Actor Matt LeBlanc has announced that he will leave Top Gear after the next series.

The former Friends star, who joined the BBC motoring show in 2016, has cited the demands of the job, and time away from family and friends, as the reasons for him putting the brakes on his presenting career. 

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He said he had "thoroughly enjoyed" his stint behind the wheel.  

"However, the time commitment and extensive travel required to present Top Gear takes me away from my family and friends more than I'm comfortable with," the 50-year-old continued. 

"It's unfortunate, but for these reasons I will not be continuing my involvement with the show.

"I will forever be a Top Gear fan and I wish the team continued success. Thanks for a great drive."

LeBlanc's fourth and final series as host will air later this year. He joined the programme alongside Chris Evans - who left after one season - in early 2016. 

Matt LeBlanc and former co-presenter Chris Evans on location in Ireland

Patrick Holland, Controller for BBC Two, said: "I want to thank the fabulous Matt LeBlanc for being a brilliant co-host on Top Gear.

"Matt has thrown himself into the show with real passion, revealing his extraordinary car knowledge and a willingness to get down and dirty.

"We were always going to be borrowing him from his day job as one of the top comic actors in Hollywood, so I wish him all the very best."

Holland promised something "very special" for LeBlanc's swansong series.

"We have great plans to welcome a new co-host to join the team for 2019 and beyond," he added.