Top Gear viewers ‘gutted’ new series is last with Matt LeBlanc at the wheel

By Julia Hunt, Press Association Entertainment Correspondent
The actor is leaving Top Gear after the current series.

Top Gear viewers said they were “gutted” Matt LeBlanc is leaving the motoring show as his final series got under way.

The former Friends star joined the BBC Two motoring programme in 2016 but announced last year that he was stepping down because of the demands of the role, and how much it keeps him away from his family and friends.

The 26th series of the programme, which started on Sunday, will be LeBlanc’s last. Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff will then take the wheel.

Fans of the programme have expressed their disappointment that the US star is leaving.

“Finally the new series of top gear has started gutted it’s gonna be matt leblanc’s last series he’s been great helped keep the show good to watch in recent years,” said one viewer on Twitter.

“#TopGear @bbctopgear is it too late to make one final plea to hold onto the brilliant @Matt_LeBlanc?” asked another.

One person said they would not be tuning in after LeBlanc’s departure.

“This will be my last #TopGear season,” said the viewer.

“Chris Evans was a huge mistake. @Matt_LeBlanc was an inspired choice. Paddy McGuiness & Freddy Flintoff will literally be car crash television. Won’t watch that. #ripTopGear.”

“#TopGear Matt is leaving and that’s a shame as they seem to have settled in together now !!!!!!!” said another.

One person said the actor “brought the harmless fun factor the series always needs”.

“Mattl Leblanc is class. Get him back please,” urged another.

The first episode of the new series saw LeBlanc and Chris Harris visit Norway to test drive Porsche and Ferrari estate cars, while Westworld star James Marsden visited the team in the studio.