It'll be better without Evans, and Matt is quite watchable though you can't help but compare with his role in Episodes. Pity about EJ, he's one of the many reasons why F1 isn't worth watching
Former Friends star Matt MeBlanc has penned a £1.5m deal with licence fee payers of the BBC to front up Top Gear for the next two series. Joining the chisel jawed comedy actor are car journos Chris Harris and Rory Reid, along with regular guests including domineering ex-Formula One team boss Eddie Jordan, pro motor racer …
Evans was sabotaged, by himself bottling it, the previous team refusing to adapt, or BBC management being idiots. Someone refused to change up the show, and I can't figure out which.
It was blindingly obvious that he was never going to work in a slow paced, wink-and-nod, show like Jeremy and co's Top Gear. He's just not that kind of presenter. He's the king of facepaced, chaotic shows.
Why he didn't transform it to his strengths, I'll never know. It would have been great, and it would have alienated plenty of people I'm sure, too! But at least it wouldn't have been that trainwreck!
No, Evans was always completely wrong for the job.
My suspicion is that top brass at the beeb made a bit of a panic decision when they realised their cash cow was in the process of falling apart, which went along the lines of:
- Right, this 'Top Gear' business, thats a rather 'Petrol Head' show isn't it.
- Who've we got on the payroll who is a petrol head ?
- Ooh, we seem to have Chris Evans, he's rather populal on the radio isn't he - and he knows somethign about cars?
- Right get him in!
...completely overlooking the whole point of the show, which is that Top Gear is a bunch of laughs with infantile humour, with exotic cars mixed in. It is NOT 'Fifth Gear'.
Evans was never the guy for the job - I really could not stand his high pitched voice, and feedback in the media suggests that neither could a lot of other viewers. I have no idea why Eddie Jordan was brought it - again thats trying to turn TG back into Fifth Gear.
Now, Steve Cougan on the other hand ... I'm astonished that he was never mentioned as an option. I really think his dry sense of humour would have worked, and he is a proper, Ferarri-driving, 'Petrol Head'.
IMHO, Le Blanc works because he's got the right laddish attitude. Also the young black guy (whos name, embarrasingly, I can't recall right now - Rory Reid?) was a good addition to the show.
Finally, I hope they keep Sabine Schmidt a part of the show - she's got attitude and talent by the bucketload.
It wont work because TG was more than a "name" and format. It was an amalgamation of the original 3, silly ideas and chemistry. They would have been better off spending the 1.5million on developing a new format rather than trying to compete with the old TG.
1.5mil for one presenter though. Fucking fuck that's a waste of money.
I don't mind EJ on F1 because he does at least know the business and is happy to ask rich, important people awkward questions. But I wouldn't have bothered with him for Top Gear... there's just no point in him. I'm not even sure if he's really that into cars - in a petrol-head way?
Rory Reid was better than I had expected and I think he improved with each Extra Gear and you need his character to help with Chris Harris's dryness.
I hope they put the Reasonably-Priced-Car track back to how it was before. The changes they made were stoopid. I'm also not 100% convinced that having two stars to interview/race was a good idea either.
EJ definitely does like *racing*, whatever about liking cars as such. He was a former F3 and F2 driver, and (according to wiki) a McLaren tester, before being a team boss.
I wonder if they're using him the right way? I didn't watch much of him on the new Top Gear, but there should be plenty of scope for hilarious stories based on the old pro running rings around the new guys, especially if they got their hands on some old F3 cars from the 70s.
I really like him on F1 he adds the former team boss element (don't see Sky having one of them) to complement the former driver in the shape of DC. The only problem I have with F1 is the German coverage (when C4 aren't showing it live) has adverts in. For Top Gear I didn't think Evans worked and they need to get Jodie Kidd in alongside MLB and one of the other lads CH or RR and go back to making a show that is mostly about the laughs.
I'm also not 100% convinced that having two stars to interview/race was a good idea either.
I suspect this is where the accountants came in. Making such a show costs money, and the longer you can make the waffly bits, the less you have to spend on the show (important consideration of you just ended up with a £50M hole in your budget that you can't really ask the license payer to fill). People don't watch the show for deep insight into the (car)life of the stars, and that segment just had too much prominence. It's a good thing fewer people were watching, because I think that would have become the kettle segment: the time you realise that you won't miss much when making a cup of tea..
Speaking of accountants - would it not be better to take the best bits out of the actual show and the "background" episode which was really just another show segment?
I've never really been a fan of Chris Evans as I don't like his voice and his extravert personality, but he's given it at least a go (well, for good money I'd imagine). That said, not only do I have to give him thumbs up for broadcasting the "stop because I need to barf" segment when Sabine Schmitz showed him what real driving is, using an Audi (and, let's be honest, it IS harder as a passenger), I also think he was predestined to fail. He had to find a middle ground between taking over a show with established personalities and quirks and somehow give it a new spin (pardon the pun) without changing it so much that it was no longer Top Gear, and without making it a "Chris Evans and other people" type show, which would work more with his personality.
