almostwitty: (monkey)

So the BBC are finally airing the US edition(s) of Top Gear, and watching it is quite instructive about the perceived difference between our two nations.

On the plus side, it’s definitely got higher production values, and the image looks better – and it’s not as if the UK version was done on a shoestring. This could be down to better camerawork and a higher budget – or simply because the sun shines for longer in the US.

On the minus side, Major Exposition is at home here. The presenters seem to have an incessant need to explain EVERYTHING. Right down to The Stig – when the whole point of The Stig is that he isn’t explained, he’s just there. A mystery wrapped in a drivers’ uniform. Explaining that he’s an enigma somewhat undermines the whole point of him being an enigma. They have to explain what the Big Star, Small Car segment is all about. And when the big stars are racing around the track, they include a helpful diagram of where the star is on the track for … what good reason?

To be fair, I’m comparing a mature TV show against another show on its debut episode. And on the plus side, there seem to be far more Chinese/Asian people in the audience in the US version than the UK one… Oh, and the Stig is animated in the US version. Which is kinda cool.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)
Ob. disclaimer - these views are mine alone, and nobody else's

I happened to be in a doctors' waiting room when Sky News excitedly flashed that they had footage of the Real Stig. People actually looked up to see some handsome chap walk away from the High Court. Then they said "Ben who?", and went back to their business.

Obviously, I'm not Ben Collins - or Stig 3.0 for that matter - but I'm perplexed as to how many people would want to buy The Stig's Autobiography, now we know it's a racing driver who nobody's really heard of. I can understand he wants to make some money out of being "The Stig" - but surely the money's in staying gainfully employed by the BBC and BBC Worldwide to walk around in a racing helmet, as opposed to 10 seconds of brief public exposure before he realises that nobody really cares who The Stig is. The fun is in the facade.

almostwitty: (Default)

People carriers. They’re for married couples who have been overactive with their loins, and suddenly find themselves in charge of four screaming mini-me’s who they don’t really like, and so decide to keep them out of the house as much as humanly possible by keeping them active in endless football / karate / ballet lessons, which involve using up what’s left of the Earth’s oil resources to ferry them around, so that by the time the kids are old enough to inherit a planet choking in carbon emissions and rising sea levels, at least they’ll know how to dance to Swan Lake. Although they’ll have never seen a swan.

To avert this terrible fate for people carriers everywhere, my ex-uni mate Di (who is usually seen generally cooking up amazingly silly ideas – she could be a Kari Byron for the Birmingham edition of Mythbusters) has turned a people carrier into a mobile disco, which is a much more sensible use of such a car. Watch the video, and then go and vote for her idea.

Maybe I’ve been watching too much Top Gear…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

People carriers. They’re for married couples who have been overactive with their loins, and suddenly find themselves in charge of four screaming mini-me’s who they don’t really like, and so decide to keep them out of the house as much as humanly possible by keeping them active in endless football / karate / ballet lessons, which involve using up what’s left of the Earth’s oil resources to ferry them around, so that by the time the kids are old enough to inherit a planet choking in carbon emissions and rising sea levels, at least they’ll know how to dance to Swan Lake. Although they’ll have never seen a swan.

To avert this terrible fate for people carriers everywhere, my ex-uni mate Di (who is usually seen generally cooking up amazingly silly ideas – she could be a Kari Byron for the Birmingham edition of Mythbusters) has turned a people carrier into a mobile disco, which is a much more sensible use of such a car. Watch the video, and then go and vote for her idea.

Maybe I’ve been watching too much Top Gear…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)
(DO NOT READ if you want to be told that Santa doesn't exist...)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/4303450/Stig-mystery-reignited-amid-claims-he-is-played-by-four-actors.html

(bonus geek points if you get the title reference) 
almostwitty: (evil)
I'm not a car person - I drive an elderly Daewoo Matiz with all the power of a lawnmower - and yet, Top Gear is one of the reasons why I value paying my BBC licence fee. (The other reasons being Dragons' Den, Doctor Who, Newsnight - oh, and it's illegal and immoral for me not to!)

So the news that the Top Gear team are going on tour around the world sounds really good, especially sine the first performance is round the corner. Does this mean, though, there'll be less new Top Gear on our screens? There's only so many repeats on Dave that I can watch ... actually, that's a lie. I happily leave multiple repeats of Top Gear on as nice background noise all the time!

Anyone else excited at the prospect of Top Gear Live?
almostwitty: (Default)
I'd forgotten how simply fantastic this particular edition of Top Gear was. If you want to see what three middle-aged British men make of America (well, Florida and the Deep South) watch away:

almostwitty: (evil)
Richard Hammond on Top Gear 7 Oct 2007

So on Sunday night I settled down on the sofa, like most of the British population, for the new series of the fantastic Top Gear - the programme for people who like silly blokes.

But oh dear oh dear oh dear. What on earth is Richard Hammond wearing? I know he's the girliest presenter on the testosterone-laden programme by a long shot, but even so someone should have had a word in his ear about that jacket. Whatever was written on it, it looked too well-designed, as if it was a jacket from Top Shop that a girlfriend had bought for her reluctant fella. Which, come to think of it, is probably what happened. (bear in mind I'm not usually moved to write in an angry fashion about what television presenters are wearing!)

But it gets worse. During the film the presenters made driving around Europe in super sportcars looking for the ideal road, Richard is always seen wearing a namby-pamby necklace. Not a silver or gold one, but a chunky black one. Just like the kind of necklace I was reluctantly persuaded into wearing during one summer weekend in Italy. And it looked as wrong and girly on him as it did on me.

He's a television presenter. He's run PR agencies. He ought to know what is relatively acceptable and unacceptable to a Top Gear audience. What gives?

And another thing, the Top Gear team seem to have decided that what makes a great road primarily consists of steep bends and turns up and down sheer mountain peaks. Have they ever tried driving into mid-Wales late at night? It's not exhilerating then, let me tell you - mind-numbingly dull, tedious and dangerous comes to mind. Give me six shimmering lanes of concrete any day of the week!

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