The year is 2015, Jeremy Clarkson is in the news again, this time for lumping a producer. I've worked in broadcasting for 24 years so I understand the urge to punch producers. I've never followed through though, which is possibly why I don't have my own series on Amazon. JC's departure from Top Gear was swiftly followed by his two co-presenters. This left the BBC in a bit of a bind, they didn't want to let go of the global cash cow that is Top Gear but they didn't have any presenters. As a well known petrolhead and seasoned presenter they set their sights on, and eventually secured, Chris Evans.
Chris with a fan at the Supercar Event back in 2013 before all the Top Gear dramas kicked off. Photo: Fiona Easterby
Chris then put a shout out for people to send in audition tapes in the hope of attracting fresh, on screen, talent. It seems someone in the BBC's health and safety department got involved though, clearly terrified people would film themselves drifting in Tesco's car park, so guidelines for audition tapes stated there were to be; no cars, no stunts and no gimmicks. Yes really! Audition for a car show, famous for its cars, stunts and gimmicks, without featuring any cars, stunts or gimmicks! I was visiting the Top Gear track with some friends for our annual Supercar Event fundraiser. The ideal setting for Top Gear auditions you would think, but with those guidelines?
Strangely none of my mates got the job but could Top Gear's loss be the Grand Tour's gain again? Nilesh is known as the fastest dentist in Essex, he competes in the Caterham race series and is one half of Gumball Team 57. Nikkie is the fastest grandmother round the Nurburgring, Mark uses his Vipers spoiler as a tea tray and Bav, the other half of Team 57, set fire to his own car in the interest of showing off to car spotters in London. Now that's dedication for you! Surely these are the kind of people the Grand Tour needs, not highly trained racing drivers. What do you think?