New Top Gear’s Future Is Looking Shakier by the Minute Amid Power Struggle

Chris Evans 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
Chris Evans, BBC Top Gear’s new main host (no, not the Hollywood actor, the ginger fellow), was always going to have a high mountain to climb as he had to replace the arguably irreplaceable trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.
However, it appears that problems are mounting for what was the biggest car show in the world, with the May 2016 deadline looking less and less doable. Just last week we were reporting about Lisa Clark, the show’s executive producer, leaving the boat after solely five months on the job, with script-writer Tom Ford also deciding to part ways with the new-format Top Gear show.

It is said that Chris Evans is under a lot of pressure from people in charge at BBC, who, understandably, are pretty nervous about the makeover of one of their most profitable shows. But the real problem is that their actions - intervening in editorial decisions - display a lack of trust in Chris Evans’ ability to pull this off.

According to unnamed inside sources quoted by The Sun, the chief culprit’s name is Kim Shillinglaw, one of the BBC2 controllers with a reputation for a hands-on approach. Which would be an issue for anybody, but even more so for a control freak such as Chris Evans. When two strong personalities don’t see eye to eye, something’s gotta give.

At this point, we can’t help but get the feeling that Chris Evans might be a scapegoat, a pawn sacrificed in order to make the transition from the old Top Gear to the new one, however that may end up looking. People are bound to compare the next host (or hosts) to the old ones, and it’s hard to imagine the former will come on top. Just like football supporters (we’ll go with that, since it’s the Brits we’re talking about), they’ll start to ask for the coach’s head. They will eventually get it, and the replacement will only be compared to his predecessor, which will make it a lot easier for him.

But that’s just a scenario. The facts, however, show that Chris Evans might be in over his head, being involved in too many projects, especially since one of them just happens to be the most watched car show in the world.

On the other hand, things are looking brighter than ever for the departed trio of Clarkson, Hammond, and May, who are set to start their new show on Amazon this autumn. With a ridiculous budget (said to be roughly ten times that of Top Gear) and a team that’s been doing the world’s greatest car show for years, there isn’t much that can go wrong. Actually, the only risk they’re facing is that it will just be “more of the same.”

Involuntarily, Chris Evans gave the rivaling show a slight boost by revealing the set release date for the new Top Gear series, something the BBC execs would have preferred to remain a secret. Now, the still unnamed Amazon program will be ready to air a teaser just ahead of Top Gear’s debut, which is sure to bring back the nostalgia - as if it was really necessary.

You could say that BBC should inject a bit of nitro and beat the schedule, but it’s not that easy. Sources inside say that Chris Evans is struggling with the pre-recorded videos structure of the show, and that there is very little usable footage available at the time. Evans even reportedly crashed a brand-new Jaguar the first time he went out on the Dunsfold Top Gear track.

The bad news keeps on piling up, and no positives are surfacing to ease up the adverse prognosis. But one thing is sure: BBC can’t afford to drop its biggest brand, so one way or the other, we’ll get a Top Gear show come May. Or maybe June, who knows?
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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