Top Gear Australia co-host Charlie Cox is, well, host no longer. Citing media and business commitments in the UK ? where Cox has spent a good chunk of his life and career ? the inaugural TGA presenter will step aside for the 2009 season.
Cox?s current co-hosts Steve Pizzati and Warren Brown will be joined next year for the show?s second season by famed musician James Morrison. You know, the trumpet-playing bloke with the eternally red face and puffed out cheeks.
?My time on Top Gear Australia was very special and it was a fantastic opportunity to be part of launching an extraordinary series. Sadly, though, I?ve lived in the UK for the past 19 years and I?m not able to give the time I want to Series Two. It seems best to leave the show and I wish James all the best in joining the two best blokes in Australian television -Warren Brown and Steve Pizzati,? Cox said.
Cox, along with Pizzati and Brown but markedly more so, has been the subject of much criticism online for his hosting style and attitude. Is it possible then that Cox was in fact asked to leave the show ? or perhaps even sacked ? in an attempt to quell viewer ire and bring in someone a little more palatable?
?SBS thanks Charlie Cox for helping to launch and bed down Top Gear Australia. I understand the decision Charlie has made and accept his UK commitments wouldn?t allow him to return in 2009.
We now look forward to seeing James Morrison on our screens when the series returns in 2009. James brings with him a deep love of cars, a huge personality and a strong sense of fun - a perfect complement to Warren and Steve,? SBS executive Matt Campbell said.
Morrison has appeared on the show once already, as a celebrity guest in a reasonably-priced car, and paid tribute to Cox?s efforts in the show?s first season.
?As a huge fan of the show, you couldn?t ask for better blokes to be working with than Warren and Steve - this is going to be FUN! I don?t want to sound like I?m blowing my own trumpet? but I think series two is going to be bigger and better than ever - I just hope some of the challenges include playing a chorus of the blues!?
Co-host Warren Brown welcomed Morrison to the cast.
?I?m as excited as anyone to be knocking around with James on the next series of Top Gear Australia. As everyone knows, he?s a red-hot hand behind the wheel, an unrepentant, unreconstructed and unabashed car enthusiast ? but more importantly he?s a bloke with whom it?s huge fun to be around. (Aside from that, he?s far more accomplished with a trumpet than I am with a five-string banjo as Steve Pizzati will testify).
?No doubt about it ? we?ll be missing Charlie, a top bloke who?s become a terrific mate, but I?d love to welcome James on board and can?t wait to work with him on Top Gear Australia II.?
While Pizzati lamented the likelihood that a musical instrument might worm its way into a challenge or two.
?It?s a shame that Charlie?s commitments overseas mean that he can?t complete the journey we all started together nearly a year ago. I?m looking forward to James joining Warren and myself, although, on top of everything else, it now means I?ll have to learn how to play a bloody musical instrument too! Perhaps the kazoo??