In news designed to make American readers briefly splutter, “Huh?” before quickly losing interest again once comprehension sets in, the BBC has announced that Chris Evans will be the new host of Top Gear, its highly rated driving show. The Evans in question, though, isn’t the Captain America star—despite the fact that it would be pretty great if the show transitioned from driving challenges into 24/7 motorcycle hurling action—but the longtime BBC presenter. Evans currently hosts a morning radio program, The Chris Evans Breakfast Show, on BBC’s Radio 2, and co-presents BBC One’s The One Show on Fridays.
Evans will be at the head of a new line-up for the long-running car show, taking over in the wake of host Jeremy Clarkson’s departure. The BBC decided not to renew Clarkson’s contract earlier this year, in the wake of an alleged physical altercation the presenter had with a producer on the show. The talk of a “new line-up” suggests that co-stars James May and Richard Hammond will be taking their rumored exits from the program, as well. (The trio have already performed a sort of farewell tour for their tenure, doing a live show in Belfast that Clarkson described as Top Gear in all but name—albeit “without any meddling” from the BBC, who could be real busybodies about telling Clarkson and company not to use racist terms, or hit the staff.)
Evans, a car enthusiast and personal friend of Clarkson’s, has been described as possessing “cheeky unpredictability” by a BBC executive, apparently in the mood to lay the Britishness on a little thick. Besides, presumably, sweeping chimneys and singing songs about all the pockets he’d like to pick, Evans showed off his unpredictable cheeks a few months ago, when he denied that he was even being considered for the Top Gear job. But he came clean in the wake of the BBC’s announcement, embracing the new role and using his first tweet as the show’s host to praise Clarkson, Hammond, and May. Hopefully, that’ll go some way toward assuaging the concerns of the more than a million people who signed a petition for the BBC to keep the old hosts on.