Last month it was announced that Top Gear would be gracing our screens once again this month with Series 29, this time – for the first time in over 40 years, the show will be moving back from BBC Two to BBC One. Top Gear has been on BBC Two for 43 years. The first episode of the new series aired last week on Sunday and here’s what we thought of it.
Series 29 will only be five episodes and the first one included a 24 hours challenge in three company cars in Paddy’s home town, Bolton. Due to the fact Bolton is twinned with Le Mans, the trio had to have their own endurance challenge, by spending 24 hours in their cars, a Volvo S60 Hybrid, BMW 330e hybrid and the Tesla Model 3 Long Range. The challenge involved Flintoff wetting himself, crashing his car and lots of antics. The three also raced up a multi-story car park in Wigan and slept overnight in a football pitch. The episode started off with McGuiness taking Fintoff and Harris of a tour around Bolton, showing him his child hood house and first work place.
No guest in this episode, but Chris Harris reviewed the new Ferrari SF90, which has 1,000bhp and has three electric motors. Harris’s verdict was that it seems to involve the driver less than Ferrari’s of old. The Stig made an appearance when he lapped it round the airfield, making it to the top of the leaderboard.
The show is in its stride now, it had a few hiccups in the beginning when the classic crew left in 2015, the first series back with Chris Evans, Matt LeBlanc and Chris Harris was awkward, the interactions felt forced and it didn’t work that well. The next few series when Rory Reid joined and Chris Evans left made it even better, but with the new crew with Paddy McGuiness, Freddy Flintoff and Chris Harris now in their forth series together, they are working very well together, with genuine laughs and fun to be had. Harris, being the racing driver is the car guy in the show drives for a living with McGuiness and Flintoff providing the ‘ladish’ banter we had back in the days with Clarkson, Hammond and May.
The new trio kind of works like the Top Gear USA show that ran from 2010-2016, which had Tanner Foust, Rutledge Wood and Adam Ferrara. In that configuration, Foust was the racing driver and even though Rutledge commentates on Nascar, you had a nice balance considering Adam is a comedian and actor. Top Gear USA was very successful over the pond and did initially run on BBC Three for the first two seasons.
Top Gear is on BBC One on Sunday at 8pm and on BBC iPlayer. Next episode is this week.