Where are the Top Gear hosts now – cast feud, sad death and near-fatal accident

Top Gear has been on our TV screens since 1977 and almost exactly 44 years later the show has grown into a worldwide phenomenon.

Original hosts Angela Rippon and Tom Coyne got the show off to a successful start, but it was not until the iconic dream team of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond took over the reins that legendary motoring show really found its gears!

Top presenter Chris Evans, Friends actor Matt LeBlanc and even Noel Edmonds hosted the show, but its future is now safely in the hands of three new pretenders.

And Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris continue to give fans what they crave – stunning cars and daring stunts.

Daily Star is taking a look at some of the presenters who have contributed to the show’s long success.

Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff

The former England international cricket captain is now an established presenter.

Freddie, as he is more commonly known, shot to fame as the popular flamboyant all-rounder who helped his country achieve an iconic 2005 Ashes series win over arch-enemy Australia.

But the versatile sportsman turned his hand to broadcasting – and was soon a big hit.

The 42-year-old has since worked on a string of top TV shows including Sky One’s A League of Their Own, Aussie I’m a Celebrity….Get Me Out of Here! and ITV’s Cannonball.

Paddy McGuinness

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The comedian shot to same alongside best pal Peter Kay in the hit show Phoenix Nights.

Due to the huge success of the Channel 4 comedy the pair launched a successful spin-off show called Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere, following the two bouncers on their escapades around the country.

Paddy, 47, also hosts the popular game show Take Me Out and just embarked on a broadcasting gig for new BBC One panel show I Can See Your Voice.

He has also worked closely with Comic Relief for the last couple of years and was one of the co-presenters on this year’s charity show.

Chris Harris

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Chris made regular appearances on Top Gear before finally landing one of three main presenting roles in 2017.

A automotive journalist by trade, 46-year-old Chris worked as a reviewer for a whole host of moto publications including Autocar, Evo and Jalopnik.

His nickname is ‘Monkey’, a reference to an unseen character on the BBC hit comedy Only Fools and Horses.

In 2014 Chris launched his own YouTube channel Chris Harris on Cars which attracted an impressive 461k subscribers and attracted a staggering 45million views.

Jeremy Clarkson

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Motormouth Jeremy hosted the show for the first time in 1988 – but by the time he finished in 2015, Top Gear was a worldwide success.

He quickly established as a household name alongside fellow presenters – and good mates – Richard Hammond and James May.

And since leaving the 61-year-old presenter helped establish The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime’s streaming service.

Jezza, as he is often known, also presents ITV’s Who Wants to Be A Millionaire and has recently started hosting his own talk show, aptly named Clarkson.

Jeremy, who started out life as a local journalist, now writes opinionated columns for The Sunday Times and The Sun.

He has also hosted a string of other TV shows including Robot Wars and Jeremy Clarkson’s Extreme Machines.

James May

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The 58-year-old Bristolian was a key ingredient in the fun chemistry created in the trio containing himself, Clarkson and Hammond.

He and his mates, as well as TV producer Andy Wilman, formed their own company W. Chump and Sons in 2015 after leaving Top Gear – and they’ve produced The Grand Tour ever since.

James is arguably the most reserved of the three petrol head presenters, but he’s just as respected for his TV work.

He wrote a column for the Daily Telegraph for eight years and started on Top Gear in 2003.

James has since starred in an array of TV programmes under his name including Oz and James Drink to Britain, James May’s Top Toys, James May’s Toy Stories and, most recently, James May: Oh Cook!”

Richard Hammond

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Affectionately known as the Hamster, Richard joined Top Gear just a year before James.

The terrific trio launched the successful media website called DriveTribe in 2016 and, like his co-stars, has found success on Amazon with The Grand Tour.

Richard, 51, famously nearly died after being involved in a horrific accident piloting a jet-powered Vampire dragster car.

He was travelling at an incredible 319mph at the time of the crash, with it rumoured he had been trying to break the British land speed record.

Thankfully Richard from the horror-smash and continued to be a successful presenter, working on shows including Brainiac: Science Abuse, Total Wipeout and Planet Earth Live.

Matt LeBlanc

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The Friends star hosted the show between 2016-2019 alongside Rory Reid, a respected motoring journalist-turned presenter, and Eddie Jordan, the former Irish motorsport boss turned presenter.

Matt, 53, shot to fame as the legendary character Joey Tribbiani for over two decades as the sitcom gripped the world.

He later went on to win a Golden Globe Award playing himself in the hit Showtime and BBC show Episodes.

Matt has won a string of acting awards during a distinguished career and been nominated on countless occasions for highly-regarded honours including the Primetime Emmy Awards and Golden Globes.

Chris Evans

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Petrol head Chris, who famously owns a fleet of vintage and luxury cars, signed a three-year deal to host Top Gear.

However, the instantly recognisable ginger-haired presenter left after just one series with fellow co-host Matt reportedly threatening to quit unless Chris was sacked for inappropriate behaviour on set.

A source said to The Sun back in 2016: "The big question now is who goes and who stays.

"The team does not gel at all and the atmosphere between the presenters is decidedly frosty. It’s very much a picture of him – Chris – and them.

"Matt has already indicated that he won’t continue on any further series if Chris remains part of it, and he is far from the only one who isn’t happy."

Chris, who shot to fame on the The Big Breakfast and who found huge success with his show TFI Friday, famously sold his Ginger Media Group to the Scottish Media Group for £225million.

The now 55-year-old was said to have trousered a stunning £35.5milllion for the deal, making him the highest-paid entertainer in the business back in 2000.

Chris has since presented The One Show, his successful own-named Breakfast Show, and has been presenter with Virgin Radio UK since 2018.

He's also well known for his tumultuous love life, including a custody battle over his daughter with Alison Ward, which they settled out of court.

The star also divorced Loose Women presenter Carol McGiffin in 1998 after seven of years of marriage before tying the knot with actress Billie Piper in 2001 in a Las Vegas wedding.

Chris and Billie divorced in 2007, and he is now happily married to Natasha Shishmanian.

Angela Rippon

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Veteran broadcaster Angela, now 76, used to be a newsreader on the BBC’s Nine O’Clock News.

Commendably, she was the first female journalist to ever present the national news.

Angela went to present the first two series of Top Gear and also presented the hit show Come Dancing, which spawned the current phenomena Strictly Come Dancing run by the corporation.

She had also worked on consumer show Rip Off Britain, Holiday Hit Squad and Amazing Greys during a long and respected career.

Tom Coyne

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Stalwart presenter Tom sadly died in 2015 aged 84 – but without him Top Gear might not have even been possible.

He and Angela were the original hosts of the hit show which first aired in April 1977 at Pebble Mill studios in Edgbaston.

Tom made the show his own with the help of show creator Derek Smith, who died a year earlier aged 87.

Tom and Angela would often be found in the driver’s seats and, so many years later, they’d both be forgiven for not realising just how successful the show would become once it got elevated from a regional to national TV network.

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