A simple suggestion: A Top Gear Spin-off focused only on cars

upyourego

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The problem with increasing the car content is that Top Gear, in recent years, has started to attract a new dedicated audience of people who watch the show FOR the stunts and messing about who turn off when it gets to car heavy or to technical.

There are two audiences for the show now 1) who watch the show for the interesting, funny and different car reviews, news and information and a 2) who watch the show for three middle aged men acting like small children and playing silly games.

The second audience is 'potentially' a considerable amount bigger than the first.

As someone in the second I personally would have NO PROBLEM with f1anatic's idea of them dedicating half of a couple of episodes a series to pure car news and reviews, a couple to messing about and then maybe an epic race and a 'foreign adventure' special.
 

edkwon

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The problem with increasing the car content is that Top Gear, in recent years, has started to attract a new dedicated audience of people who watch the show FOR the stunts and messing about who turn off when it gets to car heavy or to technical.
i.e. pandering to the lowest common denominator of the TV watching audience.
 

Cucciolotto

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That should interest us all: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1228422/How-Top-Gear-conquered-world-humour-dedication-determination.html

TG is more popular than ever and is approaching its peak (if not already done) but like all good things, it will one day have to end.
Personally it still is THE tv program I never miss but I also reckon that it is starting to look like a bit deja vu: the compulsory supercar, the foreign adventure with hundreds of incidents, the smashing of anything (caravans preferably), the stock-bus/truck/old banger race, the final determination that this or that car is better than the other because it is half a second faster on its fast lap, the part where they buy a very cheap car and have a few challenges, and so on.

It is starting to become very very predictable I'm afraid unless they renew the show (not all at once but gradually) I give them another two years before a fall from grace, there's only so much we spectators can be fed with, variety is the spice of life (ask Tiger Woods :mrgreen:)

So to renew itself I think the show needs (or will need in a not so distant future) to get back to basics and show the Fiestas and Clios (and not only the turbo charged) that Joe Bloggs can afford, so in that respect f1anatic's idea is rather good, re-focus even a little bit, on cars.
 

upyourego

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Just because someone isn't interested in cars - but instead in a beautifully shot programme and the sense of humour of its presenters doesn't make them the lowest common denominator.

I couldn't give a toss about cars, how fast they go, how fast they get to a certain speed or even how fast they stop - but I do enjoy Top Gear - A LOT - and the reason is the chemistry between the hosts.

I actually skip the pure reviews or track bits when I watch shows back on my computer as I don't find them interesting - doesn't mean I don't think they should be there as they are part of the wide mix that makes up a series of Top Gear.

It would lose a large chunk of its audience (back down to a normal BBC Two audience of 2-3 million) if it went back to the way it was in the early series (1-6) which I'm not convinced either BBC Two, BBC Worldwide or Clarkson would want as Top Gear is now a mass industry all on its own.
 

shellygrrl

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There are two audiences for the show now 1) who watch the show for the interesting, funny and different car reviews, news and information and a 2) who watch the show for three middle aged men acting like small children and playing silly games.
Actually, I'd argue there's a third audience: the one who watches for a bit of both.
 

Austere

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Just because someone isn't interested in cars - but instead in a beautifully shot programme and the sense of humour of its presenters doesn't make them the lowest common denominator.
I respectfully disagree. There is no humour in Top Gear and there are no comedic actors in it either. The quality of the jokes, performances, set-ups and slapstick routines is extremely poor and most of the jokes are about penises and homosexuals now. Oh look, A man who looks vaguely like Jesus Christ. That's funny every single time, isn't it?
Only someone with a very low standard, who could laugh at anything, would find it funny. Which is what I believe he meant when he said 'the lowest common denominator'.

I couldn't give a toss about cars.
Then stop watching Top Gear so that they can aim the content back at those of us who do.

Here, name another show that you think is funny. Go on. Name as many as you can. If you can laugh at Jeremy Clarkson pretending to spontaneously fall into a cardboard toilet you can surely laugh at many other shows. Please begin listing them.

Now name one other car show that has ever been even remotely close to being as good as Top Gear in its heyday. Don't you dare say Fifth Gear. For the love of god, don't say Fifth Gear. If you say Fifth Gear I think I'll fucking snap.
 

