Top Gear UK Car show and how it has expanded to the USA.
A look behind the scenes of the UK show, what you didn’t know about the presenter team and who is STIG
What can you say about Top Gear that hasn’t been saying before? If you have not heard about the show and do not know what the show is about, just imagine three middle-aged men in a studio arguing about cars and which one has been engineered the best. That’s pretty much the premise of the show and little has changed since 2002. Thankfully, the premise works, and millions of us tune in to watch the incredibly well-shot, beautifully directed, and ridiculously funny hour-long episodes. The show basically revolves around test-driving new and exciting cars, and couples that with bickering between Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. It’s a simple recipe that works very, very well.
So much so, in fact, Top Gear and BBC claims around 350 million people tune in every week around the world. That is impressive, but not surprising; after all, anyone who has seen the troublesome threesome in action would agree they are a perfect match. Clarkson is often dubbed as the ‘God of motoring journalism’ thanks to his unique brand of humor, passion, and lack of political correctness, and he matches perfectly to the more PR-friendly Richard Hammond. The youngest one of the trio has been through a lot in his decade at Top Gear. He nearly died when his dragster decided to flip at over 300mph – an incident that managed to make the show even more popular when Hammond returned.
And then there’s James May – aka Captain Slow. The voice of reason for the show may not be the most exciting man on this side of a fruit-cake, but he is good at what he does. Without May, the show would be far too childish; he acts as something of a buffer from Clarkson and Hammond’s capers. It’s a great mix.
Out of all the episodes of the show, the Bugatti Veyron episode is a must-watch, purely because it involves one of the finest cars ever produced, and has so many classic Top Gear moments that will leave you smiling throughout. Another gem of a show is the Bolivia and Vietnam specials. These specials are some of the best episodes Top Gear has ever done, and include so many moments and adventures that you just have to see it to believe it. But what about behind the scenes, what is there to know about the presenters?
Well, James May is not only a motoring journalist but a qualified pilot, too. This was taken to the test in one episode when Hammond and May in a Cessna airplane raced Clarkson in a 1001hp Bugatti Veyron.
Hammond, on the other hand, is a big fan of Land Rovers and, despite his accent, is actually from Birmingham. According to Clarkson, Hammond has also whitened his teeth many times in an attempt to slow the aging process down. It’s all about banter on the show – it’s why viewers tune in every week.
Finally, we have Jeremy Clarkson. This man has been reviewing motor cars for decades and is one of the most respected men in motoring. Sure, his capers and outspoken views can be a little off-putting at times, but it’s what makes Clarkson such a watchable persona on the television. Without him, Top Gear just wouldn’t be Top Gear.
One person we must not forget is The Stig. After Ben Collins was unveiled as the last Stig, Top Gear had to get a new one in, but who is it? Many believe it is Anthony Davidson – the ex-Super Aguri F1 driver and current presenter for Sky Sports F1. But, in truth, only a few people know within the Top Gear team, and guessing would be purely speculative.
Thanks to the success of Top Gear in the UK, the US decided to create its own international version, so keep a lookout for the three US presenters Tanner Frost, Rutledge Wood, and Adam Ferrar they can be spotted on Top Gear USA on iTunes, Amazon and the Xbox!
Author: Thank you to Jenny Ann and the Telegraph Engineering Careers team for this article. From engineered fast cars, UK to the US, the Top Gear show makes you want to get involved!