Matt LeBlanc has signed a two-series deal with the BBC to host Top Gear when the popular motoring programme returns in 2017.

The former Friends actor will be joined by Chris Harris and Rory Reid for the 24th series of the show, with regular appearances from Eddie Jordan, Sabine Schmitz and The Stig.

BBC Two's channel editor, Patrick Holland, said: "I am thrilled that Matt LeBlanc is returning to Top Gear. He's a huge talent whose love of cars is infectious. I can't wait for the series to return to BBC Two next year."

BBC Studios director Mark Linsey added: "Matt was hugely popular with Top Gear viewers last series with his humour, warmth and obvious passion for cars and for the show, so I couldn't be more delighted that he's agreed to come back and do more for us."

Former host Chris Evans denied rumours of a breakdown in his friendship with Matt LeBlanc. Credit: PA Wire

LeBlanc has previously said he would like to return to Top Gear following the departure of his former co-host Chris Evans.

Evans quit after one series, saying he gave it his best shot but it was "not enough".

The radio DJ dismissed reports of a fracture in his friendship with LeBlanc and said the actor should remain on the show.

"For me, (LeBlanc) is the man," Evans said. "He is the captain Top Gear truly needs going forward, the perfect torso for the rest of TG's limbs.

"Not only does he eat, sleep, breathe and dream engines, propshafts and trail-braking, but the overwhelming quality that struck me about him is that he's just such a pro."