After 17 years of helping to make “Fifth Gear” one of the most entertaining and informative motoring shows on the planet, retired racer Tiff Needell has been let go.
In announcing its latest season last week, the British show, which airs on the television channel Quest, said Needell will no longer be part of the team but will feature online in the Youtube channel Lovecars.
Needell responded via Twitter stating that it was sad to be leaving but the move means he will be able to do a lot more online content.
Unfortunately someone @DiscoveryUK has decided @FifthGearTV will be a better show without me. Sad time for me as I was pivotal in the creation of the programme but if you do like to see me having fun in cars the good news is I’ll be doing a lot more on https://t.co/fnNbqE9804
— Tiff Needell (@tiff_tv) September 9, 2019
Enthusiasts around the world have watched Needell together with veteran co-hosts Vicki Butler-Henderson, Jason Plato and Johnny Smith for years for their fun antics, talented driving and handy factual info.
But Needell, who also hosted early seasons of “Top Gear” for 15 years, was always the star, although in recent seasons he was given less and less airtime, especially with last year’s reboot that saw three new hosts added. The new hosts included ex-Formula One driver Karun Chandhok, engineer Jimmy De Ville and snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
In a video posted to Lovecars on September 11, Needell discussed his departure from “Fifth Gear,” saying that he believed his age played a part in the decision. He also hinted that with Chandhok on the team, there’s probably too many racers. Fellow host Plato is also a racer and still competes in the British Touring Car Championship.
“They’ve replaced me with a younger man, who’s also a racing driver, quite famous,” Needell said, most likely referring to Chandhok. “Nobody has given me any reason at all. I’ve had no communication, I’ve just been told that they think it’ll be a better show without me.”
The new season of “Fifth Gear” airs October 3.