Entertainment & Arts

Top Gear audience drops by a third on second episode

Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans
Image caption Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans front the new series with four new co-presenters

The audience for the latest episode of Top Gear dropped by more than a third, compared with last week's series debut.

An average of 2.8 million viewers tuned in to the second show of the new series on Sunday evening - 1.6 million fewer than the first episode.

Viewing peaked at 3.3 million just before the BBC Two show ended, overnight figures show.

Presenter Chris Evans said viewing figures would be higher when on-demand services were taken into account.

He tweeted: "Overnight television viewing figures for Top Gear have never been less relevant. Obviously some newspapers prefer to live in the past.

"The way Top Gear is being viewed is repositioning the way television is consumed. Last week 9 million viewers. This week we shall see."

'Strongest launch'

The first episode of this series was watched by an average of 4.4 million when it was first broadcast - 23% of the TV viewing share.

However, when all forms of viewing are taken into account - including people who recorded the programme, watched the repeat or requested the show on a catch-up service such as iPlayer - the launch episode's audience totalled around 9 million.

Alan Tyler, acting controller of BBC Entertainment Commissioning, said: "We are delighted that this was the strongest launch episode of Top Gear since 2010."

Referring to the show's second episode, Tyler said: "Chris, Matt and the team once again brilliantly led BBC Two's biggest show of the day, by some margin.

"It secured a peak audience of 3.3m, and the show again remained the most requested programme on BBC iPlayer."

Image copyright Twitter

Overnight figures only account for viewers who watched the show as it was being broadcast, and do not include those watching on catch-up services.

The first two episodes of the last series of Top Gear, which was hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, were watched by 6.41 million and 6.56 million viewers respectively, according to overnight figures from the time.

Image copyright Twitter

Sunday evening's figures give the second episode of Top Gear a 14% share of all television viewing in its timeslot.

BBC One's Antiques Roadshow attracted more viewers than the motoring show - with 4.2 million people tuning in.

Soccer Aid on ITV also had a bigger audience, with an average 3.9 million viewers watching across the four-hour broadcast - including viewers watching on ITV+1.

Sunday evening's Top Gear featured guest appearances from Damian Lewis, Sharleen Spiteri, Seasick Steve and Tinie Tempah.

Image caption Eddie Jordan, Seasick Steve, Sharleen Spiteri and Damian Lewis appeared in the latest episode

This series is the first since the departure of Clarkson, Hammond and May following Clarkson's fracas with a producer.

They later signed up to present a new show, The Grand Tour, on Amazon Prime - which will premiere later this year.

Evans and Matt LeBlanc have taken over hosting duties for the latest series, together with co-presenters Sabine Schmitz and Eddie Jordan.

Rory Reid and Chris Harris also present a spin-off show, BBC Three's Extra Gear.

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