Top Gear on the skids: Chris Evans 'clashes with BBC chiefs
Presenter furious after producer and friend Lisa Clark left hit car show
Controversy surrounding popular car show Top Gear has revved up a gear after its new lead presenter Chris Evans clashed with BBC chiefs over the resignation of a key producer.
It is believed Evans was furious that Lisa Clark, who he had worked with on the Big Breakfast, had been allowed to leave.
Clark was brought to work on the show personally by the TV and radio star but the latest phase of their working relationship lasted only two weeks.
She first left the show in early December but was brought back when Evans confronted his employers about her departure.
However, Clark did not stay for long and left for good on December 22. She said in a statement she was moving to pursue new projects.
German motor racing driver and New Top Gear presenter Sabine Schmitz.
Losing the knowledgeable production team behind the show has also caused teething troubles.
A source told the Sunday Times earlier this month: 'They've brought in a production team that doesn't know anything about cars.
'Writers from Top Gear magazine have had to be called over to suggest ideas and offer advice on what cars to film.'
A BBC spokesperson said: 'We don't comment on staff matters and filming on Top Gear continues, as planned and on schedule.'
Top Gear is set to re-launch with a new line up on May 8 but as the clock ticks on it is still struggling to assemble a team to fill the boots of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.
Clarkson was sacked from the show after he punched a producer in a dispute over a steak dinner.
His co-presenter colleagues resigned as a result and the team have recently launched their rival motoring programme on Amazon Prime, the retailer's video on-demand service.
As well as the presenters, scriptwriter Tom Ford and executive producer, Andy Wilman also left their posts.
Corporation bosses had their reservations about Evans from the outset, with BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw saying in August she was 'terrified' at the thought of the presenter taking the lead.
The BBC chief, who is known for her direct approach, said she was 'so excited about the new series' but admitted 'you don't quite know what is going to happen next'.
Former Top Gear presenters James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond.
Evans will be joined by German racing driver Sabine Schmitz and motoring journalist Chris Harris when the programme launches.
BBC bosses originally tried to bring in ex Formula One driver David Coulthard but he chose to go to Channel 4 instead.
Questions have been raised over whether Schmitz and Harris are well-enough known to add to the show's appeal. Other changes for the series include the track being 'super-sized'.
The new track might prove to be too much for Evans, who is said to have crashed a luxury Jaguar when he took his first spin around the course at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey.
Evans, who also presents the breakfast show on BBC Radio 2, is also struggling with the amount of control he is being given over the show, sources claim.
An insider claimed to the Sun newspaper that Ms Shillinglaw has been reluctant to give Evans and his team the same free reign enjoyed by Clarkson, who failed to have his BBC contract renewed following his high-profile fracas.
The source claimed the BBC chief had a 'reputation as a meddler', adding 'the show has had to become a lot more PC following the Clarkson row.
'There is less leeway to do out-there stuff and Kim has become a bit of a nightmare.'
There has also been trouble for the programme's overworked host, with Evans announcing earlier this month that he was stepping down from TFI Friday in order to throw his efforts into Top Gear.
A source confirmed there were 'no plans' for the Channel 4 show to return for another season.
Evans has been pre-recording segments and admitted in a recent magazine column that he had worked for 26 hours in a row covering his BBC Radio 2 show, TFI Friday and Top Gear.