back to article TomTom Go Live TopGear Edition

The monumental cock-up that saw the BBC grant then withdraw permission for TomTom to use Jeremy Clarkson’s voice in a satnav must have the Dutch navigation wallahs jumping for joy. TomTom Go Live TopGear Edition TomTom Go Live TopGear Edition: put it on Stig to mute Not only has the ban generated the sort of media coverage …


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  1. Studley

    "preloaded with Clarkson and Stig voices"

    The Stig? Really?!

    1. Grease Monkey
  2. Anonymous Coward

    How tedious

    I mean, the voices will be ripped, the icons copied and then made available to all and sundry for nowt...Including Garmin!

    Its not like its a particulally good sat nav either....

    As much i enjoy the show, i can see the voice becoming a pain in the arse...

    Is the BBC THIS desperate for income???

    Whats next, Emmerdale voices or, god forbid, Corrie...

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      "Is the BBC THIS desperate for income???"

      RTFA. And then, perhaps, follow the link to El graun's article, where you'll discover Auntie /had/ planned to make Clarkson's voice available for free. But they had a small cock-up in the conflict of interest department.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        I dont need to RTFA ta very much.

        1. Grease Monkey

          "I dont need to RTFA ta very much."

          No it seems you don't. You just spout without reading it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            And that, dear GM

            Is my perogative. If you dont like it, dont read what i post. Its not like im scared of hiding my name. After all. its what i do with your posts. ;-)


            1. Grease Monkey

              What so your real name is cornz1 is it? Wow, your parents must have really hated you!

  3. bdam

    BT used him in their ads back in the 90's

    So I've never used them since. Now even if TT realise what a massive turn off this insane decision is I'll never know about it as they too are added to the list of companies soiling forever their chances of me being a customer. This is as stupid as Crapner's prawn sandwich antics. They guy is a grade 1 asshole even ahead of Woss and Gervais - oh man, don't tell me they were in the running too...?

    1. Grease Monkey

      If you are going to boycott all the companies that have associations with people you don't like then presumably you never do any business at all. Even if you restrict yourself to Clarkson there's a lot more companies than BT and TT to get upset about. And do you just restrict yourself to companies that deal with Clarkson? Or do you boycott all his friends too? It seems he's got quite a lot of them.

      Perhaps the most pathetic thing about your post is that you could get so worked up over something as innocuous as the cardboard cutout character created by Jeremy Clarkson (yes, like so many before him Clarkson has created a character intented to rile) without seemingly getting similarly worked up about any of the real evils in the world. If you were to stop doing business with companies who associate with the real bad guys then maybe you'd have a point. And a very, very restricted list of suppliers.

      Finally I don't suppose BT, TT or any other company really give a shit whether you do business with them. Clarkson is popular. Get over it. And yourself.

  4. Cliff

    Levitating james May

    Just me, or is he not quite on the ground plane in that pic on p2?

  5. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Faster, hamster! Kill! Kill!

    Short and less talented he may be. But in such programmes you absolutely need some crackbrain all too willingly ruining his health for doing the extra stunt.

    1. Elmer Phud

      "Punched Piers Morgan"

      That is enough, all by itself, to redeem him.

      (he is also know to have a bicycle - JC not PM)

  6. Lloyd

    "preloaded with Clarkson and Stig voices"

    I tried the Stig version, had no idea where I was going, I was going from London to Bristol, ended up in Edinburgh, useless.

  7. Anonymous Coward 101

    They've given up

    There's nothing wrong with novelties, but when you only have novelties to make yourself stand out from Google Navigation, time is running out for your company.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Easy to stand out from Google nav..

      .. just try running that without an Internet link. Or, umm, try running it without your present location being sold to the highest bidder..

  8. Bear Features

    The way Clarkson talks is bad enough. The idiot still thinks he's funny?

  9. Josco

    Sorry to be a bore

    I think Clarkson is wonderful... Definitely my candidate for PM.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Resistive? Why? It's 2011 for feck's sake!

