“Top Gear was a phenomenon, but it certainly didn’t start as a phenomenon. It grew over time. When you are trying something new, albeit with a well-known format, but certainly with a new cast, it is going to take time.”
That’s what Mark Linsey, head of BBC Studio, has tried to explain about why the rebooted Top Gear has been lacking success. If you haven’t noticed, Series 23 of Top Gear looks quite a bit different than the Jeremy Clarkson era Top Gear, with six presenters rather than the traditional bulletproof trio with Richard Hammond, and James May. Linsey continues:
“If you look at the first series of the Clarkson era it didn’t even have James May in it. It took 10 years to grow and the new Top Gear needs time to grow. It certainly didn’t surprise me it didn’t do the audience figures of the previous series.”
The rebooted Top Gear with Chris Evans at the helm has performed terribly in the ratings, with the first episode generating around 4.7 million television viewers, a lot less than the 5.8 million viewers that watched the last Clarkson, Hammond, and May episode where they bowed out. The second episode fared a lot worse where the audience fell by more than a third to a dismal 2.8 million viewers, prompting Evans to say “Television viewing figures for Top Gear has never been less relevant.” The ratings continued to plummet again, and regardless of what the iPlayer figures have added the ratings were much worse than what people thought.
As a result of those poor figures Chris Evans immediately stepped down, and also amid a sexual assault investigation, which he has been cleared of from the police. For the longest time the BBC has mentioned that they were not going to replace Chris Evans at all, despite rumors stating that they might be talking to Saturday Kitchen host and big automotive enthusiast, James Martin, for series 24 of Top Gear. Now Linsey has somewhat confirmed that a Chris Evans replacement is not the case:
“No we are not at the moment. [The new Top Gear] was built around an ensemble. Matt LeBlanc was an important part of that ensemble. Clearly the viewers enjoyed Matt LeBlanc, and we want him to come back. Clearly they enjoyed the other Chris [Harris], and Rory [Reid] – they have told us that. All the elements were there of an ensemble rather than just focusing it on Chris [Evans], and I think that is evident in the way that we produced it. There will be change, but we will be building on the characters that worked, ie Rory, Chris and Matt LeBlanc.”
This latest revelation from the BBC Studio boss has confirmed what the Top Gear fans (whoever is left) have said about fixing the brand, and we have said all along ’til we were blue in the face that Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reid, and Chris
Evans Harris are the go to guys to rebuild the show. The other supporting cast members have failed to leave a lasting impression. Eddie Jordan has been stiff, strange, and cringe-worthy, despite his fantastic spoon playing abilities. Sabine Schmitz, despite giving several moments of brutal honesty, has so far also performed in a stiff and awkward fashion, making viewers wince at some of the things she has said.
Now that we might be looking at a completely new Top Gear trio, the show should be ramping up production for Series 24 starting this month. In the meantime, Clarkson, Hammond, and May are starting up their new show The Grand Tour under Amazon Prime’s watch. If you’d rather watch The Grand Tour than reruns of old Top Gear, then you’ll need to subscribe for the streaming service. You can click here to see details about the show and to subscribe.
(Source: The Guardian)