Top Gear: Chris Evans to become new host

The TV presenter has signed a three-year deal to become the new host. Credit: PA

Chris Evans has signed a three-year deal to become the new host of Top Gear, the BBC has said.

In a statement announcing the move, Evans said he was "thrilled" to lead the new line-up, adding: "Top Gear is my favourite programme of all time."

“I promise I will do everything I possibly can to respect what has gone on before and take the show forward," he said.

Shortly after the news was announced, Evans tweeted in praise of outgoing hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

Filming of the new series is due to begin in the next few weeks, and it is currently unclear who will feature alongside Evans in the new team.

It comes after the broadcaster chose not to renew Clarkson's contract following a much-publicised "fracas" in which he punched producer Oisin Tymon.

Hammond and May were reportedly offered deals to stay with the hit show, but chose not to do so.

Evans had been consistently linked with the Top Gear role despite earlier emphatic denials.

Earlier this month he sparked speculation after telling Channel 4's Sunday Brunch that he was filming a "Top Gear sequence" with an independent production company."We're going to make one and see how it goes," he said.

In today's official announcement, Kim Shillinglaw, controller of BBC Two and BBC Four, said Evans was "the perfect choice to take our much-loved show into the future".