I might not like the guy, but hat off for trying - it was never easy. At least they now know what doesn't work - a process that also took a few years for the previous team..
EJ should have intelligent comments to make based on his experience in F1 but that's not what comes across. He does manage to get the big interviews but never manages to ask the right questions and he always sucks up to Bernie and never puts him under pressure.
Isn't the Irish expression a "gob shite"?
Let's hope not. That LeBlanc isn't as bad as Evans won't fix things; it needs a kick up the arse just to get it back into third gear.
Evans was dire, 'kid's show' and shouty, the rest just so-so, set dressing. Eddie Jordan could have been replaced by the proverbial tub of lard. The 'road trips' were inane. The 'Star in a RPC' segment became dull and stupid. The interviews tedious. Above all, it felt contrived with none of the past sparkle.
It seemed like they were dragging a dead carcass around, trying to pretend it was still alive. I can watch any old crap but that doesn't make me a viewer.
I gave it a chance. I more often than not ended up fast-forwarding 85%, watching about 15%. And it never held its own against old re-runs of TG on Dave.
Granted LeBlanc did kinda grow into the role by the end... Evans was a trainwreck from start to finish... Whilst the 2 proper motoring journos were a breath of fresh air. EJ is a terrible presenter regardless of his knowledge. His presenting style on the BBC's F1 shows was cringe worthy and alongside Coulthard made for the dullest pairing in sports history.
It's why I stopped watching F1 on the BBC after they sold out fans to Sky... a terrible move, and then selling out to C4;.. who as a publicly funded station should be barred from stealing shows from the BBC and instead create of find their own shows... or have their funding withdrawn.
I'm not sure if LeBlanc can carry the entire show, but his dry humour and deadpan style is far more likeable than Evans Clarkson impersonation ever was.
In partial defence of C4 as I totally agree with your thoughts about that other show (which was a totally different set of circumstances) ..
The BBC clearly didn't want F1 and were trying to do so in as quick a way as possible. So C4 picking it up has been a very good thing indeed. Whilst they haven't done quite as well as the BBC did in previous years, their coverage hasn't been too bad and also their live race sessions are broadcast advert-free (which wouldn't happen if a more commercial terrestrial channel picked it up).
With regards to EJ, he is essential viewing in the F1, his knowledge and insight is second to none (I don't believe any rumour until he has repeated it) but in TG he was totally wasted - not that I suppose he minded being paid to travel 1st class on the orient express.
I agree with you djack's comment about C4 picking up F1 from the BBC.
However, I disagree with comments about EJ. I can't think of any insightful comment he's ever made. He tends to brown nose and mostly talks rubbish. He's quite happy to tell you X is Y when you can see on the screen for yourself that X isn't Y. Quite frankly he's a waste of space.
DC and Ben Edwards work quite well together... not legendary talent as they don't play off each other as well as Murrey and James Hunt did but you can't always have that.
Mind you I think I'll give yp on it once Sky get all the coverage... or start watching it in French for free.
> Whilst the 2 proper motoring journos were a breath of fresh air.
The only 2 credible car people on the show are Chris Harris and Sabine Schmitz. Chris is both an excellent driver and seriously knows about cars. Sabine is genuinely quick at least around the Nurburgring. The rest are just talentless space-filling "celebs" that can't drive properly, don't know too much, and have absolutely zero valuable insights to share. Given EJ won the Irish Kart Championship in 1971 and used to race in Formula Ford before he managed his Formula 1 team, I really expected more from him than some boring senile old duffer that clearly can't even drive safely on the road any more. After season 1 I have literally no idea WTF he's even doing on the show.
They should have just given the show to Chris and Sabine. Sorry but Matt LeBlanc doesn''t cut it either. At least he might have been bought some good humour to the show, but for most of Season 1 he looked like he was on antidepressants.
Couldn't stand him on Radio 2 when he took over from Terry Wogan, and refused to watch any Top Gear episodes even out of curiosity as I didn't want to inflate the viewing figures.
Presume that they are now going to be repeated on Dave - but if I fast forward the ads as well as the bits with him in, will there be anything left to watch?
I thought so.
His biggest problem was playing second fiddle to Evans. While Evans seemed to be trying to channel Clarkson, and failing abysmally (as well as just being an annoying twat*), LeBlanc was just being himself - and seemed to be getting more comfortable presenting as the series went on.
* I enjoyed Don't Forget Your Toothbrush - but I was a lot younger then. I've found him annoying ever since, though.
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