Clarkson defined Top Gear, says Chris Harris
Current TG presenters Harris, Flintoff and McGuinness spoke about Clarkson during the promotional tour for the upcoming 29th season of Top Gear
Please allow me to start with a personal opinion. When it comes to Top Gear, I feel most people, including the BBC, overestimated the format while underestimating the value of the presenters that created and made the format.
Having people travelling around the globe while mucking about with cars is always sort of entertaining to watch but Top Gear of old became iconic because of the chemistry between Jeremy, James and Richard. With the best will and the best budget in the world, you can't recreate it and you can't fake it.
Clarkson, Hammond and May left Top Gear in 2015, we all know what happened, and a plethora of different presenters have tried to recapture that vibe with mixed results. Chris Harris seems to stand out from the crowd, not least because he is the only presenter to have appeared in each Top Gear season of the post-Clarkson era.
Jeremy Clarkson was recently named the 'screen's greatest automotive icon of all time' in April and he re-invented Top Gear in 2002 alongside former Top Gear producer and current TGT producer Andy Wilman. In an interview with Metro.co.uk, current presenters Chris Harris, Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness spoke about it at length and Harris said that Clarkson is "the man. He’s been doing it 30-40 years and he’s defined what this is all about. Fair play to him".
Harris, Flintoff and McGuinness say they're big fans of Jeremy, James and Richard even though they know that Clarkson said he'll never watch the show again. Harris added that "if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here because they worked their socks off to get Top Gear to where it is now".
In a different interview earlier this year, McGuinness said he'll never have a "bad word about them. I met Richard Hammond just after it got announced we got the show and he was really lovely; I’ve never met James and I’ve never met Jeremy".
I think Clarkson, Hammond and May changed the face of motoring journalism. They took a cool job that for some reason people ignored and considered boring and made it feel like something out of Hollywood. And they did it entirely with their personality, not because they were particularly easy on the eye or glittering, but again just because of the chemistry.