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Top Gear, Post-Clarkson?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson
Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.

Top Gear, Post-Clarkson?

Bill Crittenden
September 11, 2014

Episodes of racism and insensitivity seeming to be an annual event for Jeremy Clarkson, people have been calling for his firing for years. So many years, in fact, that old age might do what the big shots at the BBC could not.

What happens to Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson? That subject came up last weekend as the rumor mill churned out the bit of fake crap that Chris Evans would replace Jeremy Clarkson.

Forced to think about the Top Gear world post-Clarkson, I've had a few thoughts about it.

First of all, as Jeremy ages to the point that driving across African savannas and pushing through 24-hour endurance races becomes unfeasible, it may be time to phase him out gently.

In the automotive entertainment world, Clarkson presents shoes that are too big for any one man or woman to fill, and perhaps no one should be tasked with that.

Before it becomes a "one day he's here, the next he's not" because of aging and health, perhaps they could scale him back to a host's role. Introduce the episode, preside over the news and other studio segments, and finish the episode with the famous "and on that bombshell" line.

Now, Chris is too obviously a Ferrari nut to the point of having me seriously wondering if he'd ever lower himself to driving an Audi or a Jag. But perhaps they could bring the entertaining Ferrari expert in to review the Ferraris that the studio gets to film occasionally for its episode-opening reviews. On the standard "3 men in supercars looking for exotic roads" episodes, I can think of no better driver for the required Ferrari among the trio.

Perhaps a rotation of drivers and personalities suited best to the cars and challenges they're driving each episode would not only prevent the usual dissatisfaction among fans when a beloved host moves on but also brings back an element of variety to a show that's getting a bit repetitive.

Obviously, James May and the much younger Richard Hammond would stay on. Former Stig Ben Collins could return as himself for not only his past history with the show but his experience in American style stock cars and BTCC racing. Popular Nurburgring expert Sabine Schmitz could do more than the handful of guest appearances she's done. American Top Gear host and Rallycross driver Tanner Foust could make an appearance for drifting or Rallycross-related segments.

The over-the-top New Yorker Adam Ferrara would be great going up against the thoughtful and quiet James May in various "U.S. vs. U.K." challenges. Imagine Adam in a Dodge Charger Hellcat and James May in a Jaguar XFR-S and a series of challenges.

Who wouldn't want to see a former F1 winner try to transition from the cocktails and Monaco scene to the sleeping in mud and driving a $1,000 beater in a third world country scene?

Oh, and it's a little off the original topic but as long as I'm posting ideas about Top Gear...

As James May is also nearing the age at which sleeping in a swamp might not appeal to him anymore, the technically-minded host would be great for segments of automotive factory tours, a bit of the How it's Made television show in the middle of a Top Gear episode. How it's Made has a Dream Cars series, and the Wiessman and Morgan factories were fascinating. James May would make their presentation even better.

Also as classic cars are a big part of high-end motoring, perhaps May could drive and review some great classic cars in opening segments when there isn't a brand new latest and greatest supercar to review.

All, of course, bracketed by Jeremy Clarkson's studio hosting and commentary. That way, he's still there but not the entire focus of the show, slowly preparing us for the sad day that his pube-topped goofy-ass mug can no longer be the international face of motoring entertainment.

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