Top Gear show to be renamed 'Clarkson, Hammond and May Live'

Stig wars: does Top Gear need Clarkson or not?

Stig wars: does Top Gear need Clarkson or not?

Top Gear’s former Stig, Ben Collins, has hit out at Jeremy Clarkson – saying the show would “carry on and continue to be successful” without him if he was to be axed following his fracas with a producer.

Clarkson is currently facing an internal investigation, headed by the director of BBC Scotland Ken McQuarrie, following the alleged altercation.

The presenter hinted in Sunday’s copy of the Sun newspaper that he was a “dinosaur” and it was time to move on – and Ben Collins, who appeared as the Stig from 2003 to 2010, has said Clarkson isn’t the only reason people watch Top Gear.

He told Radio Times magazine: “Top Gear has achieved huge status and Jeremy has certainly been part of that because he’s got such a big personality… he’s an unstoppable force.

“But fans of the programme love it for lots of different reasons. Jeremy is certainly one of them, but not the only one.

“The Bond franchise… changes and moves forward. Top Gear will always continue… It will carry on and continue to be successful because millions of people watch it.”

But his Stig predecessor, Perry McCarthy, who appeared on the show from 2002 to 2003 spoke out last week – saying Top Gear wouldn’t be the same without Clarkson.

He said: “I personally find it really difficult to associate Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson… Jeremy brings a show about cars alive every week – the way he looks at stuff, the way he describes it, and that sheer fun that he, Richard and James have comes out of the camera.

“Obviously some of it’s scripted, obviously some of it’s practiced, but what you’re getting is fun – and that’s a real, genuine fun, it’s not one of these forced kind of interview shows about cars. They’re making everyone engage with it. If Jeremy is allowed back to work and Top Gear continues, then long may it go on.”

Which Stig do you agree with? Would Top Gear be the same without Jeremy Clarkson? And if he was to go, who could replace him?

45 replies
  1. aaaaaarrrrrgh
    aaaaaarrrrrgh says:

    No, Clarkson isn’t the only reason people watch Top Gear. Them chemistry between Clarkson, May, & Hammond is the reason people watch Top Gear. If you eliminate Clarkson, you lose that important ingredient.

    • Ryan Quinn
      Ryan Quinn says:

      This is VERY dead on. When I thought about it, the chemistry between the hosts is exactly what keeps me watching the show. When you watch other versions, like the American “Top Gear”, they seem to try and imitate the comradery and chemistry. It just doesn’t feel as natural as it does between Hammond, May, and Clarkson.

  2. Richard Strickler
    Richard Strickler says:

    My own personal view is that without Jeremy there is no top gear, I have no great fondness for Formula 1 I really do not get most of the England based comments and references or the politics, But I DO get Jeremy and the blokes, they have a great Chemistry that will be completely ruined without Clarkson on board.

  3. Earle
    Earle says:

    The show can continue without Jeremy but with a lot fewer viewers. Which
    then raises the question of, how much longer would it go on? The chemistry between Clarkson, Hammond, & May makes the show as successful as it is.
    The bosses need to relax and grow thicker skin towards frivolous complaints.

  4. Duskrider
    Duskrider says:

    Look at how well the other Top Gear shows have done and you have your answer. The rest are okay at best or worse than okay. That will be the fate of British Top Gear without Clarkson. So, what Earle said.

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      Top Gear USA Failed miserably. I liked it in the beginning when they talked car news and were closer to the UK top gear but after a few years it got to be the same thing. Take 3 cars and pit them against each other in a contest. Thats fun but it got old after a while.

  5. Sean
    Sean says:

    I live in America, and can’t STAND the American Top Gear presenters. Totally unlikable, boring show here in the states.

  6. Troy Young
    Troy Young says:

    Top Gear is actually a success because of the three of them. Take any of them out of the mix and it wouldn’t be the same. So it is more than just Clarkson but I don’t see how it continues without all three of them as a team. Especially if the other two leave as well and start their own motoring program.

  7. Brandon Stauffer
    Brandon Stauffer says:

    Top gear would go on without him but it wont be the same and honestly i feel it would definitely hurt the show at this point.

  8. Sabre20000
    Sabre20000 says:

    I live in the US and I do NOT watch the US Top Gear. Why? Because the hosts are boring and basically suck at being funny or having a good banter back and forth. I watch Top Gear UK because their hosts are great fun and they play well off of each other. Screw that up UK Top Gear and thousands/millions won’t care to watch.

    • FreeJack
      FreeJack says:

      Agreed. The US Top Gear was a bad idea from the start and I knew it wouldn’t work, because what makes Top Gear work IS the talent. There have been tons of shows about automobiles over the years, but Top Gear is where it is because of the on-camera talent and the writing. They will not be able to replicate the chemistry Clarkson and company have created, with someone new.

      • Ryan Quinn
        Ryan Quinn says:

        What you say actually makes sense. Taking Clarkson out and replacing him would be like the British version of Charlie Sheen leaving “Two and a Half Men”.

    • Fritzo2162
      Fritzo2162 says:

      The main reason Top Gear doesn’t work in the US is the show is based on sponsors…therefore you can’t say anything bad about a new car or you lose sponsorship. UK TV doesn’t have to worry about that.

