My favourite program on the box at the moment just has to be Top Gear.
Fascinatingly, the show has absolutely no relevance to motoring, the manufacturing industry, or brands available to the common man/woman/GenY’er in this country. I’ve read that the show has little or no relevance to the motoring public in the UK either. In fact, I’ve read that comment on the Top Gear site, written by Jeremy Clarkson himself. So, why is the program so damn popular?
Because it’s not really a television show about motoring. It’s a show about grandstanding, testosterone, flashy cars, brilliant scenery, dazzling camera work and above all else, pure entertaining fun. Mostly had by the presenters. The show has been involved in roadmaking, driving 1970’s ‘supercars’ across south-western England with decidedly less fuel than required, showing the viewing public how not to tow a caravan, while purporting to do the opposite, and probably the most spectacular stunt yet, a race from far northern Canada to the Magnetic North Pole, between a tricked out Toyota Hi-Lux and a sled dog team. Entertaining TV, given the presenter’s happy knack of slagging each other off in the best tongue-in-cheek manner while still remaining fast friends in real life.
The current season being shown on SBS is 2007, so we’re only twelve months behind. TG is now in its eleventh year and going strong, so there has to be a secret to the show, and I reckon I know what it is. Sheer, unadulterated, in-yer-face bullshit and damn-the-critics-because-we-couldn’t-give-a-stuff disinterest in even trying to be serious about motoring in any way, shape or form. The three presenters – Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May – deliberately go about their jobs to have fun at the expense of some of the world’s most prestigious marques, making the viewers laugh and leaving them wanting to see more of the same next week.
Tonight’s show was a classic in the completely useless definitive vehicle comparison category. The world’s most powerful, most expensive road car, a Bugatti Veyron, pitted against a Eurofighter Typhoon. Both hideously expensive for what they are, which is really the only comparison which could possibly be drawn. The eight minutes or so which the segment took was quite simply riveting. You have to watch to understand.