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TV viewers last night witnessed the final Top Gear featuring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

The 75-minute special was compiled from footage shot before Clarkson, May and Hammond left the show.

Read David Young’s review of the finale of Top Gear

May welcomed viewers by saying: “Hello, and welcome to what’s left of Top Gear.”
Behind him was the “elephant in the room,” a 10ft plastic replica elephant which the show’s makers borrowed from a Hull design company. It was called Jeremy.

Hammond and May hosted the show without the usual studio audience, and obviously without  Clarkson, who was sacked after a fracas with a producer which has led to the trio ending their time on the show.

The show  contained the usual ups and downs and during one challenge in which the trio were tasked with to race £250 SUVs each across fields to a manor house Clarkson got stuck in the mud and blasted: “I hate working on Top Gear.”

Apart from the actual ”elephant in the room” The BBC Two show made no reference to their departure of the team, nor the circumstances.

And Hammond and May looked incredibly glum as they said goodbye to Top Gear fans at the end of the  show.

As they gave their  a sad-looking Richard said: “We hope you enjoyed these films. Thank you for watching.”

Closing the show, May said: “Thank you very much for watching and, well, goodbye.” Hammond also said goodbye and the credits then rolled in silence.

After the episode ended, Clarkson tweeted: “Many many thanks for all your support and encouragement over the years. So sad and sorry it’s ended like this.”

Hammond tweeted: “Can’t believe that one life has room to accommodate the first and the last steps of that incredible adventure. Thanks for your company.”

Ironically, the special is predicted to become the highest-rated episode in Top Gear history, beating the audience of 8.35 million who tuned in to see Lewis Hamilton’s appearance in December 2007.