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I love car oriented shows, but the audience is just way to small. Thats why top gear isn't what it was back before the re-launch of the current format, not enough people care. In Canada we have a show called motoring (http://www.motoringtv.com/) but it gets a very small audience and has been relegated to Saturday mornings. (I think you can watch episodes online, if your into a fairly north american perspective on motoring I highly recommend it.) Its a great show, but I can understand why top gear went into a different direction.
I don't watch top gear for the cars anymore, because thats really not what its about. People complain that it should be more of a car program, but in reality we'd probably have no top gear at all if they went in that direction. Look what happened to the original, and now fifth gear. I appreciate a good car program, but I don't think its realistic for top gear or any incarnation of top gear to ever really be what car fans are looking for. If anything, british car fans should be hoping for a completely un-top gear related show, hosted by somebody like Tiff, on one of the lower level networks as far as viewership goes. Maybe a sky sports show or bbc 3 or something.
 

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I had another thought on the way in this morning........

Whilst in the usual queue for a particular roundabout there was an Audi TT in the other lane, and when it crawled past me I noticed it was the 3.2 V6 DSG.

"So what?" I hear you cry. Well think back to Jeremy's review of that model some years ago. It was carefully constructed to illustrate a particular point about how TT drivers are always late due the hours of preening they require before they go out. It was funny, informative, and to my mind at least watchable enough even for those of us who aren't major petrolheads.

These days there just doesn't seem to be that same level of thought and care put into what they do. Sure the cocking about quotient has increased and I accept that as inevitable due to the increased audience figures and less car-focused demographic of that audience, but by the same token the quality of the actual car reviews they do has declined markedly. Whether that is due to time constraints or the fact that much more of their energy is directed into the "big" productions I can't say. What I can do is concur with the sentiment that they seem to be doing it because it's a job, because they have to and less because they want to and are having fun doing it.

Andy Wilman did say not that long ago in one of his pre-season blogs that they are approaching burn-out. I would suggest they've reached that point or are at least very close to it and I for one I would be happy to survive on repeats on Dave and 2/3 specials for a year to give the whole team a decent break and a chance for the sparkle to return.
 

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Plenty of people, myself included, have been rather unhappy to see Top Gear forge a path towards entertainment and away from automobiles in these recent years. We cry out for more cars and fewer space shuttles.

I just thought of a brilliant solution to this problem: A TOP GEAR SPIN-OFF! One that focuses only on cars! Still with the three stooges and with the same crew, but in this edition there would be no flying caravans or explosions. Just car reviews.

They could keep old Top Gear as it is, just produce this spinoff to satisfy the serious car-nut demand that we all know exists.
I would watch that, definitely. It would also help make me not dislike Top Gear as much because I would have something to satisfy the facts-and-details nerd in me and Top Gear would be the "entertainment" show (I know Top Gear is already the entertainment show now, but thats not why I started watching it).
 

dageshi

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It pains me to say it but it does seem to me like they've run out of things to do, I get the feeling they were doing an entertaining car show and then suddenly they got a gob of money and could do all the ideas they'd ever wanted to do. And by god if it wasn't some of the best television ever made. But those ideas eventually run out and I think this season we're hitting a wall so to speak. I think taking a break, doing less episodes maybe or dare I say it just sticking to doing some specials would be a good idea. I think we'd all agree we still want to watch top gear, but we want the boys back on full form, if that means less episodes, so be it.
 

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I think the number of really new forum members (50 posts or less) who are echoing the opinion that despite loving Top Gear are already admitting the current trend of jokes and humour over substance is growing tired and repetetive....is saying something.

Those of you who keep insisting that Top Gear is currently fine the way it is and shouldnt be messed with....please open your eyes and ears. The show really needs to scale back and return a bit to the basics before it alienates both audiences, then maybe after a few years it can go back to the brainless jokes that make so much of the current fanbase happy.

One thing I notice about the newer fans of the show (or those who prefer it now compared to older seasons) is that they demand immediate satisfaction in the here and now vs thinking about the long term health and viability of the programme, whereas the older fans seem to look at the big picture scenario.
 

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I think the number of really new forum members (50 posts or less) who are echoing the opinion that despite loving Top Gear are already admitting the current trend of jokes and humour over substance is growing tired and repetetive....is saying something.

