After being off the air for more than a year, Top Gear returned on Sunday with a revamped format and new line-up of presenters, but it wasn’t a hit among critics.

Although the BBC reports that the show was seen by an average of 4.4 million viewers, being the most watched program in its 8pm time slot attracting 22.8% of the audience (with Chris Evans boasting the numbers on Twitter), the critics weren’t too kind with it, particularly with the main host.

While Matt LeBlanc’s performance was deemed commendable, Chris Evans’ act was described by TV critic Kevin O’Sullivan as “a feeble Jeremy Clarkson impression”. Basically, the show wasn’t on par with the buildup, copying the old format instead of going in the new direction described by Evans. O’Sullivan went on saying it was “witless” and gave it two out of five stars.

The reactions on social media (#TopGear) were negative towards Evans as well, pinpointing things like his shouting, overzealous “enthusiasm” and interactions with the crowd.

The first episode featured Evans testing the Viper ACR at the Top Gun facility, LeBlanc and Evans racing two Reliant three-wheelers from London to Blackpool, and Matt LeBlanc testing the Ariel Nomad.


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