Richard Hammond and James May are to reject a £4 million from the BBC to return to Top Gear and will instead re-join Jeremy Clarkson for a new project at Netflix. A source claims the trio, along with executive producer Andy Wilman are "very close" to signing a big money deal with the streaming service.

Jeremy ClarksonJeremy Clarkson is close to agreeing a deal with Netflix for a new motoring show

The trio have actually been in talks with several outlets including ITV though Netflix is believed to be the preferred destination for a brand new show, according to the Daily Mirror.

The insider said: "Flattering though it is to be offered huge sums there'll be no going back. It wouldn't feel right and their heart wouldn't be in it.

"They've always said they come as a team and that hasn't changed.

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"They are all very excited at the prospect of having total editorial control over their new show, to make it and get it distributed.

"It would be groundbreaking and also incredible lucrative. They would stand to earn much, much more than they would with the BBC."

The BBC had hoped that Hammond, 45, and May, 52, would join new Top Gear presenter Chris Evans on the show, though that now appears to be a distant hope. Evans has already announced that there will be an open casting call for his co-presenters.

Top Gear remains the BBC's prized asset and set the Guinness World record as the most watched factual TV program in the world. The show also spawned numerous international spinoffs, a lucrative line of merchandising, a successful magazine and sell-out stadium tour.

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