Those of you who keep insisting that Top Gear is currently fine the way it is and shouldnt be messed with....please open your eyes and ears. The show really needs to scale back and return a bit to the basics before it alienates both audiences, then maybe after a few years it can go back to the brainless jokes that make so much of the current fanbase happy.

One thing I notice about the newer fans of the show (or those who prefer it now compared to older seasons) is that they demand immediate satisfaction in the here and now vs thinking about the long term health and viability of the programme, whereas the older fans seem to look at the big picture scenario.
Dammit, need to spread a little happiness elsewhere first. But well said anyway.
 

Cucciolotto

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One thing I notice about the newer fans of the show (or those who prefer it now compared to older seasons) is that they demand immediate satisfaction in the here and now vs thinking about the long term health and viability of the programme, whereas the older fans seem to look at the big picture scenario.
Yes Edkwon, but bear in mind that being new on this forum just means that we either found this forum recently or that we just decided to post on it. I haven't yet 15 posts to my name yet I have been watching (and re-watching on Dave) TG for donkey's years an several times over. For instance a younger lad who's been a fan for just a season and has posted 1001 times on this forum wouldn't certainly then be a bigger fan (if there's such a thing) than me.
That was a little point I wanted to make. :)

Other than that I think you are spot on. ;)
 

edkwon

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Yes Edkwon, but bear in mind that being new on this forum just means that we either found this forum recently or that we just decided to post on it. I haven't yet 15 posts to my name yet I have been watching (and re-watching on Dave) TG for donkey's years an several times over. For instance a younger lad who's been a fan for just a season and has posted 1001 times on this forum wouldn't certainly then be a bigger fan (if there's such a thing) than me.
That was a little point I wanted to make. :)

Other than that I think you are spot on. ;)
Yes, some new forums members (but long time lovers of the show) are pretty easy to tell by the way the word things in their posts. Many of these are the new forums members I was referring to. And you're right, just because someone here has posted 2000-3000 times on the forums doesnt make them a bigger fan of the show if they lack perspective.

It just means they spend a lot of time on the internet (i'm not innocent of this either, but at least I can admit it) :lol:
 

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The thing with this "focus only on cars" question is that this series is arguably just as focused on cars. There was always some gimmick, twist, or different approach to a test, and that was fine, and it worked. People complain about the Renault, but that was a car focused segment. Caravan airship? It was a Lamborghini review with an airship for punctuation, no different from the "we race a man to review a car" thing they have done, well, forever. There's a shitload of car focus right now. Yes, there are things like the Geoff and the whole racing thing, but every episode has something of a new model review.

I'm not saying that the current series is perfect, but what I am saying is that nobody here seems to have any clue how to fix it. A "car-only" spin off won't help when the writing is inconsistent and many segments seem a bit old, which is the real problem. In fact, dividing up the production would likely just make things much worse. Frankly, dropping TG Live would probably do way more good than any pointless spin off.
 

shellygrrl

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I'm not saying that the current series is perfect, but what I am saying is that nobody here seems to have any clue how to fix it. A "car-only" spin off won't help when the writing is inconsistent and many segments seem a bit old, which is the real problem. In fact, dividing up the production would likely just make things much worse. Frankly, dropping TG Live would probably do way more good than any pointless spin off.
As much as I would love to see TG Live (which, honestly, would be a bloody miracle, given I live in the wrong country for that ;)), if dropping it means doing the normal show more good, I'm cool with that. I'd rather lose TG Live than the telly show.

I think the closest thing to a proper solution here is MWF's suggestion: TAKE A BREAK. The trio go away, work on other projects, spend time with their loved ones, maybe do a special or two; then come back refreshed and reinvigorated. It worked between Series 9 and 10 (or, if you want to be super-pedantic, between Series 9 and the Polar Special); I say it can work again.
 
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Cucciolotto

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I'm not saying that the current series is perfect, but what I am saying is that nobody here seems to have any clue how to fix it.
f1anatic had this idea of a half and half. Half the seriousness and the cars, and half the students jokes. There is a compromise that could be done: remember the tests between the Honda Jazz, Peugeot 1007 and Renault Modus? That was perfect to me, the jokes as well as a proper drive test.

