With over 200 episodes since it first aired in 2002, Highest gear has become one of the most popular and entertaining British shows of all time. Motor enthusiasts loved the show for the details and news on the latest cars, while others simply enjoyed the comedic aspect and tasks the presenters end up going through in each episode.
While it is obviously the cars, challenges and incredible roads that are highlighted (which make the show what it is), the hosts themselves are what makes the show what it is. Highest gear the incredible sight it has become. Over the years, there have been 12 different people who have taken on that role over a period of time, but out of all of them, who was the greatest?
12 Jason Dawe (2002)
Lot of Highest gear fans might not even know who Jason Dawe is, and that’s no big surprise, as he’s been the weakest host the show has had (up to this point). Jason was actually part of the original lineup for the show. However, it was quickly replaced.
Jason wasn’t one to push the entertainment side as much as subsequent hosts would. Instead, he was a real host. His information has always been great, but the show has always been at its best in blending comedy with fact.
11 Chris Evans (2016)
Another host who didn’t last long on the show was radio DJ Chris Evans. He was brought in when Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May were fired, putting him in a difficult position. However, despite appearing on the show several times during the Clarkson, Hammond and May era, something went wrong with him in this leading position.
While it was clear that Evans had a great passion for cars and had a lot of information to provide, he had never quite suited the entertainment side well. He could provide as many facts as possible while driving, but when it came to capturing audiences in a story or making people laugh, he generally couldn’t.
10 Eddie Jordan (2016-2018)
Eddie Jordan was only used as a semi-regular presenter, so he didn’t have a big mark on the show like some of the other presenters. He is someone who already had a connection to the world of motorsport thanks to his work with Formula 1, and this meant that his knowledge was always a great addition to the show.
He had a larger-than-life personality, which is why it made sense that he would be involved in the mix, as the series needed some energy at that point. However, Eddie Jordan never felt like a natural fit in the series.
9 Rory Reid (2016-2019)
Rory Reid was another presenter who had a lot of energy to deliver the show and, quite often, was introduced as the young guest coming up against Chris Harris and Matt LeBlanc. Generally, he was seen as someone who could deliver a lot of comedy but wasn’t as factually wise as the others, even though he really wasn’t.
However, as time went on on the show, Rory ended up being pushed further out of frame. Often he has not been involved in the big challenges, and it is precisely here that the hosts manage to shine the most. However, Rory will eventually be fondly remembered by fans.
8 Matt LeBlanc (2016–2019)
There was a lot of excitement surrounding Matt LeBlanc’s membership Highest gear, simply because of who he is and what he had already achieved in his career at that point. With his acting background, Matt would always have been a natural talent for challenges.
However, inside the studio, it wasn’t as fun as some of the other guests in Highest gear the story and her alleged friction with Evans didn’t help that at first. However, his knowledge and passion for cars was unmatched and this allowed him to be a success in the role.
7 Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff (2019–)
Adding Andrew Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness in 2019 felt like the ultimate roll of the dice for Highest gear, but it’s one that really worked. The former cricketer has become a successful TV host in recent years, and the fact that he is so easily recognizable is what made him a great presenter for the show.
Flintoff has great chemistry with both McGuinness and Chris Harris, and the lines he delivers throughout the show make him one of the best presenters there has ever been. He says things honestly and openly, and this has proved to be a refreshing change.
6 Paddy McGuinness (2019-)
Paddy McGuinness has always been a born TV host, and this has been crystal clear ever since he joined the Highest gear launch. It brings a great deal of comedy to the show, which brought back the entertainment factor in the series that had been missing for some time.
Paddy throws himself into every situation and this offers an incredible level of entertainment for the spectators. However, it’s not just there for the pranks, as it also brings tons of knowledge, which makes it well-rounded.
5 James May (2002-2015)
James May was one of the most popular trio to have hosted the show, and that group will always be considered the best set of presenters. However, James felt the weakest of that trio, often being the butt of jokes for others, even though he was positioned that way.
He was nicknamed “Captain Slow” as he became known for not running as much as others and for taking things slow. James put a great sarcastic tone to the show, and always looked at things from a serious point of view, which worked well in balance with his co-hosts.
4 Chris Harris (2016-)
Chris Harris was a fantastic addition to the series and is a presenter who feels he would fit in perfectly with the main trio that everyone associates with. Highest gear. Chris has the perfect balance of entertainment and factual information, and in the current setup he is often the one providing a lot of information and analysis.
This is what makes him such a great host, because he’s not just there to tell the facts. He’ll also be involved in jokes, engage well with other guests, and unlike the original trio, jokes tend to be shared a lot more with this group, giving Chris a level playing field, which helps him feel just as important.
3 Sabine Schmitz (2016-2020)
Sabine Schmitz is the only woman to have hosted Highest gear, and she did a great job. While she wasn’t involved in the show as much as some of the other presenters, whenever she appeared, Sabine made a big impact.
He brought tons of energy to the series, not to mention the vast experience of his career as a professional racing driver, and he clearly loved being a part of the show. The one thing that was really holding them back from being one of the best guests was the fact that she couldn’t act that much. Sadly, Schmitz died of cancer in 2021. As a testament to what it meant to the series, Jeremy Clarkson would return to Highest gear for a tribute episode dedicated to her, which appears on the show for the first time since her widely publicized departure in 2015.
2 Jeremy Clarkson (2002-2015)
When people think of Highest gear, Jeremy Clarkson is typically the first person that comes to mind. He was fantastic in his role as lead host, being able to combine a great deal of comedy and a superb knowledge of cars to be the ideal presenter.
Although Clarkson wasn’t for everyone, as he could be quite loud and overbearing at times, for many, he absolutely made the show what it was. He would have had great conversations with both Hammond and May, and the excitement he brought to the role, particularly in the studio while speaking to the audience, has yet to truly be recreated by anyone else.
1 Richard Hammond (2002-2015)
As one of the original presenters, Richard Hammond was incredibly popular on the show, and he wasn’t as consistently controversial as Jeremy Clarkson. Hammond was always up for a laugh and a joke, and happily engaged in every challenge and strange creation of the show, despite the sometimes life-threatening dangers.
He was very knowledgeable about the cars he discussed on the show and fun in his delivery, happily going back and forth with Jeremy Clarkson and James May. His ability to bring tons of energy into every segment he was in, without being over the top, was something that made him a joy to watch and allowed Richard to be the best presenter ever.
NEXT: 10 car movies based on a true story to watch if you love the Ford V Ferrari
Squid Game: The first and last lines of each main character
About the author