Top Gear vs The Grand Tour -

One car show to rule them all?

Now for years I've sent ideas in to Top Gear and The Grand Tour. Most of which were probably about as good an idea as showing Donald Trump how the nukes are launched... But some of them got used (Remember the Campervans out of old cars challenge? I suggested that![Probably along with 3 million others but hey!]). I most recently posted two ideas for The Grand Tour here!

Ben Collins vs The American :-

Slow vs Pro :-

I loved Clarkson and Wilman's Top Gear and have followed it since it's inception. I also enjoyed 5th Gear with Vicki Butler-Henderson and that Tif, something, ex-racing driver bloke.

Now when 'Steak-gate' happened, I was initially bitterly disappointed. My Sunday night ritual for at least SOME of the year, of cracking open a beer and watching an automotive variation of 'The Last Of the Summer Wine' seemed to be at an end. If I wanted to watch three old Yorkshire men fooling around and bickering, I'd have to subscribe to UK Gold or buy the box-set. Admittedly there would be less cars and more Nora Batty, but Top Gear was never really about the cars anyway. Yes, I suppose the closest thing to automotive action would be watching Compo being pushed down the high street in a bathtub on wheels, but again, it was never about cars. The fact is I'd probably find Hammond pushing Clarkson up the street in a bathtub more enjoyable than a half-hour film by James May on the history of the spanner.... Though having said that I'd probably find having experimental, anesthetic-free pile surgery more enjoyable than a half-hour film on the history of the spanner.

After the initial shock though, I realized Clarkson, May and Hammond was TOO big to just end like that. The idea of carrying on TG with a replacement for Clarkson was laughable - Can you imagine the A-Team without BA?. Too many people wanted more Clarkson, May and Hammond. I knew somebody would hire them to make a show. I'll be honest I thought it would be ITV or Netflix, but to be fair I've actually enjoyed having Amazon Prime. I've seen some great films for free as a consequence.

When Chris Evans was announced as taking over, I'll be honest my initial reaction was confusion. To me, Evans never seemed a great fit for the show and the first series proved me right. Having a tooth-filling, administered by a slightly incompetent dentist who doesn't give you quite enough novocaine is more enjoyable than Evans's Top Gear - At least it's exciting and holds your attention. (To be fair she only got it wrong on one occasion and it certainly made that visit memorable.)

One thing that did excite me was the whole Top Gear audition thing. I did apply, but probably only got laughed at (and not in a good way.). Who wouldn't want to get paid to drive expensive cars and crash cheap ones? Certainly any self-respecting petrol-head would! Rory Reid is a git. Not because he's bad at what he does, but because for someone inexperienced he's actually alarmingly good at it. He's warm and bubbly and that my friends is something I never was. I'm more the miserable, bickering old cynic. I'd be terrible on a car show, as I have complaints about more or less 97% of available cars on the market (Read about my car-shopping escapades - you'll see what I mean.)

I didn't enjoy Chris Evans's Top Gear. Partly because Chris Evans never seemed to stop shouting when he was in front of camera, partly because I thought the writing was lacking in every episode, partly because I thought it was trying too hard and partly because it meant watching that smug git Reid smiling and laughing while being paid to drive expensive cars - fast, for camera. (Yeah, yeah, sour grapes! Sue me!)

Evans is a good presenter, but he was never a good fit for Top Gear. Bruce Forsythe is a presenting legend but he wouldn't have been a good fit. Likewise, Clarkson is great at what he does, but I wouldn't hire him to present 'Strictly Come Dancing'.

I was REALLY excited about 'The Grand Tour'. I didn't know quite what to expect. I thought they'd try to keep the format recognizable and that they'd try to up the ante a bit.

Initially, I was pleased. Watching episode 1 was like pulling on a really old, comfy pair of slippers. The ones that are more or less falling apart, but are so familiar they are like a second skin.

It was predictable, it was familiar, it was like going to the pub with the same mates you used to go with ten years ago, but haven't seen since.

As the series progressed though, I began to feel increasingly uncomfortable with it. Parts of it were excellent. Parts of it were to me, not. What? Well, the swearing and sexual stuff being waved around was a bit annoying. Not because it bothered me personally but because it meant a few episodes in, I realized I couldn't risk watching the show with my 5 year old son and 9 year old daughter. Top Gear was a family show and The Grand Tour isn't. They both loved what they saw and my son was in stitches when Clarkson, May and Hammond 'pretended to be soldiers' however I can't let him watch it. I hate it, because he keeps mythering me and I have to tell him there are no more episodes. There's really no need for the adult rated elements of the show. It doesn't make it any funnier, if anything it just makes it a bit sad and a bit cringe-worthy - at least to me. (Sorry if you like it. Just my opinion. I'm being completely honest here.)

