Top Gear is about to go through it’s biggest change since it’s inception way back in 2002. Star of the show, Jeremy Clarkson has been sacked after ongoing verbal attacks, escalated to physically assaulting a producer. Without Clarkson many think the show is over, but producers at the BBC aren’t ready to shut up shop just yet. They say their focus is on 2016 and bringing back Top Gear and that will mean big changes.
Top Gear lands far more in the realm of entertainment than serious reviews of the latest vehicles. How many people buy a $300,000 Ferrari to drift it ? None, but it sure is entertaining to watch. What is impressive about the show is the personalities and bi-play between Clarkson, May and Hammond. With one of the stars gone, it’s likely we could be facing a completely new cast as Hammond and May joined the show back in 2002/2003 respectively.
Clarkson has decades of experience behind the wheel of thousands of vehicles but has personal biases that show through in his reviews. There’s been a distinct lack of focus on the transition to a more technology focused automotive industry and most of the innovation and hard work by engineers to improve driving gets ridden of as “computer controlled thingies”. Present anything electric like the Tesla Model S and Clarkson picks it apart with irrational expectations and the “review” comes of as a determination decided before ever sitting in the vehicle, simply because it lacks the cylinders and factory software controls to prevent him from getting the tyre-smoking money shot.
One of the best assets of the show is it’s ability to explain things in a story that’s entertaining to watch. Vehicle specs could be as boring as reading a OH&S manual, but they take audiences on a journey from what the car is, where it came from, who constructed it and why, as well as that car’s position relative to the competition. With some flashy vignettes and editing, the tight episodes now span more than 22 series.
Its certainly an end of an era, but we are overdue.
So with the groundwork set for a complete revamp, what do you want from a fresh TopGear? More serious reviews, or more insane challenges or an outright focus on who has the best technology? Who do you think would make great replacement hosts for the show?
All three Top Gear presenters were due to be at Sydney Motorsport Park, Eastern Creek for the TopGear Festival Sydney on the 18th-19th of April, but it’s a safe bet that’s not going to be happening now.
More information on the BBC statement is available at TopGear.