By Tania Phillips
BBC Knowledge, Mondays, 9.30pm
This was once pretty much the biggest show in the world – three guys sitting around talking about and driving cars that most of us are never going to see let alone get behind the wheel.
Why did it work? The personalities, the mateship between Richard Hammond and James May and probably most of us wondering who Jeremy Clarkson was going to offend next. Of course when Clarkson was dismissed and the other two decided not to renew their contracts, the whole thing went off track but after a year with radio personality Chris Evans at the helm it has now returned to the “three guys sitting around talking about cars” format.
And guess what?
It might actually be working.
This time the three guys are former Friends star Matt LeBlanc, Sky TV presenter Rory Reid and motoring journalist Chris Harris, and while they are yet to become Hammond, May and Clarkson there does seem to be an interesting dynamic developing. Throw in excitable German race driver Sabine Schmitz and Eddie Jordan (and of course Stig) and it looks like the format might actually be working again.
Of course, it does help that we are back to seeing our favourite stars driving around in a track in a car we might one day be able to afford (though David Tennant did ding it on the second show) and that LeBlanc is pretty charismatic (viewers in the UK went wild when he did a Bond skit). But can Top Gear really strike gold again? Only time and ratings will tell!