Matt LeBlanc shifts into high gear with Series 25 of Top Gear
Best remembered as Joey from the long running sitcom Friends, Matt LeBlanc joined Top Gear as co-host alongside presenter Chris Evans in 2016, marking the first time the popular British motoring programme has included a non-British host in its 40-year history.
LeBlanc returns as host alongside Chris Harris, and Rory Reid in Series 25, which premieres today, express from the UK exclusively on BBC Brit, on BBC Player (www.bbcplayer.com).
The presenters shift into high gear in the name of outrageous machinery and fast-paced adventures, and this series sees them conquering new frontiers in locations such as Japan, US, Portugal and Italy.
They try various stunts, from building the world's fastest tractor to attempting to land a Nasa research plane in America's ultimate muscle car.
How has Top Gear moved on since the last season?
MATT LEBLANC: Every season we try to progress it. This year, the episodes are bigger and have way more comedy. It will always be a car show, but we're trying to broaden the demographic to make it appeal to a wider audience.
Inevitably on Top Gear, you have to have a lot of exposition about the technology of cars. So someone who is not a petrol-head like myself won't care to watch that. But as with any form of good storytelling, if you can deliver a narrative in an engaging way, audiences will be drawn in. People often come up to me and say, "I don't care about cars, but I watch Top Gear. I find it really involving, and I also learn something about cars along the way."
In a nutshell, the car will always be the star, but we're trying to make an hour of entertainment that the whole family can watch.
What are some stunts you get up to this year?
We had a lot of fun with some tractors - the theme was that tractors are blocking up Britain. When you get stuck behind one, you can't go anywhere. So we're trying to speed up farming.
We also did the Burghley Horse Trials in SUVs. We did the jumps pulling horse trailers with papier mache horses inside. That was really fun. Our development team are great at coming up with these brilliant ideas.
Why do you think the show has had such longevity?
The relationship between the presenters is a key part of it. That works so well for us because we all share a passion for cars.
But Top Gear also lets you travel the world from the comfort of your own home. It allows you to ride along with this incredible machinery and some vehicles that are not very desirable, too.