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The Global Phenomenon That Is Top Gear

Adrian Musolino
Adrian Musolino

How has a TV show about cars, cars that most of us will never be able to afford, hosted by three middle aged Englishmen at a time when the automotive industry is on its knees and car sales are well down become so popular to the point that it went on a worldwide stage tour? 

Top Gear is a global phenomenon. 

Why has it become so popular, especially in the last couple of years when it has been around, albeit with different formats, since 1977?

With the team of Jeremy Clarkson, James May, Richard Hammond and the Stig, the show has struck gold. 

The stunts are outrageous, the cars exotic and the hosts funny. 

The challenge shows are particularly entertaining. 

We watch to see cars we will never get a chance to drive in action, driven in exotic locations from middle America to the south of France. 

But there is also the controversy whether it is Clarkson saying something incredibly inappropriate and offensive or the environmental concerns of exotic supercars blasting around in an age when we are embracing the need to be green. 

An Australian version of the show was launched last year but lacked what can only be described as an x-factor; the hosts couldn’t match the wit and charm of their British counterparts 

Thankfully a planned American version of the show (can you imagine what that would have been like?) was canned. 

What makes the real Top Gear a class apart is Clarkson, May, Hammond and the Stig and this is why these spin offs cannot be as successful. 

They are funny, irreverent and gel together so well. The show is entertaining and always provides a laugh. If you are a petrol head or not, it’s still good viewing. 

If you need proof of the talent of the Top Gear hosts beyond the show check out Richard Hammond’s documentary on Evel Knievel, an amazing film that charts the life of the daredevil stuntman. 

Hammond’s attempts to dig deeper into the Evel Knievel myth by interviewing the ageing Evel who does his best to dodge the poor host makes for great viewing. 

Again it is Hammond and his skill as a presenter that make the documentary compulsive viewing. 

In the face of the global financial crisis, Top Gear and the BBC have tightened their belts so don’t expect such elaborate stunts or exotic locations in upcoming Top Gear series. 

But as long as it’s the same team don’t expect the popularity of the show to wane.

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