New Top Gear line-up scores highest launch figures since 2016

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Chris Harris with Paddy McGuinness, left, and Freddie Flintoff (Ian West/PA)

Top Gear’s new presenting team has hit the ratings for six with the highest viewing figures for a launch episode since 2016.

Former cricketer Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness made their debut on BBC Two’s motoring show earlier this month, alongside returning presenter Chris Harris.

Their first episode on the show was watched by a TV audience 4.1 million, according to consolidated ratings from Barb.

This is the biggest audience for a launch episode since Chris Evans’s debut on the show in 2016, which pulled in 6.4 million, and makes it the most watched BBC Two title of the year so far, according to the channel.

The second episode of the series achieved overnight ratings of 2.8 million and a 14.1% share. These numbers are expected to grow when the ratings are consolidated.

Just 2.5 million saw the first episode of Top Gear’s previous series back in February 2019 – which was also the last series to be hosted by former Friends star Matt LeBlanc.

LeBlanc announced he was leaving because of the demands of the role and how much it kept him away from his family and friends.

Consolidated ratings include people who recorded the programme on TV and watched up to seven days later.

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