Chris Evans has defended the revamped ‘Top Gear’ after its debut episode failed to pull in the desired viewing figures on Sunday (May 29th). The show came under criticism from viewers and critics alike after its debut, but Evans has insisted the first episode was a ‘hit’ even if it didn't reach five million viewers like he had hoped.

Top GearChris Evans has defended the revamped ‘Top Gear’.

Taking to Twitter Evans said: ‘The new Top Gear is a hit. OFFICIALLY. 23 % audience share. 12% MORE than the opening episode of the last series. These are the FACTS. Top Gear audience grew throughout the hour. FACT. Won its slot. FACT. Still number one on i Player. FACT. These are THE FACTS folks.’

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‘Top Gear i Player views now at 1.1 million. Rock n roll ! Thank you. Team and channel totally thrilled,’ he added. Sunday night’s broadcast drew an average of just 4.4million viewers, according to The Mirror, making it the lowest-rated series launch for almost a decade.

Speaking before the show’s launch Evans has said he would be disappointed if the debut drew in under five million viewers. “I think we’ve produced the best show we can produce, that’s all we can do,” Evans said.

“If we had to guess about the number of viewers we are going to get on Sunday night, you have got to say you would be disappointed if it was under 5 million. Five million-plus would be great, after that it doesn’t matter.”

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The revamped show’s debut has also been defended by Alan Tyler, the BBC’s Acting Controller Entertainment Commissioning who told The Mirror: “Chris and Matt have successfully kicked off a whole new era in style and we are really looking forward to bringing our audiences even more thrills as the series continues.”