Top Gear vs… the others

BBC Top Gear’s Return to our screens is imminent, after more than a year away following Jeremy Clarkson’s Steak-gate fracas and subsequent sacking. But Top Gear is not the only Car show hitting the airwaves this year. The former TG dream team of Clarkson, May and Hammond have sold their formidable skills to Amazon Prime for a similar – but as yet unnamed – show about cars. It’s rumoured to be 12 episodes and kick off in the Autumn, which means might expect it to go head to head with the second half of the BBCs 2016 Top Gear offering. On top of all that, the ‘more serious car show’ Fifth Gear, began series 26 on ITV4 on April 15th.

If you’re a car nut, we look at the tasty TV treats coming up – for you to get your fix of madness with motors…

“C-M-H” on Amazon Prime

Clarkson, Hammond and May’s new show was rumoured a while back to be called Gear Knobs, but a recent tweet from Clarkson has said, due to copyright issues they are not allowed to use the word Gear in the title. Cue a Twitter campaign to find a new name. Whatever it is called, it will see the three stalwart presenters – who create a dynamic far greater than the sum of its parts – reunited for more motorised high-jinks.

We haven’t seen any trailers that include any pointers to content yet, but there have been a few reports in the press about locations and what we’ll see. Perhaps the most exciting test is the thruway shootout between the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 hypercars. It’s the back-to-back test we were promised on TopGear that we never got to see – as Clarkson was sacked before the series finale was filmed.

The show is also rumoured to have a budget almost 4 times that of the BBC when C-H-M were presenting TopGear. We’re not quite sure yet where it has been spent…  as here, in their own inimitable style, are the trio brainstorming a new name for their show…

BBC Top Gear

It’s the daddy of UK Car shows and has come a long way since the pigskin-driving-glove-days of William Woollard – but will it stay at the top? Chris Evans brings some unique production nouse to the format, along with a new line up of presenters that is bigger and more diverse the ever. The BBCs new chief PetrolHead in waiting has netted some big names to join him – including Matt LeBlanc, German Racing Driver Sabine Schmitz (revered for her Nurburgring exploits in a Ford Transit), Former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan as well as motoring journalists Chris Harris and Rory Read. Plus, of course, the man whose identity everyone would love to know – his Royal Stig-iness.

It’s a clever line up – with something for everyone – but whether it will generate the popular camaraderie that made Clarkson, Hammond and May so watchable remains to be seen.

If the trailer is anything to go by the Beeb have spared no budget for the challenges, stunts and events the presenters will be taking part in for the show. It’ll be worth it too – one thing that sets Top Gear apart from the competition is the quality of the film work, and the trailer is reassuring that it has nothing has been lost on that front. The big budget is understandable given the show is the Corporation’s biggest global export. Evans has also been quite canny recruiting LeBlanc, who will appeal to the huge American market too.


Fifth Gear

Fifth Gear spun off of original Top Gear back in the early nougties, with presenters Tiff Needle and Vicki Butler-Henderson. Styling itself as a more serious car show it has hopped channels a few times and for 2016, finds itself on ITV 4 – which is fast becoming the channel of Petrolhead heaven.

If you exclude Old Top Gear – from which Fifth Gear was the first spin off – FG, having started in 2002, is the oldest of the three shows in production. For those that like their car shows with a little more substance, they take a more traditional approach to reviews and testing of various vehicles , which is reflected in its home on a more specialist channel. Fifth Gear is more of a serious Car Show and less of a light entertainment hoon.

The current series (26) Started on 14th April. Oddly, there isn’t a 2016 trailer to promote it – here’s the 2015 offering for you instead…


When it comes to the cars, we’re as exited as you probably are about the top TopGear studio legends being wheeled out of storage for the live studio audience to drop over – especially the Toyota Hi-Lux.

One thing we noticed with the first two of these trailers though – there seems to be an unhealthy obsession with the Reliant 3 wheelers. Or possibly it’s just that their unstable platform just makes for very entertaining TV.