Top Gear

July 31, 2007 by  
Filed under News

Top Gear presentersTop Gear is a long-running motoring programme from the BBC. Starting in 1977 as a regional programme for the English Midlands it grew to a national programme expanding from a half-hour slot to a full hour. After a period of decline it was cancelled in 2001. 

Then, in 2002, came new, improved Top Gear. One of the latter presenters, Jeremy Clarkson was brought back, with two new people, Jason Dawe and Richard Hammond. Hammond stuck but another former presenter, James May, replaced Dawe. This left the trio of Clarkson, Hammond and May, a partnership that remains to the current series. The show changed dramatically as well, with the three presenters in a car-show type studio and new sections, including ‘Star in a Reasonably-priced Car’, lap-times, ‘The Cool Wall’ and ‘News’. Early series of this ‘New’ Top Gear are currently being shown on UK TV Gold but still look current, except for the haircuts. 

The crux of the popularity of current Top Gear is the relationship triangle of the three presenters. Clarkson is the overgrown, schoolboy, attempted authority figure that stamps his authority and says “POWER” a lot; Hammond is the little, impish, enthusiastic schoolboy; and May is the dry, technology-obsessed geek with the schoolboy wit. Yes, they are a bunch of schoolboys and that camaraderie with the obvious friendships between them makes the series so enjoyable. 

Tonight’s episode included a test for all the caravan lovers/haters. Using the caravanners’ friend, an old Volvo estate, Hammond saw over how many caravans it could leap at fifty miles per hour, the speed limit for a Volvo towing a caravan. Surprisingly, it turned out to be two as the car smashed through caravans three, four and five to a soft landing. 

The star in the reasonably-priced car was Stephen Fry, who turned out to be a big car fan and lover of technology. His ambition was to beat fellow QI stalwart Allan Davies. The idea is to do a lap of a made-up racetrack in a Suzuki Liana, having been coached by the tame racing driver, named The Stig. Fry managed to match Davies’s time exactly. 

More seriously the presenters took a look at the BMW ‘M’ series, starting with the original M1, a sports saloon built for racing but out of time for its market. However, it spawned the classic M3 and M5 cars, which exist to this day. 

Always fun to watch it is interesting to see old Top Gears and see that even an old one is great television.


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  2. Giancarlo Squillino. says:

    i love watching this programe especial when you have tasks. AS my favourite car is the Bugatti Vayron i hope you test it more.But tell James hes a star for putting up with Hamster and Clarksons rubish! From Giancarlo Squillino age 10.