The first episode of the newly revamped Top Gear drew some criticism from viewers, and now Chris Evans has jumped to the show's defence, saying it "is a hit".

Taking to Twitter, the new host said he's happy with how the first episode went, writing: "The new Top Gear is a hit. OFFICIALLY. 23% audience share. 12% MORE than the opening episode of the last series. These are the FACTS.

"Top Gear audience grew throughout the hour. FACT. Won its slot. FACT. Still number one on i Player. FACT. These are THE FACTS folks."

His final tweet said: "Top Gear series 1 episode 23, catch it again tonight 7pm BBC2. That's when it's on. FACT."

Fellow new presenter Matt LeBlanc, who escaped much of the criticism on social media, has not yet commented on the online reaction.

The debut instalment of the revamped show kicked off on Sunday (May 29), and featured some big stars including celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and actor Jesse Eisenberg who raced a Mini Cooper around the track.

The show failed to reach the viewing figures of the last series, it drew 4.4 million viewers with a peak of 4.7 million, while the last series bowed out with 5.8 million viewers, however it was still the most-watched programme in the 8pm time slot, beating Antiques Roadshow on BBC One and The British Soap Awards on ITV.

Former Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May will be back with a new Amazon Prime motoring show called The Grand Tour this autumn.