Spending on Evans and co. moves up a gear, says sources

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Worried BBC bosses have reportedly taken the decision to spend an extra £200,000 on each new episode of Top Gear, amid fears that it will fail.

While the show cost £450,000 for each episode when it was presented by Jeremy Clarkson, that figure has grown substantially under Chris Evans – to £650,000 per episode, according to sources.

In light of the extra spending, reports are saying that the BBC has had to shrink the length of the series – shortening it from the usual run of ten episodes to just eight. However, this could be reduced even further to six, which is half the amount that viewers had come to expect from the original series.

BBC bosses are reported to be worried about Top Gear's comparison with Clarkson's new show, after the Clarkson and his co-presenters, Richard Hammond and James May signed a £164 million deal with Amazon Prime.

Much of the show's expenditure can be attributed to the wages of its seven presenters, with Evans raking in a reported £3 million over a two-and-a-half-year period.

The show has been plagued by problems, from executive producer Lisa Clark leaving to script editor Tom Ford following suit. Both left after rumours they were struggling to deal with Evans – who Miss Clark allegedly dubbed a "control freak".

However, in response to these claims, Mark Linsey, a senior executive of the BBC, told the Daily Mail: "It is rubbish to suggest Chris Evans' behaviour on the set of Top Gear has been in any way unprofessional.

"Chris and Matt are part of a wider production team that is full of brilliant and talented people. That team is tight."