    Is there some reason (except for profit margins) that all sat navs now don't use capacitive screens?

    1. Nick Thompson

      Driving gloves?

      1. Mr Young
        Thumb Up

        I like a woman with driving gloves (black leather obviously)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been there, no thanks

    I've had celeb voices on satnav before, including Clarkson. As much as I love the man, this is definitely worth avoiding because it's boring as hell - opposite to the The Real Thing (tm).

    In addition, it's TomTom. That means it's a satnav full of innovation, except for that tiny problem of letting you make a fantastic amount of U-turns when you're near. Oh, and a gazillion buttons to press to use the thing - brilliant when you're supposed to have your eyes on the road. I suspect that the guy who does the UI is Dutch and thus CYCLES to work, there is no way he (or she) can have used that interface in real life conditions. It's atrocious.. If the rest of the device wasn't so good I would not use TomTom, but the live updates are very useful in avoiding jams.

  12. MrJP

    I always coveted the TomTom whenever it came to sat-nav, as did a couple of my friends, that was until I upgraded my old nokia 6301 (that was stolen) to a SGSII and happened to come across the navigation on it. Coming from the stance that I still see and use my smartphone first & foremost as an actual phone, the fact that it happens to use excellent Google satellite imagery to plot and track your course is really quite amazing and really did turn said friends green when I used it to navigate us to and around London one weekend. I also like the way it caches your route to memory so that even though you might fall out of coverage, the imagery will automatically scale down from 'Sat' to 'Map' to just a beigey grid, all the while your blue route line is always crystal clear.

    N.B. - Yes, I know battery life is woefully dismal in comparison to a dedicated sat-nav but using the incar charger is no problem and screen size is the same. Well, I like it anyway.

  13. Dodgy Pilot

    I think I'd prefer a James May edition, although the POI narrative might require a few extra TB of storage...

    Clarkson should be deported to the USA where I'm sure he'd fit right in.

    1. MrT

      James May...

      ...would turn every journey into a guided tour - "Now if you'd just slow down a bit as you approach the next turning, there's an interesting point about the building just around the corner. Well, I say slow down 'a bit', but you'll have to pull over and stop for a few minutes to make it worthwhile...."

    2. Grease Monkey

      "Clarkson should be deported to the USA where I'm sure he'd fit right in."

      Funny you should say that, but Clarkson is very much anti-USA.

      One of the times he really made me laugh was when he was writing about Richard Littlejohn and his pro-US stance. He went on at length about Littlejohn's pro-US political views and finished with the line "if you cut him in half, I'd be grateful."

      The thing is that people who have never read much Clarkson make certain assumptions about him and his politics. Any viewer of Top Gear could tell you that he detests the US, I suspect however that few could tell you that he loves France. He doesn't like foxes because they eat his chickens, so you would assume that he's pro-fox hunting. Sorry no, although I suspect it's mostly because he doesn't much care for the social class that does most of it.

      Clarkson is with me on one thing. You shoulfn't choose your political and social views in a lump. You should have your very own views on every issue. The trouble is that most people are very simplistic (no matter how complex they believe themselves to be) and assume that everybody else is even simpler. So they assume that if they disagree with a person on one subject they will disagree with them on every subject.

      I agree with Clarkson on some things and disagree with him on others, the trouble with Clarkson's writing is that it's often hard to tell when he means it and when he's just saying it for a reaction. One thing to remember is that he is a Yorkshireman and I recall another journalist associated with motoring who played exactly the same game. One Roger Willis who created a cardboard cutout character designed to offend and entertain in equal part. The trouble is that with Willis as with Clarkson there were people who either didn't want to get the joke or weren't smart enough to spot it.

  14. Grease Monkey

    People's reaction to TG and "the other two" always amuse me. You get the ranters saying the BBC should replace Clarkson and those who find May or Hamster more entertaining without realising that almost everything you see on TG is scripted by JC. IOW TG and May and Hammond would be nowhere without JC.

