The BBC last night aired the final episode of Top Gear featuring Jeremy Clarkson together with co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May, a 75-minute special compiled from footage shot before Clarkson was fired last March for his altercation with producer Oisin Tymon. And neither Hammond nor May will return to host future seasons of the show (last night’s episode was the finale for season 22), as both have decided not to renew their contracts.
Following the conclusion of the special episode, Clarkson took to Twitter where he thanked fans for their support and apologized that the trio’s run had ended liked this. Interestingly, there were no references to their departure or recent events. Closing the show, May said: "Thank you very much for watching and, well, goodbye." Hammond also said goodbye before the credits rolled in silence.
It wasn’t a completely somber affair, though. They made fun of the ‘elephant in the room’ by literally sitting an elephant, in this case a 10-foot plastic replica, in the studio. The elephant’s name was Jeremy. And there were two segments aired that were filmed prior to Clarkson being fired.
It’s thought that the episode will become the highest-rated in Top Gear history. The record to beat is 8.35 million viewers, made during a Lewis Hamilton appearance on the show back in December 2007.
The good news is that Top Gear will live on with new hosts led by British personality Chris Evans. Evans is currently working with the BBC to source other personalities for the new season. It’s expected to air after March 2016.
And better yet, Clarkson recently confirmed that he, together with Hammond and May, will be appearing in a new car-themed show. British broadcaster ITV as well as Amazon and Netflix are believed to be bidding for the show, with the Mirror reporting that ITV has won the battle. According to a source, the ITV show will run during the same Sunday night timeslot as Top Gear, and the pranks will be even more outlandish.
Top Gear has been around since 1977, though it never really became a worldwide phenomenon until it was rebooted in 2002 with Clarkson, Hammond and Jason Dawe. May replaced Dawe one season later. While we wait to see what lies next for Clarkson and co, here’s a Top Gear As We Know It tribute from YouTube user Jonas Froetschl.