11 Things You Didn't Know About Top Gear Presenters

As Top Gear enters a new era in 2016, take a look at these fascinating facts about presenters old and new.

  1. 1

    Destined to Drive

    If Matt LeBlanc seemed like an unlikely choice for Top Gear host, he's certainly got familial credentials. His father worked as a mechanic for much of his life.

  2. 2

    Hammond's Haircut was Named Best of 2007

    A 2007 list released by Brylcreem ranked Richard Hammond's barnet as the best haircut on television. In the same year, James May picked up the corresponding award for worst haircut on television.

  3. 3

    Clarkson Had an Inventive Ancestor

    Jeremy Clarkson's great-great-great grandfather was John Kilner, the inventor of the Kilner jar used to preserve fruit and other perishables.

  4. 4

    May Fired For a Prank

    James May was relieved of his journalistic duties with Autocar magazine after pulling a prank. Tasked with writing up the publications Road Test Yearbook, he spelt out a cheeky message with the first letter of each entry.

  5. 5

    The Clarkson Effect

    Denim jeans declined in popularity in the late 1990s, a trend linked to their popularity with middle-aged men — this is sometimes referred to as 'the Clarkson effect' in the industry.

  6. 6

    Captain Slow Goes Fast

    Despite being derided as a slow-coach by his co-presenters, James May has been able to reach top speed on occasion. In 2010, he reached a top speed of 259.11 mph in a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport edition.

  7. 7

    From Rovers to Robots

    We all remember the vigour with which Craig Charles presented Robot Wars — but not so many know that he was a late replacement. The first series of the show was actually hosted by none other than Jeremy Clarkson.

  8. 8

    Changing Tastes

    In 2006, Richard Hammond was injured in a widely publicized dragster crash during Top Gear filming. Afterward, the host noted that the biggest change following the accident was that he'd developed a taste for celery.

  9. 9

    Birthday Bride

    Chris Evans was famously married to Billie Evans, but has noted that she proposed to him as a present on his 35th birthday. The pair were wed in a £200 ceremony in Las Vegas.

  10. 10

    Market Man

    In the early 2000s, Chris Evans' company Ginger Productions put together a daytime show featuring Terry Wogan and Gaby Roslin, with Evans claiming that he'd set up a market stall if it wasn't successful. The programme was axed after a year, and he made good on that promise.

  11. 11

    Fastest Friend

    Matt LeBlanc will join the Top Gear team in 2016 — but he's no stranger to the show. In its eighteenth series, LeBlanc set the best time in the Kia Cee'd, beating former champ Rowan Atkinson by just 0.1 of a second.

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