Matt LeBlanc

Top Gear S24 E1-4 (BBC 2)

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A little under one year ago, everyone was watching the latest episodes of Top Gear with consternation as it struggled and faltered in its first post-Clarkson outing. The situation was so bad that at one point it seemed possible that the show – formerly one of the BBC’s most prestigious and profitable international brands – could even be summarily cancelled.

It didn’t help when Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May’s The Grand Tour launched on Amazon Prime later in the year and was everything that the BBC’s new take on Top Gear had failed to be – although naturally, anyone who had previously hated Clarkson on Top Gear continued to hate him in his new Amazonian habitat too. All of it piled new pressure on the BBC’s motoring show. Read the rest of this entry »

Top Gear S23 E1-4 (BBC2)

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As I hadn’t wanted to rush in and judge the show prematurely before it had been given time to find it’s feet, I’ve been putting off writing about the post-Clarkson reboot of Top Gear for a few weeks until now, four episodes in to the new era fronted by Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc.

topgearThe good news is that the production is as stylish as ever. Not being a huge petrolhead myself, a lot of the pleasure of watching Top Gear for me was in the top-notch photography, editing and music production values of the show, and in this respect the standard is as good as if not even better than previous seasons.

Viewed objectively, therefore, this new series is a solid attempt by Top Gear to pick itself up after former host Jeremy Clarkson’s explosive exit from the series in 2015 after reportedly punching a producer. The BBC had no choice but to not renew his contract and so Clarkson duly left, taking with him co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May and executive producer Andy Wilman to set-up a still-to-air rival show on Amazon Prime called The Grand Tour. That left the BBC with a big problem over what to do with the now-gutted Top Gear. After some deliberation, the keys to the project were handed over to long-time TV and radio host Chris Evans who selected former Friends star Matt LeBlanc as his co-host.

That should really have put the show in safe hands, but the ratings for the new series of Top Gear have been tanking. There are even rumours that the show will be cancelled after its latest run, or at the very least that Evans will not be invited back. So what’s gone wrong? Read the rest of this entry »