We asked our writers to share their thoughts on the new era for everyone’s favourite motoring show.
Top Gear is one of the most infectious shows ever to grace our screens, the ‘golden trio’ (Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May) making an otherwise motor-filled petrol-headed programme entertaining for people of all ages. It is due to these presenters, who bring their comic genius week after week, that the show has been so successful, it winning numerous National Television Awards, and ultimately making Sunday nights a little more bearable as Monday morning quickly approaches. But alas, sometimes being so successful can make the presenters a little hot headed, and punching your producer in the face is the only way to deal with such emotions. Thus with the sacking of Clarkson, Hammond and May followed in his footsteps and quit the show, Amazon Prime offering them a job presenting an as yet unnamed Top Gear-like programme.
The BBC aren’t finished with Top Gear, however, and have decided to replace the ‘golden trio’ with the ‘magnificent seven’, the new line-up including radio presenter Chris ‘I would never replace Jeremy Clarkson’ Evans and Friends star Matt LeBlanc, who is known to be a keen car-lover. Joining these two are motor journalist Chris Harris, TV presenter Rory Reid, Formula 1 commentator Eddie Jordan, and racing driver Sabine Schmitz, becoming the show’s first female presenter in 15 years. With the new series being tipped to move from BBC Two to a prime time BBC One slot, there are clearly high expectations, although it is likely that there will be changes to the format of the show, the focus being primarily on the cars. Will it be as successful as they’re hoping? We’ll soon find out.
Top Gear ceased to exist the moment Jeremy Clarkson decked that guy over a steak (or whatever the reason for fisticuffs was). You can’t get rid of everything that is quintessential to a show’s premise and still sell it as the same thing. Just because the BBC have maintained the rights to the title ‘Top Gear’ and still have a crash helmet-clad, jumpsuit-wearing guy (probably a randomer off the street) driving fast cars, doesn’t meant they have won this battle.
Chris Evans still thinks he’s as good as he thought he was in the nineties, in the heyday of TGIF and his radio career, and when Billie Piper still hung on his arm. He’s 20 years older now, a bit chubbier, and even less funny. Matt le Blanc is only funny when people give him the funny lines to say, and what does he have to do with cars? It is literally like the BBC have dipped into their pool of TV cast offs and hoped for the best, because hiring le Blanc makes no sense. No one wants to see Joey Tribbiani in his 50s driving a Ford Fiesta instead of his beloved Porsche-a. And the rest of them? I couldn’t name them to you or recall their faces even if you held a gun to my head.
That’s not to say I think Clarkson and co have ‘won’ either. Both parties are clinging onto something when it’s already dead. Who even has an Amazon Prime account?
Top Gear have just announced their new presenting line up, and it’s certainly a lot more comprehensive than the original. The SEVEN strong presenting team seems to be the BBC’s secret weapon against their former employees and their forthcoming Amazon Prime motoring show. The appointment of Matt LeBlanc certainly got the twittersphere talking. I personally don’t know how I feel about an American taking on a role in what has had such a strongly British feel to it for so long now. I can only suspect that the BBC wanted someone so well know to a global audience so that they can keep the good ship Top Gear going, after all it is a massive cash cow for them. I am however really excited, ecstatic that Sabine Schmitz is joining the show. Of course, some people accused the BBC of ticking boxes, and having a token women (god forbid) on the show. Yet I feel the complete opposite about her appointment. She genuinely knows her cars, she lives and breathes motorsport. She is a true petrolhead, and the person that I can see having the most promise. She’ll be a welcome accompaniment to the god-awful Chris Evans, who seems to be able to rub people up the wrong way wherever he goes. Hopefully Sabine will move to become a main presenter. I can’t really see all seven presenters lasting long, they’ll see how things go and hopefully cut down the line up when they inevitably realise that it’s just too much. If they don’t, I suppose they could all go on tour as a seven piece band, a-la S Club 7.