James Martin has bet on himself to replace Matt LeBlanc as new Top Gear host


TV chef James Martin says he’s actually put money on himself becoming new the new Top Gear host once Matt LeBlanc leaves.

Martin, 46, told The Mail On Sunday’s Event magazine that he ‘may have’ placed a bet on him becoming the next Top Gear presenter, but admitted he has ‘no idea’ if he’ll even get the job.

The popular chef has been rumoured to be the show’s host for a while, so when Matt LeBlanc, 50, revealed he was leaving the programme after another series, speculation mounted over who would step in to take over.

‘I’ve yet to have a phone call. Trust me,’ he confirmed, when asked about whether the job was his. ‘I went past Paddy Power the other day and I’m 6/1 on.

‘I’ve got to put a bet on myself, to be honest,’ he admitted.

The former Saturday Kitchen presenter even quipped about the amount he’d put on: ‘In fact, I may have even put £100 on myself.

‘But I’ve got no idea about whether I’ll get it,’ he later confessed.

The star is known for his admiration of motors and is a car fanatic. He was hotly tipped to take over once Jeremy Clarkson was fired, and James May, and Richard Hammond subsequently left the show back in 2016.

From left : Top Gear alumni James May, Richard Hammond, and Jeremy Clarkson. (PA)
From left : Top Gear alumni James May, Richard Hammond, and Jeremy Clarkson. (PA)

Martin says that he’s even more experienced and potentially qualified than he was two years ago: ‘I’ve got several more strings to my bow than I had two years ago when it was last talked about.

‘I’ve got a bit more time. I sail. I’ve upgraded my pilot’s licence. I enjoy life more than I ever have before.

Yet he admits that there’s been no official confirmation of his involvement and remains coy about the topic of it: ‘Who knows what’s gonna come out of it? If it happens, it happens.

‘I’m 46 years old. I don’t need to send out CVs and go chasing stuff anymore. I’m more than happy doing what I do.’

Radio DJ Chris Evans, 52, took over from Clarkson and co. when the BBC were forced to search for a new batch of hosts. He lasted just one series but his former Friends co-host LeBlanc carried on and proved to be a surprise hit with audiences.

Chris Evans and The Stig during a photocall for Top Gear. (PA)
Chris Evans and The Stig during a photocall for Top Gear. (PA)

LeBlanc said he was leaving the car show earlier this year due to specific reasons to do with travel and time apart from loved ones. He revealed that ‘the time commitment and extensive travel required to present Top Gear takes me away from my family and friends more than I’m comfortable with.’

Jodie Kidd appears the bookies’ favourite for the gig, with Guy Martin a close second. Other names in the running include X Factor presenter Dermott O’Leary, Phil Glenister, and Suzi Perry.

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