New Top Gear Hosts & Why the BBC have got it wrong AGAIN!
I know, I know - I'm a cynic. The fact is, I really wanted Top Gear to work after 'Steakgate'. I even came to see the whole debacle as a positive thing. After all - it forced Clarkson, May and Hammond to buck up their ideas and refresh their brand. It also meant in theory we'd get not one great motoring show - but TWO! Or even three if you count 5th Gear.
Yes, I admit, I DID submit an embarrassingly bad clip for the audition thingie they did. My clip was utterly, utterly awful. But I had to throw my hat in the ring, and I'd probably do the same again. Even though the present Mrs. Stanley would strongly object and I know I'd have little chance of getting in - what with my long-running feud with the BBC. Sadly I've probably got more chance of going to the moon than ever getting to present Top Gear. I accept that, but I wish, WISH the BBC would learn from their mistakes!
Somebody over at the BBC needs to literally dig out the archives and go back to 2001. They need to watch the ENTIRE Clarkson Era Top Gear back to back. They need to see where it came from and how it got to where it went. The announcement of new presenters and shuffling Reid over to Extra Gear is a complete and utter failure to understand how Top Gear WORKS! I explain why in this video.
My thoughts on the new Top Gear presenters...
So what would I have done?
Would I have hired 'me'?
Unless I was being a masochistic git and subjecting myself to public humiliation - NO! I'd love to present a motoring show, but sadly, I suspect I'd be worse at presenting than Richard Hammond is at avoiding crashing.
I would have kept Reid in the main show. He was starting to build up chemistry with Harris, they were starting to bounce off each other and were developing an interesting relationship. Then I would have taken Chris to one side and asked him to do a screen test with a couple of his really good mates who are interested in cars. People who he's known for years and who he can bicker with and enjoy a bit of banter with. It wouldn't matter if they had zero screen experience. It wouldn't matter if they hadn't won the Ashes. They certainly wouldn't have to be a comedian. I'm not even sure it would be important that they were an expert on automotive engineering. They'd just have to be someone who already had a good relationship with Chris Harris and who the audience could warm to.
The BBC seem to think Top Gear is just a big celebrity love-in. But it isn't! Top Gear made Clarkson, May and Hammond Celebrities. When the reboot started in 2001 they WEREN'T celebrities! They became celebrities because the show was unpretentious and honest. What was their motto?
'We're ambitious, but rubbish!'
How can they fix this?
For a start, accept that they can't save Top Gear by throwing more money and more celebrity at it. It didn't work when Evans took over and it won't work now.
Dial it back a bit. Cut the budget! Don't increase it! Go for a more grass-roots, 'We're the underdog' tone. Keep Harris and Reid as front men and get someone who already has great chemistry with Harris for presenter 3.
Then, accept that it's going to be a long road back to the heady days of Clarkson, May and Hammond mania. Build the relationships, build the chemistry. Focus on the writing, write, and re-write until every episode is 100%.
They don't need to reinvent the wheel. They just need to remember how the wheel was made and repeat the exercise. At this point they've inherited a kit car; they don't really understand exactly how it functions. They keep trying to fix it by slapping more expensive parts on, when what they need to do is take it apart. See how it all works, then put it back together.
So, am I right?