TOP Gear will return to the BBC this weekend in all its engine-revving glory.
Ahead of the new episodes, presenters Chris Harris, Freddie Flintoff, and Paddy McGuinness reflected on the show's original line-up, admitting they couldn't escape comparisons to them.
However, rather than taking a swipe at co-creators Jeremy Clarkson and Andy Wilman, the gang paid homage to them for paving the way for them to front the motoring hit today.
"He’s the man," Chris said to Metro.co.uk of Jeremy Clarkson.
"He’s been doing it 30-40 years and he’s defined what this [Top Gear] is all about – fair play to him."
Meanwhile Paddy encouraged Clarkson to focus his attention on quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
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"He needs to do more Millionaire, he does a good job of that. He’s taking over," he quipped.
The lads have been mindful of not running down their predecessors – something that Paddy admitted was very much deliberate.
The kind words come even though Clarkson has made it clear he refuses to watch the show since his exit.
"Speaking for myself, personally, I get asked a lot about how I feel about those three [Jeremy, Richard Hammond and James May] but if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here because they worked their socks off to get Top Gear to where it is now," he explained back in January.
"I’ll never have a bad word about them really. I met Richard Hammond just after it got announced we got the show and he was really lovely; I’ve never met James and I’ve never met Jeremy."
The comments come after Paddy told The Sun that life in lockdown left him "looking like Gazza."
He claimed the time at home saw him pile on a few pounds and bleach his usually-dark hair out of boredom.
“I put on about a stone and a half and bleached my hair — I looked like Gazza in the Nineties," he joked.
“Everyone else in the country put weight on so I thought, ‘You’ve got to be honest and talk about things’. There’s no good putting on a girdle.
“I bought a webbing belt, and there’s a bit of stretch in them. They’re fantastic.”
The new series of Top Gear starts at 8pm on October 4 on BBC1.
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