The names of new Top Gear hosts have officially been released. Will the fresh faces and format be enough to save the show?
Since the departure of Clarkson, Hammond and May the rumour mill has been a turning in regard to the future of the long running series Top Gear. Though the trio will find themselves reunited in the currently un-named and unscheduled Amazon Prime series the original BBC2 series is set to race ahead without them.
Over the past few weeks the casting announcements have been made, from BBC radio 2 DJ Chris Evans (Not the Chris Evans we wanted but the one we needed?) to former Friends star Matt Le-Blanc. The newly formatted series holds great potential with both national and international viewers. The promotability of Matt Le-Blanc heightening the international appeal. Alan Taylor, the acting controller of the BBC entertaining commissioning said this of Le-Blanc “He is a self-confessed car fanatic with a passion for the programme. I’m really looking forward to watching Chris and Matt bring the all new show to our audiences”
Joining the crew are race car driver and Top Gear’s first female presenter in 15 years Sabine Schmitz, F1 pundit Eddie Jordan and car journalist Rory Reid and Youtube sensation Chris Harris. The rag tag team of Top Gear ‘friends’ are expected to revamp the program and widen the audience demographic. There are loud whispers about reassessing the program through this season and potentially moving it to the Sunday time slot on BBC1. Most likely airing after antiques roadshow which currently pulls in 9 million viewers. This comes after the rapid success of the Great British Bake-off which grew in popularity after the same rescheduling.
While the new series has star power and a general air of curiosity that may lead to big numbers in the first few weeks, it will have to prove sustainable and inventive to secure it’s future. Fans of the 39 year old program will need to be wined and dined in order to keep them from straying to Clarkson’s Prime series.
In a seeming ‘one or the other’ situation the amazon prime series is gearing up for an estimated £4.5 million episodic budget. Making it more than likely that the stunts and featured vehicles will be larger than life. Unlike the BBC series which will premiere on free to air television and is currently in international broadcasting conversations Prime fans will be required to pay the £79 annual subscription fee in order to access their favourite motoring content. In that regard the BBC program may win by internationally accessible default.
Reactions to the new cast are varied. Reiterating the idea that the two shows will unfortunately be unable to coexist amicably fans have taken to social media to voice their concerns and opinions. Most of which highlight the amount of hosts and their ability to reformat the show.
The new series is set to air in May, until then enjoy this nostalgia inducing compilation video.