Top Gear RIP


 Photo © BBC Top Gear. Programme presenters: Richard Hammond,  Jeremy Clarkson and James May

Let’s face it, whatever peoples opinions are about Jeremy Clarkson’s behaviour, the BBC is deluding itself if it seriously thinks it can resurrect the Top Gear programme’s phenomenal international audience appeal in a revised format without Jeremy. The DNA of the programme is totally reliant on the tightly integrated meeting of minds of presenters Jeremy, James and Richard. Without that intensely close relationship that pushed the boundaries to the edge the show could only ever be a rather sterile, pale imitation of its former self. James was right to hint strongly about this in a recent comment because he knows that he, and Richard would be very unlikely to perform in exactly the same manner as they did when they were working with Jeremy. Once the magic, stardust or whatever you like to call it has evaporated it’s nigh on impossible to reconstitute it.

This would leave both James and Richard likely sharing a platform with A N Other host on a newly formatted show that could not possibly reignite the same spark of genius that made it a world-wide hit. Most fans, but certainly not all, would probably view any new show a few times to give it a try before realising that it’s not the same and never will it be again. Once audience figures begin to drop James and Richard will feel gutted that they made the wrong decision to keep their hand in, although no one could blame them as it was not of their making that the programme was forced to change.

Foreign broadcast companies are nearly always commercial concerns and are a fickle lot notorious for quickly dropping programs they feel are not capable of achieving large audience figures on behalf of their advertisers. This is something that the BBC must take into consideration before wasting millions of pounds of BBC license fee-payers’ money on a damaged goods venture that few, if any, other broadcasters will want to place firmly in their schedules.

Top Gear has been one hell of a great television show, but because of the BBC’s handling of the situation it is probably best left to history and everyone concerned should now move on to pastures new and seek success elsewhere. With such hugely talented performers, I really don’t think that will be a problem for them.