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Friends star Matt LeBlanc hired as new Top Gear presenter
Matt LeBlanc, the American actor who rose to fame as Joey in Friends, has been announced as the new Top Gear presenter.
LeBlanc, 48, will join Chris Evans in the new presenting line-up, and becomes the first non-British host in the show's 39-year history.
A photograph issued by Evans as he made the announcement on Twitter also included The Stig, suggesting that element of Top Gear will remain firmly intact.
The revamped show is due back on BBC Two in May, after a much-publicised change in presenters as Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May departed for Amazon following a "fracas".
LeBlanc, who also stars in BBC comedy Episodes, is already familiar to Top Gear viewers, after appearing on the show twice as a guest.
He holds the record for the fastest celebrity in a reasonably priced car around theTop Gear track.
LeBlanc said of his appointment: "As a car nut and a massive fan of Top Gear, I'm honoured and excited to be a part of this iconic show's new chapter. What a thrill!"
The appointment of a famous face is likely to be a significant boost for the show's BBC Worldwide sales. The global popularity of the previous line-up brought in millions of pounds for the corporation.
Evans said of his new Top Gear sidekick: "Matt's a lifelong fellow petrolhead and I'm thrilled he's joining Top Gear.
"Acting out our craziest car notions on screen is a dream job and I know we'll both be debating some epic road trip ideas.
"We can't wait to share what we've been up to on screen later this year."
Alan Tyler, the BBC's acting controller for entertainment commissioning, said: "Matt is a class act and a brilliant signing for Top Gear. He is a self-confessed car fanatic with a passion for the programme. I'm really looking forward to watching Chris and Matt bring the all-new show to our audiences."
The BBC said the actor would join production immediately, and more cast members will be confirmed shortly.
Motoring journalist Chris Harris is widely expected to be the next name confirmed.