I’ve mostly kept out of the whole Top Gear discussion over the last few months but last night’s final show of Top Gear “as we know it” moved me enough to get typing.
Even though there were many Sunday nights when I used to stare at the TV thinking that Top Gear was a load of rubbish, somehow the show would redeem itself again with a great segment or a classic Clarkson quip.
It was reliable too. It came back season after season. The stunts and challenges got more elaborate, more daring, more outrageous. Some were good. Some were bad. A lot of people got pissed off.
But everyone knew Top Gear. People loved to discuss “last night’s Top Gear”. With the dawn of social media, they became “tonight’s Top Gear” discussions, with minute by minute comment and criticism.
Last night the lifestyle SUV segment did it for me. I laughed out loud. It was comedy: cars bobbing around in the mud, sheep, dinner jackets and nerves over after dinner speeches.
And then it was over. Richard and James said goodbye. The unsaid was powerful. You could see it on their faces. Jeremy’s absence from the studio bits. The eerie silence around Richard and James without the energy of a studio audience. It was sad. I felt sad. The end of an era.
But popular TV shows come to an end all the time, big shows like Friends, Sex and the City, Lost to name but a few. We feel a bit sad when we watch the last episode but then we move on. Boybands break up. People change jobs or conclude collaborations. Life goes on.
You feel sad for a while for the loss of something that was easy and routine. And then you see the opportunity to try something new and move on. By the look of Richard Hammond and James May last night, they already have. And we know Jeremy is just waiting for them in the wings. Tieing up loose ends.
Top Gear will return on the BBC with Chris Evans at the helm. And we know that most likely, Clarkson, Hammond and May will return too with a car show. Just not on the BBC.
As a car fan I just want cars on TV. So I will be tuning into the BBC next year for the new Top Gear and some place else for hopefully a new show with Clarkson, Hammond and May.