Friday, 27 June 2008

in spiked this week

Patrick West

The funny side of food and cars

You don’t have to be a foodie or petrolhead to enjoy watching the big-ego, un-PC hosts of The Supersizers Go... and Top Gear.

"It was strangely appropriate that the conclusion of BBC’s The Supersizers Go... series, featuring restaurant critic Giles Coren and writer and comedian Sue Perkins, should have coincided this week with the much-anticipated launch of the eleventh series of Top Gear. The programmes share an uncanny resemblance. Neither really seek to educate and to inform, and both demonstrate that when the BBC does decide to entertain – albeit in a surreptitious manner – it can do so excellently.

I have previously bored spiked readers by explaining that Top Gear, in its original incarnation, sought to inculcate the best advice on what motors viewers should purchase. (See My name is Patrick. I am a Top Gear viewer.) But since its reincarnation in 2002, Top Gear has become increasingly less concerned with proffering plain consumer advice, and it has become more obsessed with just having a laugh. The programme’s hosts do things like destroy caravans, drive cars to the North Pole, or test how many vehicles an Austin Allegro can fly over while driving backwards.

Top Gear has basically become Jackass. And so what?"


Anonymous said...

Is Clarkson an "auto-didact"; didn't he go to Cambridge?

Scott said...

Just a quick comment about your spiked article about BBC presenters: I fully agree and support your points about Ross & Wogan v. Clarkson, however, I disagree that 'Clarkson is the only selling point on Top Gear.'

I think a mate of mine put it best when he said, after a few pints, that Clarkson, Hammond and May 'are three halves of one brain.' While I agree that to be true, I also think that each presenter appeals to a different demographic, and this is vitally important to the success of the show. My wife watches Top Gear. (Would she have pre-2002? Doubtful.) She also hates Clarkson. Finds him too 'blokey' (and this isn't a "love-to-hate" type of hate.) She loves Hammond and May.

Personally, while I like all three, it's more often than not that May's reviews are the most interesting to me in any given episode.

So, while Clarkson may be the anchor, the other two certainly are not bilge, and I think that if they were dropped I may not watch any more. My wife certainly wouldn't!

Then there's the Stig - who knows how much he makes! But he's of course been demonstrably replaceable.