View Full Version : Top Gear (again...)

30th Mar 2008, 23:04
Jay Leno in the Sunday Times. :D:D

I hope we don’t ruin Top Gear (http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/driving/features/article3638037.ece)

Like everyone in Britain I have long been a huge fan of the television show Top Gear, although we get it only sporadically here in America. You can find it on BBC America and occasionally it pops up at odd times on other cable channels. There have been rumours circulating that the show would eventually come to America. I hoped it would come with Jeremy Clarkson and the gang, but NBC seems to have bought the show and I got a call one day asking if I would be interested in being a part of it.

I do my show full time, and these programmes take a great amount of time to make, so right away I had my concerns about fitting it in. The general rule of television is that it takes an hour for every minute that you see on screen. My other fear is that the show will not be made by car people.

So someone calls me from the network and is clearly not a car person. He says: “You like cars, right?” I say yes. “Like, all kinds of cars?” Well, yes. I like all kinds of cars. Why? “Well, the network has bought the TV show . . . um . . . High Gear? Top Gear? Top Gear! Top Gear, yes. We know you like to build cars.”

I ask: what’s the plan for the show? “Well, like, one week you build a car that flies and the next week you make a car that goes under water.” So I said: you know you can’t build these things in a week.

In my mind I can just see Jeremy lambasting Americans for what they did to his show. So I think: I’ve got to run away from this as quickly as I can. So I tell him that, as much as I like the show, I try not to make my hobby my job.

I like the show just the way it is. Jeremy and the guys are extremely talented, so maybe it would be an idea to do an American show similar to Top Gear but not with the same name, because I think it would be impossible to recreate or live up to the standards of the British show.

Another problem for Top Gear in America is the biting humour and criticisms of the cars. My great fear in America is that, for instance, if Kia was our sponsor this week, we’d have to say the car was fantastic.

I said on The Tonight Show recently that the new Kia was available with a heated rear window, so if people needed to push it in winter they could keep their hands warm. Boy, the phones did not stop ringing. So imagine what Jeremy would have to put up with.

I don’t think you could be quite as freewheeling with your opinions as you can on the BBC, because sponsors pay for the programmes. Sponsors would be unlikely to embrace any criticism.

Americans don’t really see personalities like Jeremy on commercial television. They know that they have to be somewhat watered down. When Jeremy rips into some sponsor such as Ford or Chrysler, well, that’s the last time they sponsor that show. Then what you have is “the meeting” after the show, where they tell him to tone it down. That’s just not what they do at Top Gear.

Some British shows translate quite well here - The Office, for example. But with Top Gear I have such respect for the original show, I feel if they asked me to do it I would be a pale imitation of Jeremy.

It would have to be something completely different, coming from a different angle. But when you see something that’s sort of perfect as it is, it’s difficult. Are you outright stealing, trying to imitate? What are you doing? I would prefer to do a different show rather than try to copy something that works so well already.

Cars are my hobby. Television is my job. When you make your hobby your job it becomes a whole different thing. For me, my great release from any sort of pressure is to go to my garage.

I have a friend who was an attorney but always wanted to open a hot-dog stand. So he opened a hot-dog stand and it was doing okay. Then he opened one on the other side of town and that was doing okay but never really did well. Then he ran between the hot-dog stands and the law practice and he lost all three of them.

So I go to my garage and I shoot my web pieces (see www.jaylenosgarage.com) and we talk about the cars. I do it for free - there’s no money in it. We just passed 27m hits, so it’s quite popular, and that’s what I like to do. It’s great fun because it’s like sitting with a bunch of car friends. I don’t want it to be my job.

31st Mar 2008, 00:23
Now you know why NBC has the lowest ratings of all the major networks, well except for Jay Leno's "Tonight Show".

Buster Hyman
31st Mar 2008, 02:54
Well, Top Gear has been franchised in Oz already on SBS..."can't vait for that one":hmm:

31st Mar 2008, 10:12
NBC are jumping on the car building, tuning, pimping bandwaggon too late.

It's done to death by other networks like Discovery and people are getting fed up with it.

