New series of 'Top Gear' announces air date

Ben Arnold
Matt LeBlanc back for last series of Top Gear (Credit: BBC)

The new series of Top Gear will air later this month, it’s been confirmed.

Season 26 of the veteran motoring show is scheduled to air on February 17 on BBC2, the broadcaster said via Twitter.

It will be the last series to feature host and former Friends star Matt LeBlanc, alongside fellow hosts Chris Harris and Rory Reid.

Coming in to replace him will be England cricket legend Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff and former Phoenix Nights star and Take Me Out host Paddy McGuinness.

Flintoff and McGuinness were confirmed to take over on the show in October last year.

McGuinness said: “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 added: “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.”

Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris will host Top Gear (Credit: David Parry/PA)

LeBlanc took on presenting duties alongside Chris Evans in the wake Jeremy Clarkson – currently presenting rival show The Grand Tour on Amazon – being fired from the show following an altercation with a producer.

The Friends star said that the show keeps him away from his home in the US for too long.

McGuinness and Flintoff will start filming their first series soon, to be broadcast later this year.

Patrick Holland, the controller of BBC Two, added: “This is a thrilling manoeuvre from the Top Gear team and I’m relishing what this trio will deliver. Both Paddy and Freddie love their cars but, more than that, they’ll bring a new energy and competitive spirit to Top Gear.”

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