And when I say "cars", I say cars you and I would envisage. I have seen enough Ferraris, Zondas, Lambos and Bugattis drifting on an airfield for a lifetime. I don't think the majority of the TG audience is 15 anymore and to drive a supercar is only fun for the three musketeers and Stig, not for the viewers.
And the fast lap has had its day, don't care if the 2009 Ferrari is half a second faster than the 2008 Ferrari, and please stop deciding a car is better than the other because it is faster too, we don't get to drift and do 200 mph anyway on our roads.
A student wants to know about a Clio or Fiesta, a family man wants to know about a Scenic or a Focus C Max, a hairdresser (sorry for the stereotype :mrgreen:) wants to know about a Tigra or a 207 CC and so on......
Call me cynical but along the years the success of TG and the money that follows Hammond may and Clarkson have forgotten where they came from, have forgotten about the working class, hence the many laughters about the Peugs, Vauxhalls and Dacias (except for May on that one) everytime they're mentioned on the show......

Today, bet that Clarkson wouldn't recognize his Focus from his Megane.
 
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2Billion

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f1anatic had this idea of a half and half. Half the seriousness and the cars, and half the students jokes. There is a compromise that could be done: remember the tests between the Honda Jazz, Peugeot 1007 and Renault Modus? That was perfect to me, the jokes as well as a proper drive test.

And when I say "cars", I say cars you and I would envisage. I have seen enough Ferraris, Zondas, Lambos and Bugattis drifting on an airfield for a lifetime. I don't think the majority of the TG audience is 15 anymore and to drive a supercar is only fun for the three musketeers and Stig, not for the viewers.
And the fast lap has had its day, don't care if the 2009 Ferrari is half a second faster than the 2008 Ferrari, and please stop deciding a car is better than the other because it is faster too, we don't get to drift and do 200 mph anyway on our roads.
A student wants to know about a Clio or Fiesta, a family man wants to know about a Scenic or a Focus C Max, a hairdresser (sorry for the stereotype :mrgreen:) wants to know about a Tigra or a 207 CC and so on......
Call me cynical but along the years the success of TG and the money that follows Hammond may and Clarkson have forgotten where they came from, have forgotten about the working class, hence the many laughters about the Peugs, Vauxhalls and Dacias (except for May on that one) everytime they're mentioned on the show......

Today, bet that Clarkson wouldn't recognize his Focus from his Megane.
TG has never been a working class hero, nor do you want them to be (believe it or not). Testing a hairdresser's car isn't going to maintain your audience, and it's not going to even maintain the presenter's interest. In those much lauded early days, the cars tested were all interesting in some way (or were made interesting due to the nature of the test). If they weren't interesting, the show sputtered to a halt until the presenters moved on, or were the subject of a gimmicky adventure. The Jazz/Modus/1007 wasn't compelling because of the cars - in fact, the cars were mostly forgettable - it was compelling because it was about three boys and their moms. The moms were why that segment worked, not the regular cars. Yeah, some cheap stuff would be neat - Citroen Berlingo and competition would be pretty cool, because they are generally interesting vehicles - but you're asking for a show that really wouldn't maintain interest, even with presenters at the top of their form. You're not just providing consumer advice, you're trying to make compelling television. Consumer advice is something which can be better accomplished in magazine form (which is why I imagine TG Mag exists).

Honestly, shellygrrl probably has the right idea. A break, a vacation, time away from TG and the pressure surrounding it. That's why I suggested pulling TG Live, it takes a lot of effort.
 
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shellygrrl

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Cucciolotto, you are aware that both Jeremy and Richard write car reviews for the Times and Mirror, respectively, right? (While James does have a weekly column in the motoring section of the Telegraph, it's mainly very random, though in a recent one he did write about the Dacia Sandero.) And you know that James's regular car is a Fiat Panda (which, last I checked, is very reasonably priced), don't you?

Also, I don't recall much laughter about Vauxhall's VXR8 (Bathurst edition or otherwise).

If they were to go back to reviewing sensible cars all the time, they'd have to keep it interesting. Otherwise, it'd be boring. And, really, I'd rather they didn't review sensible cars all the time; besides, most people can test drive those cars for themselves.

Part of TG's appeal for me is the fantasy/automotive pornography factor--the ability to see cars tested that the majority of us will probably never see in the flesh. So no, I'm not bored at looking at the Ferraris, Zondas, Lambos, Bugattis, and the like; nor am I bored with seeing Stig thrash cars around the track. By the way, age fifteen, for me, was fourteen years ago; and I became a TG fan last year.
 
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