(C) BBC Studios - Photographer: Jeff Spicer

The new series of Top Gear kicked off on the BBC with its new northern co-hosts Paddy McGuinness and Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff – and viewers were roundly impressed after the opening episode.

After the 8pm screening on Sunday night, fans rushed to praise the new presenter line-up – with Paddy and Andrew joining Chris Harris who remains with the long-running motoring show.

Bolton comedian Paddy and cricketing legend Andrew certainly brought the northern banter  – and it wasn’t long before co-host Chris made a joke about their accents.

Chris quipped at the start of the show: “I can’t understand what you two are saying. It’s just mangled northern vowels to be honest.”

But the trio’s chemistry was praised by viewers who said it was just what the BBC show needed after the presenter changes over recent years.

Top Gear
(C) BBC Studios – Photographer: Lee Brimble

Shaun Hinds tweeted: “Really watchable – Paddy bringing the Max and Paddy road trip feel. And the film making/cinematography is as good as ever,” while Ben Hartley said: “Top Gear is back alive, northern lads doing us proud.”

Sharon Smith added: “Who else thinks for the first time since Clarkson and friends, they’ve finally cracked it ???” And Evalin Jayne summed up the mood tweeting: “Northerners make everything better!”

The new series kicked off with the trio all given £4,000 to buy the nearest thing to the first ever car they bought. And then having to race it through a series of challenges across Ethiopia.

Paddy was able to snap up a MKII Ford Escort (which he bought from money saved at his first job at Morrison’s supermarket, he revealed).

Chris bought a retro red Mini, while Freddie left his pals gobsmacked when he turned up with a Porsche Boxster. He explained that he bought a £35k supercar aged 22 after his success at Lancashire County Cricket Club.

(C) BBC Studios – Photographer: Lee Brimble

The presenters had to end their challenge with a gruelling drive across the desert land of the Danakil Depression – and when they all made it safely through, how did it all end?

With the greatest Manc anthem ever made, that’s how – I am the Resurrection by the Stone Roses.

Roll on episode two!

Great Northern Warehouse Manchester

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