James May and Richard Hammond in BBC discussions

James May and Richard Hammond in BBC discussions

James May and Richard Hammond are in discussions about a "variety" of new shows with the BBC.

The two presenters are believed to have left 'Top Gear' following the sacking of their co-host Jeremy Clarkson - who was dropped after attacking producer Oisin Tymon in a catering row - and departure of executive producer Andy Wilman but station bosses insist they haven't left the network permanently.

BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw told Radio 4: "Conversations are ongoing with James and Richard about a variety of projects at the BBC and, while those conversations are ongoing, they have to remain private.

"This is a really creatively exciting moment. It's a good time to look at all aspects of the show."

James has previously suggested he and Richard would not be able to continue on 'Top Gear' without Jeremy.

May said: "Me and Hammond with a surrogate Jeremy is a non-starter, it just wouldn't work ... it has to be the three of us. I don't think you could carry on with two people and put someone in as the new Jeremy because they are not going to be the new Jeremy. That would be short sighted and I don't think it would work. Virtually impossible."

It has been claimed that both Disney and streaming service Netflix are keen to sign the trio up to work on a new motoring show.