Top Gear is still driving in the slow lane and could face the axe as ratings continue to fall. Betway bookmakers have made predictions that the long-running BBC motoring series – where Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc have replaced Jeremy Clarkson and his pals in the driving seat – is slamming on the brakes.
Though Sunday night's (19 June) episode garnered some praise from Top Gear fans, with Eddie Jordan and LeBlanc's chemistry creating a few laughs, the show is failing to attract the same number of viewers as it did when Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May were steering the wheel.
Ratings have appeared to steady at 2.43 million on Sunday night while two football matches were on, compared to last week's 2.4 million, despite BBC1's re-run of Mrs Brown's Boys pulling in more viewers. Betway thinks things will only get worse according to The Mirror, quoting 5/4 for the BBC to cancel the next series, while they predict LeBlanc's chances of presenting season 24 are at 2/1 odds.
Top Gear still has a bit more fuel in its tank left yet, as the bookmaker offers 4/7 for the show to return with another series and Evans as host.
Meanwhile, Countryfile's Adam Henson has made a bid to cheer up ratings by making an appearance on the car-crazed show, hinting that some countryside endeavours could entice viewers into staying loyal to the BBC series.
He told the Press Association: "It would be lovely to take some celebrities... out of London... and take them on a tour of the countryside to show them what it's all about. I think we should get a load of tractors on Top Gear with Chris Evans – I'd love to do that."
Top Gear's 23rd series brought in an audience of 4.4 million in its first week, but the ratings have slowly plummeted to around the 2.4 million mark – while BBC1's Countryfile can attract up to 9m viewers.
Thrilled by trumping the motoring show's ratings, Henson, 50, continued: "It's absolutely delightful, yes, and producing it on a third of the budget. So I think it's great. I think that Countryfile is really going from strength to strength."