Comedian criticises new Top Gear presenter Chris Evans following claims that his behaviour resulted in the departure of the show's producer
Bob Mortimer has described new Top Gear host Chris Evans as a “time bomb” waiting to explode.
The comedian, 56, tweeted a reference to a story involving Tony Hall, the BBC director general, and his comments about talent abusing their power at the broadcasting corporation. In his tweet, Mortimer used the hashtag #topgeartimebomb.
The tweet linked to an article on The Sun's website, and came in response to a story it ran about how Evans’s dictatorial style had caused Top Gear’s executive producer, Lisa Clark, to quit.
Ms Clark left the show after five months in the role, reportedly due to Evans’s behaviour on the job and concerns that filming risked falling behind schedule.
It is also reported by The Sun that Mortimer, who has worked with Ms Clark in the past along with comedy partner Vic Reeves, last month tweeted derogatory remarks about Evans, although the tweet has since been deleted.
Earlier this week, Mark Linsey, acting director of BBC Television, defended Top Gear host Evans, 49, describing him as a team player and a “passionate presenter”. He added that it was “simply not true” to say that Evans had been against the appointment of Friends star Matt LeBlanc as one of the show’s seven presenters.
In his statement, Mr Linsey said: "It is rubbish to suggest Chris Evans's behaviour on the set of Top Gear has been in any way unprofessional.
"Chris is a consummate professional and a real team-player. He is a passionate presenter who commits his heart and soul into everything he does - whether his Radio 2 show, Children In Need or Top Gear - and we are extremely fortunate to have him leading the show.
"Also, it is simply not true to suggest Chris did not support the signing of Matt LeBlanc, when he has been behind Matt joining the presenting team since day one.
"Chris and Matt are part of a wider production team that is full of brilliant and talented people. That team is tight-knit, in great spirits and utterly focused on delivering the best possible series for viewers."
The BBC issued a statement thanking Ms Clark for her "incredible work for the last five months readying new Top Gear for its busy filming schedule in 2016 and planned return in May".
She took the role previously held by Andy Wilman, who left the show after his old school friend Jeremy Clarkson was dropped following a fracas with another member of the production staff.
Oisin Tymon launched the action against Clarkson and the BBC after the former Top Gear presenter gave him a bloody lip in a bust-up last March.
It is understood that Clarkson and the BBC both contributed to a settlement of more than £100,000.
Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond have signed up to launch a rival show on Amazon's TV service.
The new series of Top Gear returns to BBC Two in May with presenters including German racing driver Sabine Schmitz and Formula One pundit Eddie Jordan.
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