New Top Gear team to film in New Zealand

The new Top Gear will film in New Zealand, promises presenter Chris Evans.

The revamped international hit motoring show hits NZ screens next Sunday, a week after it debuts in Britain with its new presenting team headed by Evans and American sitcom star Matt LeBlanc.

They replace the Jeremy Clarkson, who was fired last year, and Richard Hammond and James May who departed in support.

Talking to TimeOut in London for a upcoming feature, Evans said a visit to New Zealand and Australia for a Top Gear tour of every continent is on the cards.

"If you're a car-loving nation, like I hear New Zealand is, watch out because we're coming to you.

"I've never been to New Zealand, or Australia, for that matter, but everyone I've talked to from there is so hyped-up about the show that we've just got to come and experience that energy.

"We've got to do the Southern Hemisphere, we will be coming."

The BBC show, which is the broadcaster's biggest international earner, filmed with Clarkson and May in New Zealand in 2013.

Evans told Britain's Daily Telegraph that the old team's "naughty schoolboy" slurs will be banished from the show, as he pledged that the programme would become "less blokey" and more "inclusive" under his stewardship.

The show's producers hope that Evans can reach out beyond the show's heavily male demographic, and bring back viewers put off by the laddish antics of Clarkson et al.

"All I can do is a show that reflects my personality, and I'm less blokey and blustery than he is," Evans says. describing the tone as "positive", "inclusive" and "cross-demographic". He adds: "All people want to do is giggle along."

Former Top Gear team Richard Hammond Jeremy Clarkson and James May (BBC)
Former Top Gear team Richard Hammond Jeremy Clarkson and James May (BBC)

It will certainly be more politically correct. Evans is clear there will be no repeat of the racial slurs that slipped into the show, such as the reference to an Asian man as a "slope" or Mexicans as "lazy, feckless and flatulent".

"I don't think they're jokes anyway," he says. "They're not funny. I loved their shows so much, and those little quips, they added nothing to the show, whatsoever. Had they not been there nobody would have gone, 'Oh I wish they'd done a joke like that tonight'. That's not why people watch Top Gear."

New Top Gear presenter Chris Evans (Supplied)
New Top Gear presenter Chris Evans (Supplied)

While Clarkson is a long-time friend, Evans says his relationship with the former host has changed since he took the Top Gear job, last June. The pair have not spoken, although "we've texted, and stuff".

"I think subconsciously we're just all keeping our distance until their first show's done and my first show's done," Evans says. "And then I think it will be alright again after that."

Top Gear starts on Prime Television on Sunday June 5 at 7.30pm

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