change. Amongst the moaning are messages of congratulations, included a tweet from BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew, referencing a drunken escapade on a pedalo that saw Flintoff banned from a match in 2007.
From a pedalo to a Porsche, I reckon @flintoff11 will be a brilliant #TopGear presenter. Many congrats Freddie.
— Jonathan Agnew (@Aggerscricket) October 22, 2018