Original Stig thinks new 'Top Gear' never got out of first gear

Perry McCarthy said the first episode of the series was "awful" and damaged their forward progress

Original Stig thinks new 'Top Gear' never got out of first gear

Perry McCarthy - the original Top Gear Stig | Via: Anthony Devlin / PA Archive/Press Association Images

Chris Evans stepped down as co-host of Top Gear yesterday, after presenting just one season of the series.

Evans took to Twitter to announce his resignation, stating that he had given the programme his "best shot," but "sometimes that's not enough."

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Perry McCarthy - aka The Original Stig - thinks the series was doomed from the very first episode.

"I think the biggest mistake they made was the first show - the one where they needed to pull all the stops out and have it great. That was awful."

"The funny thing is," he added, "Since then the shows have got an awful lot better"

"But the one all the critics were waiting for - the one where they needed to deliver - that show was bad and that has been really damaging for their forward progress."

Chris Evan and Matt LeBlanc took over as hosts of the series in May, after the high profile exit of Jeremy Clarkson.

Perry McCarthy played the original 'Stig' before he was replaced in 2003 | Image: Wikipedia

McCarthy acknowledged that Evans was given a 'poison chalice' with his new role: "It was a very, very tough act to follow."

He originally thought that Evans might the best man to pull off the relaunch, but following the first episode he thought they got the balance all wrong.

"Chris is a very different animal to Jeremy, he's very animated," he said. "It was too 'gameshowy'."

"They need a balance between the correct amount of content, the correct amount of banter, and the correct amount of fun."

He also thought it "fell down on the writing and the substance of the script." He said the features were too long and the punchlines weren't there.

Previous hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May were all from motoring backgrounds, which he feels added to their credibility.

Some critics also accused Evans of trying to mimic Clarkson in the opening episodes, but McCarthy doesn't think that was the case. 

Matt LeBlanc appears to have been the real winner following the relaunch. It was also reported that he said he would quit if Evans didn't, due to failing ratings.

Top Gear presenters: Chris Harris, Rory Reid, Sabine Schmitz, Chris Evans, Eddie Jordan and The Stig | Image: Andrew Matthews / PA Wire/Press Association Images

McCarthy thinks that LeBlanc has been a "super edition" to the programme.

"He's great, I think he's really really good," he said. "He's been a super edition. He's laid back, he's charming, and he's a bit cheeky."

"He's definitely got the balance that Top Gear viewers are looking for," he added.

Perry McCarthy is a former formula one driver and played the part of the original Stig (the one in the black suit) on the series Top Gear.

In 2003, his identity was exposed by a Sunday newspaper and was subsequently "killed off" and replaced in season three.