Top Gear is BACK…Does anyone care?

Now that The Grand Tour is playing on Amazon Prime to resounding success, with all the wit, chemistry and controversy (more on this later) that the squabbling trio is famous for, we have all but forgotten about the TV show that Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May originated from. For many fans, The Grand Tour IS the continuation of Top Gear, but clearly the BBC disagrees.

Despite the disappointing ratings from last season – which was the first season with new hosts replacing the earlier mentioned Three Stooges of motoring TV shows – and scathing reviews of Chris Evans (including by our own Automologists) who took the top job, Top Gear is continuing to plod along.

The new teaser of the next season of the all-new Top Gear was released on Christmas Day, showing Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reid and Chris Harris in a curious drag race that has a no-hands-no-knees rule. The cars end up brushing against each other before heading in different directions in the desolate expanse – is this a hint that these three are embarking on a road trip to far-off lands?

Those who still care to watch Top Gear – which are probably those who do not want to pay the Amazon Prime subscription fee – will be pleased to note that Evans is absent from the short clip. From the last season, viewers did not mind American import LeBlanc and thought Harris was the best thing in the new series and, for some, its only saving grace.

This isn’t the case of ‘there can only be one’ and only one motoring TV series can reign supreme. But the new Top Gear will very much depend on the “wit, chemistry and (yes, even) controversy” of the new main hosts or it will have to be revamped completely, with an entirely different concept from The Grand Tour to stand a fighting chance.

So, about the controversy that seems to follow the older trio everywhere. Hammond landed himself in hot soup on comments about something very cold, in the latest episode of the Grand Tour. When discussing the interior of a particular Rolls-Royce, Clarkson commented that one couldn’t eat ice-cream inside it. Hammond replied, “It’s all right, I don’t eat ice-cream. It’s something to do with being straight.”

Clarkson immediately told him – and the audience members who applauded – off. “Why are you applauding him? What do you mean? … You’re saying all children are homosexual?”

OF COURSE, the LBGT community and its supporters are all up in arms about it. Well, OF COURSE straight people eat ice-cream too. OF COURSE, Hammond was being facetious. OF COURSE, the entire dialogue could have been planned, with Clarkson leading him in. OF COURSE, this will blow over as their past controversies have before.

What did we start writing this article about? Oh, Top Gear. Season 24 will start sometime early next year, probably February, if you are interested. Are you? Anyone?

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