James May has given his seal of approval to the current Top Gear presenting team, saying it is “almost as good” as the original line-up.
The motoring enthusiast previously hosted the BBC Two show for more than a decade alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond until their departure in 2015, and the programme has since been hosted by several different presenters.
May, who now fronts The Grand Tour with Clarkson and Hammond, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he does watch Top Gear and he enjoys it.
He said: “Am I allowed to say that? I like car shows.”
Asked what he thinks of the current line-up – which consists of Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris – May said: “I think they’re at the point … they’re almost as good as us, it’s amazing.
“I know Chris Harris quite well anyway, I’ve known him for 30 years probably.
“So I like it, and I like watching car shows, I don’t see why it’s a problem to have two big car shows.”
Referring to Clarkson, who does not watch his former show, May quipped: “I don’t model myself on Jeremy.”
In an interview with the Radio Times earlier this year, Clarkson said he could not bring himself to watch the show under another presenting team.
He said: “It would be like going to visit your baby after it’s been adopted by someone else, and pressing your face up at the window.”
Clarkson was dropped from the flagship BBC show in 2015, over what bosses called an “unprovoked physical attack” on producer Oisin Tymon.
Hammond and May left with him, and in 2016 they launched their rival car programme, The Grand Tour, on Amazon Prime Video.
Top Gear rebooted after their departure with a new presenting team consisting of radio DJ Chris Evans, actor Matt LeBlanc and racing driver Harris.
Evans, who had been criticised for his presenting style by viewers, announced that he was quitting the show the day after his first series ended, saying his best shot was “not enough”.
LeBlanc went on to host the show as the lead presenter alongside Harris before he stepped down last year.
Take Me Out presenter McGuinness and former cricketer Flintoff were drafted in to replace the former Friends star in late 2018.