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Matt LeBlanc hails Top Gear hosts' chemistry as show returns 'bigger and better'

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 14/02/2018 Tom Powell

Matt LeBlanc et al. standing on top of a mountain road © Provided by Evening Standard Limited Matt LeBlanc believes the chemistry between Top Gear's three hosts is stronger than ever as they return for a new "bigger and better" series.

The 25th series of the BBC’s immensely popular motoring show will be fronted by LeBlanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid, as well as mystery racing driver The Stig.

This will be the current line-up's third series together and the former Friends star says their relationship will help attract new viewers to the show, which restarts on February 25.

LeBlanc believes the chemistry between the three hosts will help get the show back on track (PA) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited LeBlanc believes the chemistry between the three hosts will help get the show back on track (PA) He said: "Every season we try to progress it. What we've done this time is broaden the appeal of the show. This year the films are bigger and have way more comedy.

"We've been thinking outside the box more, and the chemistry between the three of us has been getting stronger as we get to know each other better.

"It's enjoyable to watch people who are enjoying their job. No-one wants to watch someone who hates their job.

"It will always be a car show, but we're trying to broaden the demographic to make it appeal to a wider audience."

The show is returning for its 25th series (PA) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited The show is returning for its 25th series (PA)

Reid, who joined the show in 2016 following a public casting call, believes Top Gear is bigger than any one presenter.

He said: "Top Gear has been going for decades and decades. This is just an evolution of the brand.

"We're just the custodians of it, and I dare say in the future other presenters will carry the brand forward. I'll keep watching it through all its iterations. Top Gear is bigger than any one presenter."

The BBC motoring series was previously fronted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May (PA) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited The BBC motoring series was previously fronted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May (PA)

Harris, who made his name reviewing cars on YouTube before getting his big break on Top Gear, said: "Because we've had time to get to know each other. People often use the C word - and by that, I mean 'chemistry'.

"But you don't just sit in a room and instantly have chemistry - that's not possible. You have to get to know each other.

"You need to get to know where the other person's funny bone is and what annoys them. And that's what we've done."

Top Gear has an estimated worldwide audience of 350 million (PA) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited Top Gear has an estimated worldwide audience of 350 million (PA)

The BBC motoring series was previously fronted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, but the trio announced their departure in 2015.

Clarkson left after his contract was not renewed due to a "fracas" with a show producer and his co-hosts, Hammond and May, followed him in leaving Top Gear soon after.

a blurry image of a truck © Provided by Evening Standard Limited

Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans was brought in as a replacement following their exit, but he stepped down after one series following plummeting ratings and poor reviews, saying he gave it his best shot but it was "not enough".

Top Gear is one of the BBC's most popular programmes and has an estimated worldwide audience of 350 million, according to the BBC.

The new series of Top Gear will comprise six, hour-long episodes and will see the team take on the task of building the world's fastest tractor - and attempting to land a Nasa research plane in an American muscle car.

It was filmed in locations including Japan, USA, Portugal and Italy.

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