Many motoring fans believe Clarkson, Hammond and May were the original hosts of Top Gear but now new research has revealed the show’s most forgotten presenters.
After the BBC named Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff as hosts for the next series of the flagship motoring programme car leasing giant LeaseCar.uk decided to research some of the lesser known presenters in the show’s 41-year history.
From former Countryfile host Julia Bradbury to television star Noel Edmonds, a wide range of television personalities have presented the popular motoring show.
Tim Alcock from LeaseCar.uk who sell thousands of vehicles each year, said: “Most motoring fans love Top Gear but many of them wrongly believe that Clarkson and his pals were the original line up.
“In fact Top Gear was around long before Jezza and his cronies got behind the wheel yet many fans of the show fail to appreciate its full history.
“So in the day’s following the Beeb’s announcement of the latest presenters we thought it would be fun to look back on some of the forgotten presenters in the show’s past.
“Being passionate about cars and watching Top Gear almost go hand in hand. Delving into the show’s past and uncovering its former presenter line-ups was fascinating.”
Here are some of Top Gear’s most forgotten presenters:
The host of the very first Top Gear series was former news reader Angela Rippon, who presented the show for two years from 1977 to 1979. In its infancy, Top Gear was a monthly series produced by BBC Midlands with each programme lasting 30 minutes.
Well-known for being a motorsport commentator on the BBC’s Grandstand, Gill moved to Top Gear for the second series joining Rippon in 1978. The show proved to be popular and moved to BBC Two, becoming a weekly 30-minute programme.
The Deal or No Deal star took over presenting duties from Rippon in 1980 for Top Gear’s third and fourth series. Edmond’s stand out moment during his time on the show came when he criticised the Fiat Strada, which led to the Italian manufacturer wanting to sue. This was Top Gear in 1980 BC (before Clarkson) meaning it was quite a scandal.
Before jumping ship to rival show Fifth Gear on Channel 5, Needell featured as a presenter on Top Gear for almost 15 years. Needell also had a successful racing career which saw him compete in two Formula 1 races in 1980 at Belgium and Monaco.
Similar to Needell, Wilson also moved to Fifth Gear following Top Gear’s brief cancellation in 2001. Most known for being motoring journalist, he worked on Top Gear for ten years.
Best known for being on Countryfile, Bradbury appeared as a presenter on the less environmentally conscious Top Gear during 1998 and 1999 when the shows bosses experimented with different line-ups.
While the name may not sound familiar, Collins played the role of one of the most recognisable figures on television. From 2003 to 2010, the former racing and stunt driver was the iconic man in the white suit, the Stig. Collins left the show in 2010 when he revealed his identity after releasing a tell all book about his time on Top Gear.
Well-known for presenting wildlife and science programmes, many wouldn’t expect the naturalist to have been a host on Top Gear. However, Humble did feature on the show during the late 90’ and early 2000’s where she presented 31 episodes.