After last week’s melting of the internet the world continued as usual for a week until Sunday 5 June 2016, when again New New Top Gear was broadcast. I have heard rumours the internet was put on a nuclear powered cooling system to prevent a further meltdown.
SUV Test Across Africa
Now upon hearing that this piece had been shot, I was thinking mostly that celebrities taking part in road test/challenges rarely happened in Old New Top Gear, aside from the weekly celeb fast lap in the reasonable car it just didn’t happen very often.
Firstly the car choice of Jaguar’s new F-Pace, the Porsche Macan, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC. Near perfect choices, all are recent models as different styling wise as they are the same internally, aside from the Merc’s 4 pot engine facing off against the larger 6 pot units featured in the Jaguar & the Porsche.
Then we had the musicians whom consisted of Seasick Steve, Tinie Tempah and Sharleen Spiteri, now I was a bit worried about how this may play out due to onscreen chemistry and so on, overall though the musicians took it in their respective strides and for the most part became equals of their Top Gear partners.
The star of this film though was undoubted South Africa, again the TG camera crew & directors made it look stunning with breathtaking views of the countryside.
I wanted to hate this piece due to the celeb factor, but I just couldn’t as it was funny & comical for the most part and the challenges were excellent along with the excellent visuals. The highlight for me was Eddie Jordan being scolded for wrecking the Mercedes GLC not once but twice before being relegated to the role of grumpy navigator alongside Sharleen Spiteri.
McLaren 675LT Track Test
Here we started out with a McLaren F1 Long Tail model driven by Chris Evans, again the piece was covered in Evans seemingly new signature style of shoutyness. The first act was as always beautifully shot and directed, I think some viewers will be grateful for a glimpse for what is a super-rare car and it this case it was even road legal.
The second act introduced us to was is potentially the best or very nearly the best McLaren ever built depending on what you read, the McLaren 675LT. The trademark Top Gear tail slides was always welcome and as with the rest of the test the visuals were a class act. Here we were also introduced to Jenson Button whom promptly stated that although he owns both a P1 & a 650S he couldn’t get an order in for the 675LT let alone a drive in one.
As Button launched the 675LT around the TG track whilst barely concentrating and talking about the interior features of the car, this was genuine fun which led to the slight touch of the grass resulting in a spin captured in gorgeous slow motion enabling us to see the potential that Evans was about to lose his lunch all over the Alcantra.
Perhaps a bit too much shoutyness for my liking but the positives outweighed the negatives here for sure, a strong piece for the cars featured and the driving alone.
Top Gear Studio Sections
OK as I said last week the studio sections felt flat and with a lack of timing & fluidity. This week it was a slight improvement, Evans being wheeled into the studio in a coma was amusing and undoubtedly some viewers would have wished he remain in the same state for the remainder of the episode.
The addition of Eddie Jordan to some of the studio parts was mildly amusing and at least gave these sections another angle to play off against.
There is still room for improvement in these parts which will hopefully come next week with both Reid & Harris having films included.
The stars in the new reasonably price car
The rather well spoken Damian Lewis was the guest this week, having seen a few interviews with Lewis he always come across a genuine guy who loves what he does for a living, however the mere fact that he likes driving a mini soft top failed to win him any points with viewers.
During this section it again felt a bit of a mess, too many guests even if the story of Seasick Steve’s first car was hugely amusing, hence whilst Lewis was given the majority share of the interview time I felt it didn’t really shine due to too much input from the other guests.
Also Sharleen Spiteri’s lap was woeful but not as woeful as Jesse Eisenberg’s lap last week. The surprise was that Lewis now tops the leader board managing to better Gordon Ramsey’s lap, who knew that driving a Mini soft top would give you the edge over a man with a huge Ferrari collection.
Continuing from the high point of last week’s broadcast ExtraGear continued again in a similar vein with Rory Reid showing again that he is a real true car guy. With Reid’s new best friend Harris racing away due to some 24 hour race commitment Reid carried the show brilliantly and was very funny during his interview with Stephen K. Amos, however he did omit the question we have all been asking, what does the ‘K’ stand for!
Harris appeared in a quick piece from Germany where he profiled the stunning Glickenhaus P 4/5 Competizone that he would be racing in at the Nurburgring 24 Hour, the most stunning reveal is that the P4/5 is in fact road legal wearing New York state plates, simply awesome.
Chris Evans was allowed to drive his dream car the formidable McLaren F1, despite the insurance forced 70mph speed limit and the Taylor Swift fag breath references. This section was a highlight again with the great visuals but for the most part it was the fact that cars can stir emotions within people, it again proves that cars have soul, they are more than just lumps of metal and electrics they stir the soul, they stir memories within people of both good and bad times in their lives. Here Chris Evans shed tears in both the test and the after piece discussion with Reid, this to me means that despite his shoutyness and being Ginger, he is a true car guy through and through, just like the rest of us.
The Reid & Jordan chat was both comical and amusing in parts, straight out of the box Jordan was accused of cheating which was all taken in a fun context, thankfully he also confessed to wrecking the Mercedes GLC in South Africa, I guess confessing to failure is fun after all.
The entertainment factor was increased by Reid’s hot lap in the quick magnificent Volvo XC90 T8 twin engine, there is no reason in the world why you should do a hot lap in a 3 ton SUV with 400bhp on tap, but because you can, you should just do it given the chance. The lap itself looked pretty tidy given for the fact that it’s bigger than some houses.
This was a vast improvement from episode 1 in every way and form. Again stunning visuals, the truly emotional moment from Evans coupled by some great driving and great moments.
Whilst there is still work to do I am hopeful this shows that the new TG team is getting itself into a strong flow which can only improve.