There is no way of saving this show, writes a self-confessed petrol head.
By Dojj Singh @therealdojj
Let me get one thing straight before I'm accused of being "wrong", I’m old enough to have been watching William Woodard’s fantastically woollen jumpers and remember when Tony Mason (who’s on my friends list on Facebook) would report from rally stages like an excited schoolboy. As times changed the show got a makeover, before it slowly descended into retirement.
And then Clarkson did his thing and the new show was born, originally with Hamster (who’d done some car stuff on the channel that might have been the father of the one now called Dave) they were later joined by the one affectionately known as The Spaniel.
Scroll forward and past the cold meat sandwich saga and we were distraught that the three amigos may never grace our screens again. Until Amazon broke the news that it was going to do a motoring show, with our fearless trio of brave adventurers.
The bosses at Top Gear though had other plans and tried to salvage the sinking ship with the marmite boy. Which only served to sink the ship further as it now resembled a production worthy of winning a GCSE in film studies, mostly aimed at fulfilling the dreams of one person, at the cost of millions.
And then it was a case of sending Boaty McBoatface in to go and find the sunken remnants of the good ship Top Gear as The Grand Tour quite literally, blew it out of the water. Everything that was missing from the artificial construct of the BBC’s production was there in spades in the online version. The basic concept of 3 blokes who you could meet down the pub, living out everyone’s dreams once they’d won the lottery absolutely nailed what it was. That missing X Factor from the summer was never clearer, the best sort of present you wanted for Christmas, and at £59, opened up a whole host of other shows and bargains and delivery options and all sorts.
The news that everyone’s most annoying person on TV was departing was met, not with “Thank God, now they can go back to making proper Top Gear again”. Oh no, it was met with “But The Grand Tour is so good, why is Aunty continuing to waste our money?”
And now we can discuss what has actually gone wrong with the revamped remake. First up, the good bits (at least this will be a short list), the title sequence got a refresh.
And now the bad bits. Let’s start with the presenters, Matt is ok, but you can tell he is head and shoulders above everyone else in terms of acting ability, or even just standing in front of the camera. He’s a natural and outshines the entire combined crew. The one with no hair, had 12 views of Youtube, that annoying bloke who thinks he’s Martin Prince, you know, that annoying smart kid from The Simpsons. You are only watching to laugh when Nelson gives him a wedgie. And then there’s Rory, who was great in small doses, even though many thought he was there as a token face in a sea of faces we didn’t know, but has now transformed in a combination of Milhouse Van Houten and Ralph Wiggum. Or perhaps that small dog you loved as a puppy but then turned into a big woolly mammoth overnight. And last night there was a special guest appearance from the Lady of the Ring (quiet you naughty kids in the back) Sabine. Great driver, boring as ironing underwear.
Last night also saw me fast forwarding, at a full x30, the Star bit (but I did slow down for the “Lets put stuff into machines that normally have other stuff in them” segment, that was great, apart from them having removed the engine and gearbox from the car before inserting it into said machine) which was practically half the show. But let’s not forget the 35p special effects budget for the “Turn Left” skit. This also left us confused as to why they were comparing 2 cars that were totally different yet were being pitched at the same person.
Which has left us with THE BIGGEST COMPLAINT, and the proverbial Straw vs Camels Back rematch. A Golf, with 303 BHP (the most powerful engine available in the range) weighing a whopping 30kgs less than a standard Golf (in 2wd guise, not the 4wd version the most powerful engine comes from) overtaking cars with twice the power, in straight lines. Now, let’s not forget that Rory looks like he weighs about 70kgs more than the 30kgs that was removed from the car, plus he’s a passenger, so the power to weight ratio (for the likes of you who are called Chris Harris) is in fact WORSE than the standard car.
I’m a petrol head, have been for as long as I can remember, lots of my friends are petrol heads too, a fair few of them are in the performance tuning industry, so I come at this with the advantage of perhaps knowing what I‘m talking about, and I can already tell you that it would have been Cap’n Slow at the helm of the Golf, being blitzed by Ze Germans at his favourite place on the planet had this been Top Gear OE spec.
If I, a bloke who reads stuff and then writes stuff and posts stuff about kittens on Facebook and Game of Thrones on Twitter can see how the show could be improved, why can’t they?
The Fonz “Jumped the Shark”, but we still cared. Indiana Jones “Nuked the Fridge”, but we still pretend that there are only 3 movies. Top Gear just got “Channel Changed”...because I don’t care.
And all the way through writing this I’ve tried to think of a witty and positive method to end this review, I must inform you that there is no saving of this show, sorry.