Free Car Mag very generously gave it almost three episodes and we are not impressed.
Free Car Mag knows a bit about cars on telly and some of our number have been on it, produced it, scripted it and seen how difficult it is to produce compelling content. The golden rules are that it should be entertaining, and even if it isn’t, then it has to be informative.
The trouble with Top Gear is that the format is completely and utterly dependent on the presenters. Some things are not. You could put a couple of monkeys on The One Show and it really would not make any difference.
In the first episode the Reliant Robin thing has already been done. It was just a boring drive to Blackpool and the old Top Gear had driven there before anyway. Episode two was one of those overseas road trips, but with celebrities who were dull.
In the Free Car Mag office we were so bored all three of us voted to turn over and watch a football match. It wasn’t even a proper game, a mixture of celebs and ex professionals who puffed their way around Old Trafford for charity. The same thing happened tonight except we opted for football that meant something, the Euros. Top Gear is no longer destination telly and that’s a shame. Even Ken Block and Chris being sick didn’t stop us switching around the channels.
Top Gear became a global hit precisely because of Clarkson, Hammond and May. Maybe the BBC should have sold the name to Amazon for a Gazillion and started again with something a little different. Unfortunately it is a retread with Chris Evans who shouts all the blinking time. Matt Le Blanc is a nice fellow and delivers his lines well and seems to know his cars, but we don’t really care about either of them. Chris Harris is a new face and hints at a future, enthusiast based programme that could win viewers back. Right now though the show is a mess and does not have a heart.
Years ago I interviewed Eamonn Holmes and Dale Winton on separate occasions about cars. Both said they would love to present Top Gear. I presume they still would and probably they should. There’s a dream presenting team right there. At least it wouldn’t be boring.