Jayne Dawson: Great battle of the egos is revving summer up a gear

Chris Evans.
Chris Evans.
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It’s early days yet, but I’d say this summer is turning out to be a right corker.

What do you mean it’s freezing? Away with you and your boring talk of cold fronts and chill factor and central heating being sneaked back on.

I’m not talking temperature, I’m talking Top Gear.

Alright. You’ve got me bang to rights. I’ve never watched it. Never seen the cartoonish capers of three middle-aged men and their mean machines.

But I'm prepared to argue that doesn’t matter.

Because I know that what is going to make this summer an absolute beaut is not the sun, 
but the aggro between two men who have egos big enough to blot out that sun all on their own, no cloud cover required. And Top Gear viewing is not required to enjoy it.

Chris Evans and Jeremy Clarkson have locked horns.

For about a second, they tried not to, they tried to be gracious and grown-up, all of that. But that dull behaviour didn’t last and now they are giving us exactly what we need. A silly tale to liven up a dull summer.

You know the back story: Jeremy got sacked for The Great Punching; Chris told the world he would never be the person to replace Jeremy, not in a million years; Chris accepted the job of replacing Jeremy; Jeremy said congratulations - but then added that actually the job had been offered back to him and he had turned it down; Chris said “in your dreams, mate”.

That’s roughly how it has gone so far.

Sometimes when two egos clash it’s not all that funny.

But this is a showbusiness clash of the egos, and we can all enjoy it to the max.

I hope it rumbles on for weeks and weeks. Why not? All our serious institutions will soon be taking a break - let’s have a laugh.

I’ve already chosen my team. I’m on Team Chris. I just like him better.

Early mornings are more fun with Chris Evans, I find. You could say he’s an egotistical idiot - some do - but he’s fun.

He has been especially fun in the last few days when his obvious joy at getting the gig has led him to reveal his ego in all its glory.

Normally, Chris makes sketchy attempts to remain humble. He talks about his past self as a bit of a plonker, he manfully tries to be a grown-up man.

But right now he is revelling in all the attention so much he has completely forgotten his new-found humility.

He is leaping about, soaking up every drop of publicity, talking about the search for his co-hosts, promising a female presence on this macho show.

It’s exactly what a British summer needs.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Clarkson is being his usual self. Grumpiness radiates from him. His cheeks are grumpy, his eyebrows are grumpy. His fists are clearly very grumpy.

I understand that a disgruntled, middle-aged man can be very funny and that Jeremy has a wit about him and a couldn’t-give-a-toss anarchy that can be appealing.

So they have circled each other for weeks, Jeremy looking doleful, Chris grinning and leaping about.

Finally, thankfully, they have cracked. Jeremy has raised the stakes by telling the world he would rather have cut his own head off than take that job back - and hinted at a rival motoring show.

It's game on.

To make this summer a proper one, choose your team. Or rather your tribe - because that is what these two represent.

The Evans tribe is all exuberant positivity. Although Jeremy Clarkson is only six years older than Chris Evans, at 55, the Clarkson tribe is much more middle-aged and miserable, all subversive and politically incorrect.

It doesn’t matter a bit who wins, but watching them slug it out will while away the cool days of a British summer very pleasantly, I think.

WATER TREAT: The river at Otley full of people in pedalos and rowing boats.

Neil Hudson: Hire boats return to Otley’s river for first time since 2001