RAC Cars News

#WeLoveCars

The Faces Of Top Gear

By raccars Published

Image Source

After months of speculation, the BBC has announced that well known car fanatic, Chris Evans, will be taking Jeremy Clarkson's place as Top Gear presenter. Evans will be part of an all new team, as it has also been confirmed that Richard Hammond and James May will not be returning to their old jobs.

Top Gear was first broadcast in 1977 and has become essential viewing for car fans. In later years, Clarkson's strong and idiosyncratic personality saw him become synonymous with the programme but, in fact, a number of interesting faces have presented Top Gear over the last four decades.

1977-1979: Angela Rippon

Chris Evans has given a strong indication that he will be joined by a female co-presenter for the new look Top Gear, but it's far from the first time that female petrol heads have been represented on the show. In its original form, Top Gear was broadcast for 30 minutes, once a month and only available in the Midlands. Angela Rippon was a motoring correspondent at the time and became the first presenter of the show, which soon graduated to the network in 1978.

1979-1980: Noel Edmonds

Replacing Angela Rippon was Noel Edmonds, a well known motoring enthusiast who had gone on to create his own car manufacturing firm, fitting in a less than edifying episode with Mr Blobby along the way. If you've only seen Edmonds as benign and mild mannered, check out his Fiat Strada review from 1980 - it was so vicious that Fiat threatened the BBC with legal action.

1981-1991: William Woollard

Along with Sue Baker, Frank Page and Chris Goffey, former Tomorrow's World presenter, William Woollard, presided over what many consider to be the best years of Top Gear - a far tamer and more serious programme in those days.

1987-2001: Tiff Needell

Fresh from a career in Formula One, Tiff added some much needed burning rubber to the Top Gear format. Top Gear was cancelled in 2001, so Tiff moved on to Channel Five's Fifth Gear.

1991-2000: Quentin Willson

John Major-esque in appearance, Quentin left a respectable mark upon the Top Gear landscape in the Nineties, making a neat trio with Needell and Clarkson. He has recently been seen in the Classic Car Show with Jodie Kidd - the pollsters' favourite to become Chris Evans' sidekick at Top Gear.

1988-2000 and 2002-2015: Jeremy Clarkson

Arguably, Clarkson made Top Gear what it is today and is certainly its best known product. He began with a bouffant and a more restrained presenting style, but while his hair got smaller over the years, his personality got bigger.

Looking to Buy?
Search for cars