Matt LeBlanc to leave Top Gear

Matt LeBlanc is to leave Top Gear after the next series.

The Friends and Episodes star began presenting the BBC Two show alongside Chris Evans in 2016.

LeBlanc went on to front the show with Rory Reid and Chris Harris when Evans left after his first series.

LeBlanc said that despite Top Gear being “great fun”, the “time commitment and extensive travel… takes me away from my family and friends more than I’m comfortable with.”

He added: “It’s unfortunate, but for these reasons I will not be continuing my involvement with the show. I will forever be a Top Gear fan and I wish the team continued success. Thanks for a great drive.”

BBC Two controller Patrick Holland said: “I want to thank the fabulous Matt LeBlanc for being a brilliant co-host on Top Gear.”

“Matt has thrown himself into the show with real passion, revealing his extraordinary car knowledge and a willingness to get down and dirty. We were always going to be borrowing him from his day job as one of the top comic actors in Hollywood so I wish him all the very best.

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“The next series of Top Gear (Matt’s last) promises to be something very special and we have great plans to welcome a new co-host to join the team for 2019 and beyond.”

LeBlanc’s last series will be his fourth.

When Evans left the show after just one series, he described LeBlanc as the “captain”.

Critics and fans responded positively to LeBlanc’s first series without Evans.

The news comes following the fifth and final series of BBC Two’s Episodes, in which LeBlanc starred alongside Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan.

Attention will now turn to who could replace LeBlanc.

The last series of Top Gear was sold to more than 150 territories, so producers may be looking for someone with similar global appeal and star quality.

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