BBC's Top Gear relaunch struck a blow as executive producer departs

BBC Top Gear

Lisa Clark, who was personally brought in by Chris Evans, departs after less than five months with the show’s relaunch looming in May

Chris Evans’s Top Gear has been struck a blow with the departure of executive producer Lisa Clark less than five months after being brought in to lead the relaunch of the hit BBC motoring show.

Evans personally brought in Clark, who worked with him as a producer on The Big Breakfast, to help reinvent Top Gear following the departure of co-hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.

Her arrival was much hyped by Evans but only a few months in – and with just five months until the first show is due to air on 8 May – Clark has left the BBC to pursue “new projects”.

“We’d like to thank Lisa for all her incredible work over the last five months readying new Top Gear for its busy filming schedule in 2016 and planned return in May,” said the BBC in a statement.

A BBC spokeswoman added that the production schedule for the show is unaffected by the loss of Clark.

Alex Renton, who has been series editor on Top Gear for a decade, will take over the reins on an interim basis until a new appointment is announced in the new year.

Clark had been brought on board to replace Andy Wilman, who has joined old school friend Clarkson to make a rival motoring show for Amazon Prime.

She set up a production company called Pett in 2001 with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer.

“After an extremely busy five months I am moving on from Top Gear to new projects which I will be announcing in the new year,” said Clark. “I’d like to wish production all the very best with the show.”

At the time of her hiring, Evans said of Clark: “Lisa is as good as it gets when it comes to making big, important television shows.

“She’s funny, sassy, super experienced and has always absolutely loved cars.”

The appointment of a new executive producer for Top Gear will be made in the new year.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Mark Sweney, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 22nd December 2015 12.52 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010