Bad move to buy the Top Gear brand and destroy it :ugh:

Good on Leno for avoiding it like the plague! :ok:

31st Mar 2008, 10:41
If NBC were to try to make an American Top Gear they would need to start where the original started 5-6 years ago.
They got 3 blokes together and slowly built up the friendship, respect and energy.

Get 3 average people who have a common interest and let them loose on interesting cars, forget the mad races and the silly projects, they will come later.

First you need to test the Astons, Jags, Alfa's etc. Add in the odd Lambo, Bowler Wildcat.

Then next season start doing a few more Supercar shootouts and so on.

Not untill you have a cohesive team who work off each other and that the viewers enjoy watching could you have them 'turning a VW into a helicopter' etc.

Being daft in cars is one thing but what Top Gear has achieved is to give the average Joe an idea of what it is like to thrash a £500,000 Swedish Hypercar around a track. They gave us a benchmark and we all now rate cars + or - that benchmark.

Top Gear can get away with anything now, but if they had launched a show with sailing across the channel in a truck or driving across namibia in a 2WD then it wouldn't have been anywhere near as successfull as it is now.

The Yanks will try to run before they can walk and will ruin their version which is a shame really cause I would have liked to have been able to tune into what they cook up and enjoy it.

Peter Fanelli
31st Mar 2008, 16:00
Can't see a US made version working AT ALL!

There'd be too many lawsuits.

1st Apr 2008, 00:00
Why would the top gear team go to America to make a TopGear??

With a VERYVERY few exceptions, they dont make real cars in America.
And OK, they do have plenty of Auto's over there, but most of the majors are virtually bankrupt.

Whichever way you look at it, cars and the USA do not a good story make...

27th Jul 2008, 21:07
Good bye Top Gear at the end of the season. Episode featured UK vs German (new?) show team of 3 equivalent.

You could see what way it was going when they arrived in 3 two-seater Spitfires. (and, yes, one of the races did feature a recliner and a bath towel...) :ok::ok:

27th Jul 2008, 21:20
The most titilating aspect of top gear which is no accident is the carfeful placing of good looking ladies immediately behind the idiots er.. presenters.

The weekly treat is not three overgrown schoolboys prancing about like tits, but the delectable selection of honeys in the background. I'd pay the licence fee just to watch the audience.

28th Jul 2008, 05:16
Its possibly been flogged to death?

Jetex Jim
28th Jul 2008, 05:33
Clarkson squeezed every last titter out of his well used library of kraut jokes.

Interesting to note that while the German crew brought just one guy with them, the brits had a big enough team to man the double decker car race, a little less of that other well known english cliche, overmanning, might have left Britain with a volume car manufacturer of its own.

28th Jul 2008, 07:20
And some people believe everything they're told on TV.

Maybe the rest of the Germans were tied up in the changing room with May while the Stig went racing? :hmm:

Effluent Man
28th Jul 2008, 09:18
I was a fan but feel the format has now been flogged to death.Every time I watch the current series the loudest noise is of barrels being scraped.

tony draper
28th Jul 2008, 09:44
Nonsense, Top Gear is what John Logie Baird invented television for,Clarkson is a god.:E

Effluent Man
28th Jul 2008, 10:06
Don't get me wrong.I rate Clarkson very highly,he's clever and witty (but somewhat of a liberal I suspect MrD) My criticism is of the show.I think JC could go on to rather better things than worn out German jokes..

28th Jul 2008, 10:07
I say ditch Captain Slow and replace him with Sabine Schmitz.

tony draper
28th Jul 2008, 10:13
Nah! would spoil the show allowing girlies in,the chaps would just fight over her and she would prolly want to talk about kittens frocks soft furnishings an stuff.
Leave that to those sissy boys on Fifth Gear

Al R
28th Jul 2008, 10:39
In terms of content, it peaked 4.. 5 years ago. Thats when it was most fertile, since then its been largely devoid of genuine creativity. What it needs is a complete change of direction. However, JC owns The Stig, so he wants to keep it going because he makes the money, the BBC has just sold it to Oz, so they'll want to get some iverseas wonga and its has long been threatening to take off in the US - Jay Leno wants little to do with it though. James May provides a calm balance, Hammond is just too general and JC these days, produces either brilliance or sheer crap. I their places, Jonny Smith would be worth a punt as would Sarah Jane Mee.

