clarkson coogan
Steve Coogan (L) is now favourite to replace Jeremy Clarkson Getty

Actor Steve Coogan has become the new bookies' favourite to replace Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear after Chris Evans ruled himself out.

There has been much speculation over the Clarkson's – and Top Gear's –future after the 54-year-old was suspended by the BBC for allegedly punching a producer during a "fracas" about catering.

Bookmakers Paddy Power previously declared BBC Radio 2 presenter Evans as the odds-on favourite at 1/2 to replace Clarkson, but the 48-year-old has now "categorically" ruled himself out.

Fellow car enthusiasts Johnny Vaughn and Dermont O'Leary have also been given good odds to replace the veteran presenter, should he fail to return from his suspension.

Further down the list, Piers Morgan has been given odds of 10/1 to replace his famous nemesis after he threw his hat into the ring with a slight tongue in cheek.

Elsewhere, Betfair have also said racing driver and presenter Vicki Butler Henderson could also be the ideal fit at 6/1 if producers are "looking to breathe new life into the show".

Clarkson, who was given a "final warning" by the BBC last year for using racist language, is said to be considering his options.

It has been reported his relationship with the show's producers is so low he may quit Top Gear even if offered a chance to return.

A source told the Radio Times: "Can I see him going back to film another BBC series? I don't think so. But he'll be fine. The other broadcasters will bite his arm off."

An online petition, set up by political blog Guido Fawkes, urging the BBC to reinstate Clarkson has since gained more than 400,000 signatures in under 18 hours.