We’ve ranted a lot recently about the lack of good TV on at the moment, but just because it’s not a brand new programme we mustn’t forget to give credit where it’s due to the current series of Top Gear.
In amidst the hundreds of repeats, the latest series of Top Gear is a shining beacon of entertainment, a perfect Sunday night treat for anyone who (like me) is already bored of Dancing on Ice, or was never into it in the first place.
Perhaps the best thing about this series is the transformation of Richard Hammond, something I’ve been praying for for ages. His hair has been cut nicely, his beaded necklace, if it hasn’t gone, is hidden and someone (probably his wife) seems to have chucked out his cowboy boots and open-necked shirts. He only needs to ditch the man-scarf and he’ll be restored to his former glory, in the days before his mini-midlife style crisis.
The programme itself is as good as ever, bringing us exploding caravans, drag races, amazing supercars, stars in the reasonably priced C apostrophe D and the Stig’s Chinese cousin taking out half the production team.
Last night’s episode was my favourite of the series so far, prompting me to silent laugh Michael Mcinytre stylee, more than I have since Jeremy invented the Sports’ train. It saw not only the very handsome and funny Ryan Reynolds getting his wish by beating Tom Cruise’s lap time but also Jeremy and Hammond being allowed to film a car chase for a new remake of The Sweeney starring Ray Winstone.
Hammond wanted to bring The Sweeney up to date with helicopters, explosions and big smashes. Surprisingly Jeremy was passionate about bringing realism to their chase. Cue two extremes at loggerheads – Jeremy concocting dialogue about the anti-lock braking system (to be spoken with a Borat accent…obviously) while Hammond quietly filled a caravan with petrol ready to blow it up. Needless to say chaos ensued, with highlights including Jeremy and the actors’ game attempts at a “Serbian” accent, Jeremy wearing a very convincing Ray Winstone wig and the director doing a lot of bleeped-out swearing.
I’m sure there’ll be critics out there, disappointed that Top Gear is becoming still more a comedy show about cars and about the guys themselves, rather than something for serious petrol-heads. On the whole though I think most viewers like what they’re doing and it’s a perfect Sunday night laugh.
Still, if it was to all go wrong, the lads needn’t worry. It seems they have a very promising career in filming car based stunts waiting for them if they choose. And if that fails, there’s still Scum Class to launch. And that’s a surefire hit.
If you missed it, catch the series on iPlayer.