The final episode of Top Gear hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond was screened on Sunday, June 28.
The 75-minute special was compiled from footage shot before Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond left Top Gear.
The BBC Two show made no reference to their departure, nor the circumstances.
Closing the show, James May said: “Thank you very much for watching and, well, goodbye.”
Richard Hammond also said goodbye and the credits then rolled in silence.
After the episode ended, Jeremy Clarkson took to Twitter to say: “Many many thanks for all your support and encouragement over the years. So sad and sorry it’s ended like this.”
Richard Hammond also tweeted: “Can’t believe that one life has room to accommodate the first and the last steps of that incredible adventure. Thanks for your company.”
The show was a swansong for Jeremy Clarkson – whose contract was not renewed after he punched a producer – as well as James May and Richard Hammond, who both turned down the opportunity to return to the series.
The final show featured two separate films – in the second installment, Jeremy Clarkson is seen stranded in a river, declaring: “I hate working on Top Gear.”
At the beginning of the show James May welcomed viewers by saying: “Hello, and welcome to what’s left of Top Gear.”
The show format featured James May and Richard Hammond presenting in an empty studio, without Jeremy Clarkson or the usual live audience.
Also visible in the studio was the “elephant in the room”, a 10ft plastic replica elephant from a Hull design company which the show’s makers borrowed, called Jeremy.
The episode is predicted to become the highest-rated episode in Top Gear history, beating the audience of 8.35 million who tuned in to see Lewis Hamilton’s appearance in December 2007.
Jeremy Clarkson recorded a new voiceover for the show, although he was not paid. Richard Hammond and James May filmed new links, but without the traditional Top Gear studio audience.
Writing in the Sun, Jeremy Clarkson had said: “BBC Two is screening an edition of Top Gear cobbled together from two films that were made before I was fired.
Top Gear trailer for Jeremy Clarkson’s final appearance has been released by the BBC.
The episode will feature two films shot before Jeremy Clarkson was suspended from Top Gear and eventually sacked.
To Gear co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May return to the studio to present links from the studio, with Jeremy Clarkson noticeably absent.
No date has been given for transmission, and the broadcaster has yet to decide how Top Gear may return.
Top Gear was pulled from the schedules after Jeremy Clarkson’s suspension for attacking a producer earlier this year.
Footage shot for the three remaining episodes has now been compiled in to one extended program.
It contains two films which, in classic Top Gear style, feature cheap bangers, caravans and a race to the finish line for the three presenters to avoid a forfeit.
Earlier this week, rumors circulated that Chris Evans was being groomed to take over the Top Gear hotseat from Jeremy Clarkson, after the Radio 2 DJ revealed he was making a “Top Gear sequence”.
It later emerged that the film was part of Chris Evans one-off edition of TFI Friday, in which his friend Jeremy Clarkson will appear.
Chris Evans has ruled himself out of the Top Gear job on a number of occasions.
There has also been speculation that the show could return with a different guest host every week.
It was reported last week Richard Hammond and James May had been offered £1 million ($1.5 million) deals to stay with the BBC, although they themselves have seemed to distance themselves from returning.
Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have been appearing together in a series of live shows, which were originally meant to be under the Top Gear banner, but have since been rebranded Clarkson, Hammond and May Live and stripped of all BBC branding.
James May has said he will not return to Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson, who was dropped from the BBC on March 25.
The Top Gear co-host told the Guardian: “Me and Hammond with a surrogate Jeremy is a non-starter. It has to be the three of us.”
James May added that Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson would be a “tough call” and “a bit of a daft idea”.
Jeremy Clarkson, 55 was removed from Top Gear after fracas with producer Oisin Tymon.
“I don’t think you could carry on with two people and put someone in as the new Jeremy because they are not going to be the new Jeremy,” James May said.
“That would be short-sighted and I don’t think it would work. Virtually impossible.”
James May changed his Twitter account to say “former Top Gear presenter” on March 25, the day it was announced Jeremy Clarkson’s contract with BBC would not be renewed.
His contract, and that of his co-presenter Richard Hammond, expired last month.
It raises the possibility of an entirely new presenting line-up for Top Gear.
Channel controller Kim Shillinglaw has been given the job of finding a replacement for Jeremy Clarkson, with former X Factor host Dermot O’Lear and Jodie Kidd rumored to be in the running.
However, James May has said there “might be an opportunity for three of us to get back together on the BBC to do Top Gear or a car show of some sort”.
“The BBC haven’t completely closed the door on Jeremy’s return,” he told the Guardian.
“They’ve not banned him or fired him, only just not renewed his contract for the moment. It’s a subtle difference, but an important one.”
Earlier this week, Kim Shillinglaw also stressed there was no ban on Jeremy Clarkson returning to the BBC, despite director general Tony Hall’s decision to fire him last month, saying “a line has been crossed”.
Jeremy Clarkson will return to the BBC”, Kim Shillinglaw, the head of BBC 2 and BBC 4, has said.
Kim Shillinglaw, who has the task of finding Jeremy Clarkson’s replacement after he was dropped from Top Gear, said he had not been banned by the BBC.
“It’s serious and unfortunate what happened but there is no ban on Jeremy being on the BBC,” Kim Shillinglaw said.
“It’s a big deal what happened and Jeremy, as any human being would, needs some time.”
Jeremy Clarkson, 55, was removed from Top Gear on March 25 after assaulting producer Oisin Tymon.
Kim Shillinglaw said it was an “open book” on who might replace Jeremy Clarkson, following rumors it could be a woman.
She said: “We’ll definitely look at some women but it’s not a driving priority.”
Kim Shillinglaw also confirmed Jeremy Clarkson’s final Top Gear scenes would be screened later this year
“No way would I want the available material not to be seen by viewers,” she said.
However, there is not enough footage to piece together the three remaining episodes of Top Gear, which was pulled off air in the aftermath of the altercation with Oisin Tymon on March 4.
Sue Perkins, the host of BBC One’s The Great British Bake Off, was named the bookmakers’ favorite to replace Jeremy Clarkson two weeks ago.
She was the front-runner for the job, followed by Dermot O’Leary and Jodie Kidd.
The news prompted a barrage of abusive tweets for Sue Perkins, whose Twitter timeline was filled with “blokes wishing me dead”, including threats from someone who “suggested they’d like to see me burn to death”.
Sue Perkins later quit Twitter, leading Jeremy Clarkson’s co-presenter James May to suggest those who sent the abusive tweets should “do the world a much bigger favor by killing yourself”.
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