Bookies have seen James Martin take the lead in the stakes as the replacement for Chris Evans on BBC motoring series Top Gear.James Martin Saturday Kitchen BBC One

The former Saturday Kitchen host, and celebrity chef, has broken from the pack and is now the 3/1 outright favourite to be named as Chis Evans’ successor.

“James Martin is a very popular presenter and, coupled with his well known love of cars, Top Gear might just be a great fit,” – William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams

50-year-old Evans announced on Monday he was to depart the long running BBC Two series after hosting just six episodes. The Radio 2 breakfast personality announced on Twitter on the 4th of July that he would be stepping down as host of the beeb’s motoring series. Evans took over as one of its key presenters following Jeremy Clarkson’s sacking last year.

44-year-old James Martin quit the BBC’s live Saturday morning cooking show in February, reportedly over cost-cutting at the beeb. He had hosted Saturday Kitchen for a decade. His final edition aired in March.

Chris Evans joined Top Gear after Jeremy Clarkson’s contract with the BBC was terminated following a run-in with a producer. His co-stars James May and Richard Hammond then decided to quit. Evans’ appointment was announced by the BBC in June 2015 with former Friends actor Matt Le Blanc named as a co-host shortly afterwards. The press have frequently speculated that Evans and Le Blanc have not got along during filming. The new team also included Eddie Jordan, Sabine Schmitz, Chris Harris and Rory Reid.

Chris Evans - Top Gear BBC

Next Top Gear presenter:

3/1 James Martin; 6/1 Guy Martin; 8/1 Jenson Button; 8/1 Rebecca Jackson; 8/1 Philip Glenister; 10/1 Dermot O’Leary; 10/1 Jodie Kidd; 14/1 Steve Coogan; 14/1 Suzi Perry; 25/1 David Coulthard; 25/1 Eddie Irvine; 25/1 Jake Humphrey; 25/1 Jay Kay; 25/1 Jay Leno; 25/1 Jimmy Carr; 25/1 Johnny Vaughan; 25/1 Ken Block; 25/1 Paul di Resta; 33/1 Martin Brundle; 33/1 Rowan Atkinson; 50/1 Ant & Dec; 50/1 James Blunt; 50/1 Matthew Perry; 50/1 Nigel Mansell; 100/1 Nigel Farage

Update, Saturday 9th July:

William Hill Suspend Betting On Next Top Gear Host After Punter Requests £5000

William Hill have suspended betting on who will replace Chris Evans as host of Top Gear after a number of bets on Saturday for James Martin to get the gig. Offered at 1/2 on Saturday morning the price was backed in to 1/3 and one punter from Yorkshire requesting £5,000.

“James Martin was massively odds on and that wasn’t even putting off the punters, so we have decided to do the sensible thing and take the market down. It looks like a replacement for Evans has already been secured.” – William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.

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