Series / Top Gear

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Richard "Hamster" Hammond, Jeremy "Jezza" Clarkson, and James "Captain Slow" May. They like cars.

"This... is a car programme. There will be no cushions, there will be no rag-rolling, no-one will sing, and at the end of the series, no-one will have a recording contract. This is our new base, and this is our purpose-built test track. There are no traffic jams here, well... apart from this one, and no bus-lanes either. This... is Top Gear!"
Jeremy Clarkson, First Episode Intro

"Top Gear: Ambitious but Rubbish!"
Also Jeremy Clarkson

Top Gear is an award-winning (BAFTA/Emmy) BBC magazine series about automobiles and motoring. It started in 1977 as a fairly conventional auto show, but after being revamped in 2002 (following a one-year cancellation in 2001-2) it took a turn to become more overtly humorous. The show is very popular, with an audience estimated at about 8 million per week on the BBC and around 350 million worldwide.

The show's appeal, which extends far beyond driving enthusiasts or even car-owners, is the interplay of the three presenters and what presenter James May referred to in an interview as "self-indulgent cocking-about." In addition to doing more conventional car test drives and reviews, it has undertaken a number of segments which feature unique and humorous premises. For more detailed examples of what cocking-about one might actually see, please check the Segments page. The show also has an official, legal and above-board YouTube channel with abridged versions of various segments.

The presenters of the 2002-2015 incarnation of the show were:

And, like all versions of Top Gear, the show would not be complete with out its voiceless, faceless "tame racing driver", the Stig.

On 10 March 2015, the programme was pulled from network schedules mid-series after an off-camera incident in which Clarkson made an unprovoked attack on a producer and was subsequently suspended pending an investigation. On 25 March, following an inquiry. the BBC decided it would not renew its contract with Clarkson. Both Hammond and May subsequently announced they would also leave the show, as they didn't want to carry on without Clarkson. The last episode featuring Clarkson, Hammond, and May aired on 28 June 2015 in the form of a 75-minute special, without Clarkson as a presenter, appearing only via the films recorded before his suspension that would have been used in the now-abandoned episodes.

Chris Evans, a BBC presenter and radio personality (and definitely not the Captain America one), was officially announced as heading up a new presenting team on 16 June 2015. It was then announced in early December of 2015 that Evans' first show as host would be broadcast on 8 May 2016. Evans had previously appeared as a guest on the show a few times, most notably in Series 18 when he lets James May drive a Ferrari 250 GT California that Evans owns (purchased for a staggering £5m) that previously belonged to actor James Coburn.

In February, 2016, it was announced that Matt LeBlanc will be co-presenting the show along with Evans. LeBlanc is an F1 fan, hosted the spin-off show The Races and was the fastest 'Star In A Reasonably Priced Car' during the Clarkson era. Earlier stories reported that driver Sabine Schmitz and journalist Chris Harris were also joining the programme, but the BBC had yet to publicly confirm their involvement. However, less than a week after announcing LeBlanc as a presenter, Harris & Schmitz were announced as new presenters, along with F1 commentator Eddie Jordan and online car reviewer Rory Reid. Evans and LeBlanc will be the credited feature presenters (as Clarkson, Hammond & May were during their tenure), while the other four presenters will 'come and go' and appear in segments as needed.

However, delays in production caused the show to miss the planned initial 8 May airdate. Reports in February pushed the show's debut to 22 May and mentioned the episode total will be reduced from a initially-planned eight down to six. Then, On 11 May 2016, it was announced the series would now debut on 29 May. It was also announced a behind-the-scenes show, Extra Gear, hosted by Reid, will air on the online-only channel BBC3 immediately after each episode's broadcast on BBC2.

Clarkson, Hammond and May, for their part, have signed a three-year contract with Amazon Prime to create a new motoring show, with former Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman (who also left when Clarkson was let go) overseeing the new programme. Filming for the new show began in October, 2015, in locations including Barbados, North Africa, and Germany. The new series, called The Grand Tour, will debut in the fall of 2016. The show will not originate from a studio, instead it will have the trio setting up shop in a huge tent in a different city each week.

James May recently completed a second series of Cars Of The People for the BBC, which aired over January & February of 2016. note  Another three-episode series hosted by May, The Reassembler, was broadcast in April of 2016, and will likely be his last programme for the BBC.


Becoming quite an international favorite, Top Gear has spawned a number of localized spin-offs:

  • The Australian version, obviously named Top Gear Australia. Sadly canceled in September 2011, but not before crossing over with the UK crew for a pair of highly-entertaining episodes.
  • An American version, which now has its own page. One of the hosts, rallycar driver Tanner Faust, appeared in Series 22.
  • In Asia, there are Chinese, Russian, and Korean versions. The Chinese version has become hugely popular, with an audience of 200 million, with nearly 95% of that number watching online.
  • Top Gear France debuted in 2015, complete with "Le Stig."
  • An unofficial German equivalent called D Motor, which featured frequent Top Gear Sixth Ranger guest (and now a co-presenter of the new series under Evans) Sabine Schmitz among its hosts.

To add a frequently asked question, it has nothing to do with the driving game series on the SNES, but does have a relationship with the Forza series for Xbox. There was enough confusion about this that the BBC sued Kemco, the publishers of that game (which is called Top Racer in Japan). The Beeb holds copyright to the title several times over; the original use of the show name was way back in 1967 with the birth of Radio One. Left-field DJ John Peel presented Top Gear with John Peel, which showcased the very best in avant-garde music, with comedy interludes from the sort of people who later became Monty Python and The Bonzo Dog Band.

This show is Troperiffic and currently nearing being Trope Overdosed. Therefore, examples have been split into multiple pages:


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/TopGear