The Chris Evans car collection

Chris Evans has said he only found out he was being considered as Jeremy Clarkson’s replacement on Top Gear last week.

The star told the audience of his Radio 2 breakfast show that, on Wednesday, he had been working on the script for TFI Friday when he got a text message from Mark Linsey, the head of entertainment at the BBC, asking if he would be interested in a conversation about Top Gear.

Evans said: “Mark explained to me that the situation had changed. Richard and James had been considering returning to Top Gear, but had finally ruled themselves out of a return. Before that they were very much considering returning. The BBC had made an offer.

“As a fan, I wanted them to return. Honestly, as a betting man I thought that was going to happen. So whenever I said I categorically ruled myself out of running for office I wanted to rule myself out of being a pawn.”

The presenter admitted that, a few weeks ago, he’d gone on holiday with James May and the pair had discussed what was going to happen.

Before the news was announced yesterday evening, he sent a text to Clarkson, Hammond, May and ex-producer Andy Wilman.

James May phoned Evans back straight away to congratulate him on the job.

Evans added: “Jeremy text me back saying he knew they would [offer to me], and gave me a piece of advice that I’m not going to repeat on the radio.”

The star said that Top Gear was his favourite TV programme and his first meeting about it will be held today.