If you ask any petrol head if they had a favourite car show on television, there’s a fairly large probability that the most frequent answer would be BBC Studios’ Top Gear. The show, which will return to SA screens from Thursday, 29 August 2019, at 20h00 on BBC Brit (on DStv channel 120), has become synonymous with car culture around the world with petrol heads, gear heads and car geeks. The show has been through many changes over its 27-season history, but none as significant as in the previous five seasons.
While I was sceptical about the latest change to the show’s presenters when it was first announced almost a year ago, their selection of characters provides just the right mix. Top Gearreturns to South African airwaves later this month with a fresh line-up, which includes Chris Harris (who continues his role from the previous season), comedian Paddy McGuinness and former English cricketer Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff.
A few days ago, I reviewed the premiere from Season 27, which is strategically crafted to introduce the new team to viewers. It’s clear from watching the first two episodes that the team are not only excited about the cars but also with each other.
The trio is also joined by the ever-present white-suited racing driver, The Stig. Sticking to what he knows and does best, which is driving, The Stig handles the fastest cars on the planet, as he takes them around the Top Gear Test Track.
Of course, the show keeps its well-known format with celebrities in a reasonably-fast car, along with the trio being put through a series of challenges from episode to episode to determine the best car in the various categories.
The latest season debuts as a special as the team travel across Ethiopia in the cars they had first bought as youngsters. Their travels throughout the season take them across the Ethiopian desert, Borneo rainforest, as well as the wilds of Iceland and the pedestrianised shopping district of downtown Mansfield.
The truth is Top Gear is and will always be more than simply just a show about cars.
What Top Gear Season 27 proves is that there’s still an appetite and a market for this type of television. With the average viewership almost doubling in the UK over Season 26, it’s evident that the show is on its way back to its glory days. With the new trio forming a believable bond, with great camaraderie among themselves, we can only imagine it elevating to even higher heights.
The five-part season brings all-new locations and some of the best cars around the globe, along with the crazy antics and laughter we have all come to enjoy. And, of course, there will be tyre shredding, crashes and plenty of fast laps with The Stig.
Thursday, 29 August 2019, at 20h00 on BBC Brit (on DStv channel 120)
Make sure you’ve scheduled Top Gear in your diaries, or via your decoder, as you don’t want to miss the newly revamped 5-episode series.