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Rebound Stream - Top Gear Team Resurrected by Amazon

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The odds of the original Top Gear trio bowing out for good were always pretty slim, even with ties to the BBC permanently and irreparably severed. Lead presenter and professional sack of hot air Jeremy Clarkson saw to that when he lost his temper during a shoot and punched producer Oisin Tymon in the face, splitting his lip. He was suspended initially, but around 2 weeks later his contract was scrapped and that seemed to signal an end for the BBC's enormously popular car show.
The title has since been brought back with radio DJ Chris Evans taking on presenting duties, his co-presenters aren't confirmed yet but rumours have suggested the likes of Jenson Button, Jodie Kidd and Guy Martin. Meanwhile, the old presenters have been embroiled in a bidding war between streaming services, all vying to sign them up for a new car show to carry on their questionable legacy (of pratting about).
The fight was largely between Amazon Prime and Netflix and now the former have won out, signing Clarkson, Hammond and May to produce a whole new program. It's a tac that the BBC have described as 'shrewd' (definitely not bitter), as it neatly sidesteps their contracted prevention from producing another UK-based car show for the next two years and also means that they don't have to worry about corporate or advertising pressure, since Amazon yields to neither. Clarkson is obviously fairly confident that it will pay off, he's already changed his Twitter bio to 'presenter on an Amazon motoring show'.
Amazon will be delighted about this. Their streaming service is oft ridiculed as a poor cousin to Netflix and although they already have a few hot titles under their belt (most notably Ripper Street), their subscription and viewer figures are likely nowhere near that of the red giant. Alongside the three presenters, Amazon have also signed original Top Gear producer Andy Wilman, who left the BBC when Clarkson did (the two of them go way back). It's a safe bet that whatever emerges will basically just be Top Gear in a different studio with a different name, but that's all anyone wants.
If you ask me, the three of them would be better to just move on and work on individual projects, they're all proven solo broadcasters and some of their previous efforts have been well-received, but nowhere near the record shattering 350 million-strong Top Gear viewer-ship. People will watch it religiously, for sure, but the concepts driving the show ran out of traction a long time ago. There's only so much mileage you can get out of 3 middle aged men pratting about with occasional bouts of car talk.
The other factor is the controversy continually stirred up by the show for almost the entirety of its BBC run. Clarkson and Hammond both faced massive public backlash after saying various racist, misogynist or otherwise unpleasant things on the air and while the BBC was always able to pull them out of the fire, it was never easy. Amazon probably won't be so inclined to defend them if anything like that happens again, given they already have a pretty unfortunate reputation to account for. It's just a case of whether or not Clarkson will have the foresight to tread more lightly this time around.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Rebound Stream - Top Gear Team Resurrected by Amazon Reviewed by Callum Davies on Thursday, July 30, 2015 Rating: 5

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