    You can't be a fan of "new" TG without being a fan of Clarkson - it's almost all him. Watch the other output of May and Hammond and you'll find that they are just television presenters who will do just about anything for money. I suppose May has more integrity than Hammond, but that is just about it. There's nothing wrong with that, most people in TV seem to be pretty much the same, but please don't pretend that either of these two nurks or their shows would be even a quarter as successful without TG and Clarkson.

    It matters not whether you like the man, or the media character he has created, Clarkson is succesful and popular and your peurile ranting will not change that.

  15. Grease Monkey

    Time and again I've had problems with Tom Tom trying to send me up roads where I simply am not allowed to travel or would rather not travel (dirt tracks for example). Contacting Tom Tom has elicted one of two responses:

    They don't create the maps so it isn't their fault. Sorry guys, but I beg to differ, you sold me the map so it is your responsibility.

    I could update the map myself, which would also update everybody else's maps too. Sorry again, but updating the map while driving is potentially dangerous, not to mention of questionable legality and if you think I'm going to waste time parking up to correct the errors in your map you've got another think coming. If this thing were freeware or open source you could accept community input into the map, but customers are paying you a lot of money and as such should reasonably expect the maps to be accurate.

    Yes I spend a lot of time driving in rural areas, but what difference should that make?

    1. jason 7 Silver badge

      Yes TomTom road maps seem stuck at around 2004.

      I bought a TomTom One back in 2006 and updated the map with new ones three times and the same old turnings that had been physically gotten rid off years before still exist in TomTom land.

      I then bought a new Live Via (whatever) TomTom a few months ago and sod me if it still thinks its 2004. Tells me to go down loads of lanes and roads that have been turned into bus or cycles only, years ago.

      Appalling really.

      Oh and the new USB cable design is a really bad feature. Not easy to fit without actually taking the device off the window and a poor fit to boot.

      I think its the last TomTom I'll buy.

    2. Graham Marsden

      @Grease Monkey

      So TomTom gives you the ability to report map errors, but instead of doing so (by activating the button that lets you record the position of a map error), you choose, instead, to bitch about the fact that it's *their* responsibility to fix the mistakes.

      Of course given that you won't *tell* them where the mistakes are...

      BTW You might try installing TomTom Home on your PC, in which case you can connect your Sat Nav up to it, click on the button that runs a simulation of the device on screen and then access the locations of the map errors and type in details from your keyboard at your convenience.

      Technology, it's wonderful if you actually try using it properly...

      1. Grease Monkey

        @Graham Marsden Sorry I don't get it, why should end users put in time and effort to fix problems with the product? Would the vendors of any other consumer product expect that of their customers? They charge you over a hundred quid for what is essentially a map and it's absolutely riddled with errors and they expect the customer to fix it for them. *If* Tom Tom gave some sort of incentive for users to fix their maps for them then maybe it would make sense, but it doesn't.

        Other sat nav companies don't seem to suffer from the same problems. Used a car with iGo in it recently and it didn't exhibit a simple mapping error. Likewise Google maps used to make the same navigational errors as Tom Tom in a few areas I could mention. Google have fixed all the issues I was aware of, the last time I tried a Tom Tom they had not.

        I can only assume therefore that Tom Tom are either not buying the latest maps from the mapping companies or if they are for some reason they are not rolling them out to end users.

        "Technology, it's wonderful if you actually try using it properly..."

        Indeed it is. And in this case the people not using the technology properly are TomTom themselves.

  16. Anonymous IV

    Does any satnav firm use Charlotte Green's voice?


    1. John H Woods



  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just in ... BBC Commissions Gary Glitter to front new childrens TV show

    Makes as much sense as this wankers voice on a sat nav.

  18. Yet Another Commentard
    Paris Hilton


    If Clarkson can do metric, then how about a Reg Unit Tom Tom voice. Even if "turn left in four double decker buses" could be quite confusing.

    I wonder which celeb should voice it....

    1. Grease Monkey

      Clarkson is a francophile so I don't suppose he has any problems with metric mensuration.

