Thursday, 21 September 2006
I am happy to put on record that I adore Top Gear. No matter how much people try to besmirch its outstanding performance under Clarkson's guidance, it remains one of the few shows that I will run dash home to watch.
It is a wonder that the BBC host it. They clearly wish they didn't but their money-men win the day. It is so successful that the BBC has no choice but to hold its nose and press play. This article on the BBC website sums up why I like it.
What Clarkson, Hammond and May appreciate is that we all sit in our cars driving around at 15mph fantasising about what would happen if...They know that we see cars on the road that inspire ridicule and derision. They know that we compare and contrast and they know that we judge.
So they do it for us in glorious technicolour. They tell us when cars are average, what it feels like to drive with the needle off the scale, and just how far you can actually push a vehicle on four wheels. They tell it how it is, they live our fantasies, they have the fun we dream about when we are stuck in another traffic jam on the M25.
I loved their attempt to destroy a Toyota pick-up, their contests between cars and Apaches/Tanks/Infantry/bobsleigh's/skateboarders/pony tailed climber dudes. I cheer everytime a caravan dies. Most of all I enjoyed the moment when Stephen Ladyman MP, Minister for Transport, left Clarkson with nowhere to go -
Clarkson - "These speed cameras are just a cynical method of raising revenue aren't they?"
Ladyman - "Listen, Jeremy, we paint them yellow, we put up huge signs to warn you where they are, we even publish maps with them marked up. If you are still getting caught by speed cameras, there really is only one person to blame."
Clarkson - "Yeh, well...um...maybe you've got a point. Moving on...how was your lap in our reasonably priced car?"
While their are boys with cars and TV's, there will always be a need for Top Gear (whatever the Health and Safety Executive may say).
UPDATE: I am thrilled that the above mentioned Minister has come out in public support of the programme. Well, done you Stephen. (Not so sure about your "car booster seat" legislation though!!)