New crisis for Top Gear as boss in charge of getting revamped version on screen quits BBC
The boss behind the reinvention of the new Top Gear series featuring Chris Evans has quit her role as controller of BBC Two and BBC Four, it was revealed today.
Kim Shillinglaw, 47, is leaving and her post will be closed, with Charlotte Moore - who was behind the commissioning of The Great British Bake Off - becoming the new controller of BBC TV and iPlayer.
There had been claims that married mother-of-two Miss Shillinglaw had been ‘meddling’ in the new series featuring Evans, after she had previously admitted she was 'terrified' at him taking the lead.
Her departure comes as the BBC insisted filming of the new series of the hit motoring show is going ahead as planned, despite reports suggesting that it may not be ready for its launch in May.
Miss Shillinglaw, who earns an annual salary of £227,800 at the corporation, said today: ‘I wish the BBC, Mark [Linsey] and Charlotte every success with the many changes BBC TV needs to make.
‘I’ve loved modernising BBC Two and Four over the last two years but when you don’t get the big job it’s time to move on. And I’m looking forward to another big challenge.’
As well as Miss Shillinglaw being tasked with the relaunch after Jeremy Clarkson left Top Gear, BBC Two also recently announced that Robot Wars would be returning after a 13-year absence.
And speaking at a Bafta event in April last year, she was quoted by the Guardian as saying that BBC Two needed ‘fresh ideas and renewal right across the landscape’ of the schedule.
Last August, Miss Shillinglaw said she was 'really excited' about the next series of the hit motoring show with Evans as host - which she added would be 'really different'
Speaking in front of an audience at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, the chief from West London also said that Clarkson's controversial departure from Top Gear was 'very, very sad'.
When asked about the new series with Evans at the helm, Miss Shillinglaw said she was 'so excited and of course terrified', adding: 'You don't quite know what's going to happen next.’
Changes for the next series include the track at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey being 'super-sized'.
Miss Shillinglaw also said that she will always be 'fond' of Clarkson and his former co-stars James May and Richard Hammond, adding: 'For me, I think it was a very sad episode in lots of ways.’
Clarkson’s job presenting the show ended last year after he punched show producer Oisin Tymon. Clarkson is currently filming a new motoring show for Amazon Prime alongside May and Hammond.
This week May accused the BBC of double standards after it aired a celebration of the years in which Clarkson fronted Top Gear only months after he was sacked. May said it was also unfair on Evans to air the two-part Christmas special.
He told Radio Times: ‘The BBC may have ruled me out, but I don’t rule out the BBC. I was surprised they showed lots of Top Gear compilations over Christmas. I thought, “Oh, so now they’re celebrating us,” but I also thought it’s harsh on Chris Evans.’
It was also claimed this week that the relaunch ‘has stalled’, but a BBC spokesman denied there were problems, insisting: ‘Filming on Top Gear continues as planned and on schedule.’
Pictures published last weekend appeared to show Evans looking unwell, wearing a white helmet and holding his glasses as he was bent over on the track, watched by the show's crew.
A report in The Sun claimed Evans felt ill after a fast drive in an Audi R8 V10 with his rumoured co-presenter Sabine Schmitz in California.
Last week, former F1 driver David Coulthard was confirmed as a presenter for Channel 4's F1 coverage, ending speculation he had been set to join the BBC Two presenting team with Evans.