Last nights was very funny at times. Hammond's reaction at beating the Hun was brilliant for its enthusiasm and joyful childishness and as for the Spitfires.. well, a bit obvious perhaps but who didn't love it?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00cv2s3 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00cv2s3)

Spitfires at 36'40"

Hammond at 55'45"

28th Jul 2008, 10:39
I want to see the Reliant Robin Space Shuttle launch again. Haven't laughed so much in years. Wonderful. Bunch of nutters, and plain, unrestrained, honest talking. That's why people trust the show.

28th Jul 2008, 11:14
I want to see the Reliant Robin Space Shuttle launch again.

I often wondered if this was the inspiration for that stunt?

Car Vs Plane... On An Aircraft Carrier - Video (http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1103354/car_vs_plane_on_an_aircraft_carrier/)

Effluent Man
28th Jul 2008, 11:25
Have to disagree again with Drapes,(Is this becoming habit) Sabine is delectable and combines all the best features of both genders.A sneaking suspicion however that she might just like to sip from the furry cup.
Nevertheless she could drive me any day..not in the Max Mosley sense of course.

28th Jul 2008, 12:22
A sneaking suspicion however that she might just like to sip from the furry cup.

Nooooo, oh god nooooo!!!!

I thought last night was brilliant, what an end to the series. TG is not really about 'cars' as such anymore, it's more like an old fashion sitcom.

Anyone know when they'll be back?

28th Jul 2008, 12:41
Sabine was married, (check her Wiki profile) but I suppose that means nothing these days :ooh:

Lon More
28th Jul 2008, 15:50
She's also a helicopter pilot so must be used to having a shaking stick in her hand.

28th Jul 2008, 16:11
Did no one else think it was a bit weird a few weeks back when the gay one was wittering on about periods and panties? I think the ferret, or whatever, joined in as well. Just thought it was a bit creepy...

That Sabine bird though, a right sort and not a bad driver, either! If she wasn't a Kraut, I'd let her have a go, I really would... :sad:

28th Jul 2008, 16:12

Top Gear is regularly shown on the channel called "Dave". The reliant impersonating a lawn dart is repeated reasonably often.

Effluent Man
28th Jul 2008, 16:39
Fork,Think I'd fraternise with the enemy..just this once.

Beatriz Fontana
28th Jul 2008, 18:57
What a marvellous climax! All the stereotype boxes ticked in thick marker pen.

Girlies have presented Top Gear before... Vicki Butler-Henderson springs to mind. I don't know, I'd rather see three chaps making complete fools of themselves and hamming it up. And a bit of eye candy for the boys in the audience. I'm happy with Hammond, thank you!

Roll on next series.

28th Jul 2008, 22:19
Forkandles. Yep, have to agree with you there. Had forgotten all about it but did make for very slightly uncomfortable viewing.....:ooh:

28th Jul 2008, 22:32
That's why people trust the show.

But wait till they find out the 'Reliant Rialto space shuttle' was actually a balsa wood replica... :oh:

The original car is at Dunsfold, with a tarpaulin over it.

28th Jul 2008, 22:49
Isnt there a TG in Orstraya on the books?

28th Jul 2008, 23:27
Sabine on the Nürburgring followed by a Porsche 996 GT3 (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4663069452162988713)
Sabine is also a qualified helicopter pilot.

28th Jul 2008, 23:46
Here you go Rainboe.

YouTube - Top Gear: Hammond & May Reliant Robin Space Shuttle Test (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b4WzWFKQ20)

More than watchable, even in full screen mode.
It's a 10 min video, so takes a little while to load fully.

29th Jul 2008, 00:16
Shame they got the name of the car wrong, mock-up or not; it wasn't a Reliant Robin. :8

Good fun though.