I might be alone in this, but I feel like GT did certain things just because they could, without a great deal of thought into whether they should.

This was a shame. Overall I really enjoyed the series, but I hated that I couldn't share the rest of the series with the kids and I ended up missing out on what was good, quality, family time.

I have to applaud Wilman, Clarkson, May and Hammond. They DO put a lot of thought into what they do. It's very carefully written, with great attention to detail. To produce a full series, that's enjoyable to watch after having been producing the same show essentially for over a decade is an incredible feat. I honestly think Evans underestimated the task he'd been presented with and I don't think he really understood Top Gear.

I've seen the preview for the post-Evans Top Gear. I've seen the trailer. It starts this Sunday I think, and I have to say despite finding watching the last series as pleasant as accidentally zipping up over my foreskin, I am looking forward to it.

Le Blanc seemed to be finding his feet as the series went on. Harris was always good to watch. And despite hating the smug, smiley, grinning git for getting a job I wanted, I really think Rory Reid is doing well so far. (Plus there's no sign of Eddie Jordan or Sabine Schmidt so far! [I like Sabine, but somehow she never seemed right as a presenter in Evans's Top Gear].)

Okay, post-Clarkson Top Gear series 2 may not be as funny as 'The Grand Tour', loyal Clarkson fans will probably slate it to death whatever it's like. (I really wanted to like Evans's Top Gear, I wanted it to succeed. I wanted 2 great car shows!) However, if it is a stalwart attempt, a decent shot, at making 'Top Gear' then I'll have two great (if slightly tired - they [Both the BBC and Clarkson] have been putting this out for over a decade) then I'll have my two great car shows I wanted and I might actually be able to share one with my car-mad, speed-demon son! (He keeps pestering me to buy a car that will do 200 mph! [It also has to be blue!)

Martyn Stanley

[ICT] Irreverent Car Talk


Ferrari or Pasta Quiz:- Https://

The Clarkson 'Excellent' Road Test Report (Over 45,000 views!)

The Clarkson 'Excellent' Brochure:-

The Problem with Owning a Ford Focus ST3:-

The Approaching Extinction of the Petrol Head:-

The Swinger's Car - The BMW (A Poem by Martyn Stanley): -

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Comments (16)

  • can we just have two car shows Morgan, why do we alway have to have Top Gear on top i sick to death of that show. Top Gear has a UK monopoly on Forza Motorsport, as well as merchanise that how big a brand it is.

    Clarkson knew this so when to Amercia, and put all his deal though the US were there is no monopoly as Top Gear has a cult following that all very smart so it that how much off an monopoly TG has in the UK.

    Top Gear should have been taken to ofcom, over it powerbase really in my view never spoken about because off short run with shows like driven and fifth gear they never stood a chance not enough support if Bezos back Jezza GT has a 10 year shelf life at least.

      4 years ago
  • A Ferrari 360 spyder and a Lamborghini Murcielago with the monolith The Chief in the background. We used these cars to film a small teaser for a TV show I created called First Rides, all about supercars driving the great roads of Canada.


      4 years ago
  • The Grand Tour! The best. End of discussion.

      4 years ago
  • top gear - at least it has cars on it just has no personality The Grand Tour - Scripted Americanised crap, did they even have any cars on it???

      4 years ago
    • Well, I actually have to say I enjoyed the latest Top Gear. I think GT and TG can improve. The thing that spoiled GT for me was the non-family friendly element.

        4 years ago
    • nobody worried about car review anymore, as that take a small portion off the show time up. GT is a hit show, Top Gear flop in the ratings with a 3.1 million overnight 1.6 million down from evans era no one cares about cars on tv car shows anymore.

        4 years ago
  • the main reason is the bad scheduling as well, May start with the European Football Championship now in March that bad planning for me so it is Top Gear is a Christmas to Easter show that it best slot.

      4 years ago
    • Can't have helped that's true. To be fair I thought whoever took over from Clarkson would be accepting a poisoned chalice. Now there's a series between the end and the start, maybe it'll fare better?

        4 years ago
    • Grand Tour got it first award nomination a TRIC, that Television radio industires club award for best over the top subscription show it up against Netflix heavyweights the Crown and House of cards winners announced march 14.

      good luck to...

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        4 years ago