Top Gear co-presenter James May says he will not return to the popular British TV car show without its leading star Jeremy Clarkson.
May, who has appeared in the show with Clarkson and Richard Hammond for over a decade, has ruled himself out of continuing after Clarkson’s contract was not renewed after the infamous ‘fracas’ with a producer following a filming shoot.
“Me and Hammond with a surrogate Jeremy is a non-starter, it just wouldn’t work,” May told MediaGuardian.
“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.”
Not closing the door in future
May believes that this is not the end for Clarkson or himself from returning to the BBC and Top Gear in years to come.
“In the future when all this has blown over there might be an opportunity for three of us to get back together on the BBC to do Top Gear or a car show of some sort,” he added.
“The BBC haven’t completely closed the door on Jeremy’s return. They’ve not banned him or fired him, only just not renewed his contract for the moment. It’s a subtle difference but an important one.”
Top producer leaves show too
Top Gear’s longtime executive producer Andy Wilman, who reinvented the show with Clarkson in 2002, had also revealed that he will no longer work on Top Gear.
This has fuelled speculation that all three presenters – with Wilman at the helm as producer – will be reunited on another car show on different channel such as Sky, or on US on-demand service Netflix.
The former ‘Top Gear Live’ stadium shows have already been rebranded ‘Clarkson, Hammond & May Live’.