    2. MrT

      Maurice Moss...


      Jen Barber for the slightly crazed version.

      Richmond Felicity Avenal for the surreal version.

  19. Richard Porter

    re. Charlotte Green

    Just what I was thinking when I saw your post.

  20. Stevie Silver badge


    I bought my wife a Tom-Tom GPS system. It's great. You can go anywhere you like provided you do so via Manhattan. Even if I set waypoints that make damn sure we go from Long Island via Staten Island crossing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, it usually begs us to turn around once we are in New Jersey so we can detour through Manhattan before resuming our journey.

    Bloody silly thing.

  21. miknik

    I had a Tomtom once....

    ...some little scrote nicked it.

    It had Live services, so was connected, yet there was no way for me to nuke the device from my Tomtom web account. If there had been it probably wouldn't have got nicked in the first place as the market for stolen ones would collapse.

    Anyway, long story short. If Clarkson buys me one I'll have it, but I won't spend another penny of my money on one just for some toe rag to pinch and sell for a score to buy himself a bag of #

    Sort it out Tomtom.

    1. Grease Monkey

      It's a GPS device FFS, rather than remote nuke why didn't the bloody thing have the capability to tell you or rather the police via TomTom themselves where the device was. Surely that's the second best anti-theft solution for a sat nav device.

  22. Lance 3


    James May was going to be included, but then TomTom realized that they would need to quadruple the storage to handle his ramblings and decided to drop him. Richard Hammond was to lend his voice as well, but he couldn't reach the microphone.

    1. Grease Monkey

      No there's no need to install Hammond's voice because he'll happilly do the job in person just so long as you pay him. I mean have you seen some of the shite he presents on TV? It's clear he'll do absolutely anything for money.

      1. Lance 3

        He's not on the TV where I am unless it is Top Gear.

        1. Grease Monkey

          It's hard to get rid of him in the UK.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it show the routes of way along the Isle of Man sea front?

    1. Grease Monkey

      What's a route of way?

  24. Herby Silver badge

    Satellite Navagation.

    "How hard can it be?"

    What a device like this needs is a way to input the owners name so the "voice" can properly insult you when you ask "Do you know the way to San Jose?"

    The proper response is "About 15 miles down I-280."

  25. Bernd Felsche

    TomToms suffer from brain damage

    I bought a TomTom thingummy on hols in Europe earlier this year because I don't speak Czech and Plzen seemed like a nice place to go for a few days. It was. But after returning back to Germany, I found that it at first refused to plan a new route. So I tried resetting to factory default. Which it said it couldn't because it couldn't write the file. OOPS!

    Fortunately, I had a backup (TomTom Nav 5 running on a Palm Treo 650) albeit with old maps. I managed to swap the broken unit at the retail chain which'd sold me the flakey unit. They had one with a smaller screen but gave me 10 Euros due to the price difference. As the replacement unit had maps of 19 European countries, I redeployed ownership to a worthy soul before returning down-under.

    Earlier this October, I still has store credit that was burning a hole in my wallet so decided to give the next generation (the 820) a go, live. All went well ... for a few weeks. Yesterday, before the first hookup to the interwebby (I had to first dig up a disused WinXP and update because TomTom don't support Linux) I was trying to fix some map errors and the screen blanked with a message saying domething like cannot read file:///blah/blah/blah ... OMG!

    But as the WinXP was finally catching up with patches, I decided to give doing an online update of the TomTom a spin before giving TomTo another piece of my mind. (I went online and saw the latest promotion ... the w@nkers are giving 3-years of map updates with new units sold... sold one week after I bought mine.) Well, the computer detected the device and I followed the twisty maze of passages, all alike ... and half an hour later had a re-flashed and updated 820.

    I hope that this version of firmware won't over-write its critical storage when a user innocently marks a different speed limit on a section of road or tries to customise the customisable menu.

    I suppose JC has to make his money somehow,. and his voice on TomTom is mostly harmless.

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