29th Jul 2008, 00:55
It was probably totally intentional.

Whilst 99% of UK adults have proberbly heard of a Reliant Robin, I'm sure the fugure for a Reliant Rialto would be far less.

A lot of it would come down to Del and Rodders.

29th Jul 2008, 01:34
If the producers were to consider a lady Brit I wonder if Katherine Legge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katherine_Legge) would be on their shortlist?

Here she is racing in her champ car and doing a 'hamster' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMwg_a1yv2E). She somehow got away with it after the rear wing failed.

29th Jul 2008, 02:00
With no Clarkson Hammond or May it will be bollox

Neighbours in a Commodore...:hmm:

Latest News


After an Australia-wide call out, 4,000 DVD applications and months of interviews and screen tests, SBS and Freehand are pleased to announce the hosts for Top Gear Australia - Charlie Cox, Warren Brown, Steve Pizzati and of course, The Stig.

Charlie Cox was a broadcast journalist with a number of Sydney radio stations before moving to England to continue his career in radio and to race cars. After winning a number of British titles and surviving a spectacular crash, Charlie turned his talents to presenting and commentating motorsport on the BBC.

Charlie is known for his colourful commentary and currently commentates and presents the Moto GP for the BBC. He is also director of six media companies in the UK and Australia including DMG Radio.

Warren Brown is an award winning cartoonist and regular motoring columnist with The Daily Telegraph. The outgoing adventurer has a passion for history and motoring and combining his two passions he came up with the idea to retrace the 1907 raid from Peking to Paris in 100 year-old cars. Warren has his own small collection of historic cars which include two 1920s fire engines, a WWII jeep, a 1925 Bean motor car and an armoured vehicle. He plays the five string banjo and ukulele and dreams of being James Bond.

Steve Pizzati is the youngest member of the cast and calls himself a ‘gun for hire’. Steve is an advanced driving instructor and race driver for Porsche Australia and is part of the International Audi driver training team in Melbourne. He freelances as a motoring journalist and photography stunt driver, is a self confessed science geek and was on track to become a jet pilot but was knocked back in the final round due to poor eyesight. His love of fast machines continues.

And The Stig. About him, we’ll say no more. (Its David Gulpilil folks?)

Top Gear Australia is the first of a global roll out of the BBC Worldwide franchise. The three motoring larrikins and The Stig’s Aussie cousin will present Top Gear Australia on SBS in late 2008.

29th Jul 2008, 04:28
Over here in Downunderland, SBS are promoting the Aussie Top Gear with a Tv advert which is fantastic, but will never be shown in the UK!

Bloke driving through city in a flash sporty car pulls up at the traffic lights. Girly standing on the pavement takes one look at him in his car, puts on the sort of face your wife gives you when you're being sexist, and holds up her right hand. She then proceeds to wiggle her pinky finger, to imply the bloke is a little short in the trouser department.

Cut to a shot of the bloke sitting in the car as if viewed by the girly. Bloke brings his right hand up so she can see it, then uncurls his pinky to show it's actually about 8 inches long.

Girlies face drops, voiceover for new show, bloke seen adjusting rear view mirror with pinky.....

You won't get that on the BBC!


29th Jul 2008, 06:17
NBC will never be able to recreate a racy enough Top Gear even with the peacock network's best overdrive fitted. Any attempts to mimic the magic will run into a legal brick wall.

On to more important matters, did I just read someone claiming Mr. Jeremy Clarkson to be a liberal? I suppose next I'll be reading about James being a flaming conservative. :eek:

Effluent Man
29th Jul 2008, 09:55
What I actually said was that Draper might find him a bit liberal.But actually the man does have a bit of form in that department.He has apparently planted some sort of forest in Gloucestershire.The public persona isn't always the absolutely true one.I call Max Mosley for the prosecution case M'lud.

29th Jul 2008, 10:23
That oz ad mightn't make it to our TV screens, but it does make it here ....

YouTube - Top Gear - Australian Magazine Launch (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xRg97LEaSE)

..although it's for the magazine, rather than the programme