The final episode of Top Gear to star Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May was watched by 5.3 million viewers.
The 75 minute special was cobbled together from two location films shot by the trio before Clarkson was dropped by the BBC for hitting a member of the show’s production team.
BBC bosses always promised fans would get to see the films which ahead of transmission they billed as a ‘special’ episode of the hit series.
However in the end the footage appeared in a lacklustre form, with editing less sharp than was normal for the series and Hammond and May forced to record linking material in an audience-free, partially dismantled studio.
“Welcome to what’s left of Top Gear,” said May as the episode opened.
Clarkson’s absence was alluded to by the presence of a model elephant behind the pair, but no on-screen mention was made of his behaviour or dismissal by the BBC.
The episode finished with an emotional goodbye from the two presenters.
As the silent credits rolled, Clarkson tweeted: “Many many thanks for all your support and encouragement over the years. So sad and sorry it’s ended like this.”
The trio are expected to announce a deal with Netflix or ITV in the coming weeks which will see them and former Top Gear Executive Producer Andy Wilman reunite to make a rival motoring show.