Steve Corby - Rear View - MOTOR said:Putting out a good car magazine is piss easy, obviously. If you've ever met the tightrope-walking-over-disaster-on-a-worn-shoestring crew at MOTOR, you'll know what I mean. A more shambolic bunch would be hard to find this side of a footy team on a stag night.
As long as there's stong images of hornbag cars, just about any monkey with two fingers can write the words that fill the spaces between the pictures.
Making a motoring television show seems to be rather more difficult. In fact, if you've seen various Australian attempts, it's almost as hard as making Neighbours entertaining, or hiring real actors to work on it. Our local car shows have been, with a few rare exceptions, winsome, wincing rubbish. It shouldn't be so hard, but finding the right combination of effortlessly humorous and televisually-relaxed talent - and a bottomless budget - isn't easy.
Top Gear, without a doubt the most powerful car show in history, has the formula just right - and the BBC knows the most important ingredient is money, and enough of it to provide documentary-style production values and pay the most polished presenters.
Personally, I'm always mystified that I haven't been asked to be on TV yet, but then I don't have mirrors in my house and I avoid them the way Paris Hilton spurns poor people.
But whenever I've pondered the world of the magic box beofre, I'm struck by the inalienable truth that being on TV turns you into a wanker (with the exception of David Morley, or course, and those likely to job me after reading that).
A large part of the reason Top Gear succeeds can be defeind in two words - 'Jeremy' and 'Clarkson'.
No need to worry about inflating his ego to dangerous levels because that happened years ago, and besides a very public punch in the face back then from English egotist, Piers Morgan, not much dents his self-belief. But the thing is, I've discovered that it is impossible to actually say the words: "I like Jeremy Clarkson, I really do," and mean it.
Sure, we all find him hilarious, and his motoring columns in The Sunday Times and Top Gear mag are the sort of writing that tickles your ribs and makes you snort, bnut unfortunately his TV persona is, to put it polietely, annoying. Even less politely, he's a noxious, foppish farquit who's so up himself his hair is turning into distressed denim.
Any doubt about his character should be dispelled by his behaviour at the British Press Gazette awards night a few years back. When Clarkson, absurdly, didn't win Motoring Correspondent of the Year, he threw a petulant fit, chanting the word "C..t!" at the top of his voice, throughout the winner's acceptance speech. The winner was none other than his old Top Gear mate, Quentin Wilson.
It's okay for us to hate him, because he searingly despises all Australians - except the Vauxhall Monaro, which he hates himself for loving. Still Clarkson is, curse it, magnetic, even if his core is made out of tea and blue English blood.
Co-hosts James May and the diminutive but, according to my better half "cute", Richard Hammond (I prefer to call him "little Dick Hammond"), don't seem to like him much, either.
One thing that makes the show so watchable that it's loved even by women who have less interest in cars than a budgie in a cage that's never seen one, is the personalities of the presenters, and the way they bounce off one another.
Mind you, their ideas aren't half bad either. Recently I chortled my way through watching Road Test Russian Roulette, in which May and Hammond spent the evening working for Scootermen - a service in London that goes to the aid of drunk people, throws a tiny, collapsible scooter in their boot and then gives them a lift home - reviewing whatever car they drove home. That's pure and simple genius - you know it's going to work without even seeing it.
On Australian car shows we're still seeing tiresome and toothsome presenters do very serious, long-winded and formatted road-tests - and they're not filmed with any of the panache of Top Gear's motoring montages.
Of course, there's no way we can really compete with a show that has its own test track, and its own tame racing driver, The Stig, but hopefully one day we'll do something a little closer to the mark.
In the meantime, 12-month-old episodes of Top Gear will have to do. And you thought the multicultural broadcaster was only good for Sex Between Soccer.
Well after all that, I have to say that I don't find Clarkson annoying, and I believe he would be a good laugh a a really boring dinner party.
I can't say that I really like/dislike him because I haven't really met him. I doubt you have too Steve Corby.
In fact, Steve, most of that article was pretty tired and unimaginative. Sex Before Soccer? Wow, that knackered joke has been around since the advent of SBS.