      Also the UK version’s hosts make you genuinely feel like they’re experts and experienced in different fields. The US version feels like 3 dolts in a bar were picked at random and they hoped things would work out.

      • Johnathan Pertolick
        Johnathan Pertolick says:

        “The main reason Top Gear doesn’t work in the US is the show is based on sponsors…therefore you can’t say anything bad about a new car or you lose sponsorship. UK TV doesn’t have to worry about that.”

        That’s not true. We have all kinds of extremely offensive television content, much worse than tame Top Gear, that is filled up with major advertising sponsorship between the breaks.

        Even if it did, we Americans put such big budgets into our television shows that sponsorship is irrelevant. Our biggest budget and most successful shows often come from no-sponsorship models on HBO or Netflix.

        I could see Clarkson, Hammond and May signing a $200M, 2 season contract with Netflix, with budgets like $5M per episode (almost 10X more than it currently has lol). That’s a realistic option in America.

        • NotQuite
          NotQuite says:

          Johnathan, you’re missing the point. The idea is that they can’t properly take the piss out of a majority of the cars, since they are technically reviewing them, and stations rely on advertising (and that typically includes a lot of vehicle advertising) to make up the cost of the show.

          Now, what happens if the show is constantly making jokes and insulting car companies and various details of the vehicles they produce? Those companies won’t want to be paying for advertising space, which results in lower costs overall since there is less demand for those advertising slots. Which is especially important when Top Gear USA is particularly ideal for vehicle manufacturers to target their audiences. This is also true for syndication – those additional stations pay to air the show, but if the show is pushing away advertisers they simply won’t pick it up (this, of course, isn’t true when Netflix or other non-advertising based groups pick it up for syndication of some sort).

          HBO and Netflix don’t have to worry about that; they can attempt to release cutting edge, A-level content, and/or even tons and tons of garbage that mainly appeals to niche audiences. The goal is to appeal to the most and/or most lucrative subscription base.

          This is especially important with big budget shows. Contrary to what you suggest, the larger the budget, the more money that needs to be recuperated from advertising revenue (or subscriptions, DVD sales, etc. etc.). Not to mention, they’re looking for profit, not just to break even. So if a show costs $7 million an episode (such as Friends in its final season, which was on network television), then they’re looking for significant advertising interest to cover that cost and then some (plus licensing fees for syndication and all sorts of other schemes). Advertising, regardless, is a significant factor in the overall revenue generation of a television show.

          Also, I’m not sure where your math went wrong, but a Top Gear season averages 10 episodes (actually less, but whatever), so two seasons at $5M an episode would cost $100M, not 200. And that’s only 6 or 7 times more than what it costs now, not ‘almost 10X more … lol.” And if Marco Polo proves anything, it’s that a big budget doesn’t equal a good show. That thing is garbage and almost costs $10M per. What a waste.

          The moral of the story is, the current popularity of British Television, and shows produced for subscription based services is proving the traditional model doesn’t work, nor does it produce good television. Relying on advertising, and having typical network restrictions does a lot of harm to content production. There are plenty of examples of network television that cost as much as HBO/Netflix type programming (E.R.-$13M per, and Friends, for example), but they simply didn’t have the freedom that we now see with the subscription style.

  9. Vicky Upton
    Vicky Upton says:

    Without Clarkson, and the Chemistry that the presenters have together, Top Gear would be axed !!!! I love watching the show, and their antics really give me a good laugh. The trouble is too many PC’s are strangling this country it is rediculous. I for 1 would’ve reacted the same same way, if after filming for hours and coming back to the Hotel, expecting a hot meal, and there was nothing arranged, the so called Irish producer hadn’t done his job properly, so therefore should have been axed. Bring back CLARKSON.

    • Karen Conroy
      Karen Conroy says:

      yep…even this old grandma likes top gear UK….top gear US is flat and boring…have never managed to watch one show all the way through…its the personalities of the 3 that make the UK show good…and I agree with Vicky…after working for hours and coming back to find no hot food…the producer deserved a smack in the mouth…wake up to yourself BBC…you want to keep a slack lazy worker or your star!

  10. RandomByPasser
    RandomByPasser says:

    One of the things that makes Top Gear so good is the fact that Jeremy, Richard and James can rip the piss out of each other for everything, this works so well because of how long they’ve been working together and the combination of personalities. Without any one of them Top Gear would not be the same. Think back to when Richard was injured from the rocket car, the show wasn’t the same without him, and thankfully he recovered fully, came back, and brought the show back to what it needs to be, the trio

  11. chunk
    chunk says:

    in my opinion if jeremy clarkson goes top gear will no be as good, thats not me saying that jeremy clarkson is the reason its good, its the chemistry that all 3 have that keeps the show together, take any of the 3 away and you may as well stop the show

  12. George Murray
    George Murray says:

    Clarkson is Top Gear. May and Hammond are both wonderful in their roles but without the chemistry of the three it will not be the same level of exceptional programming. I would be willing to venture that May and Hammond will not continue without Clarkson. All three are quite wealthy so it isn’t just for the money, it is for the love of motoring and the overall experience.

  13. John H Harris
    John H Harris says:

    While I agree that it would not be the same without Clarkson, I think it might be the better part of valor for him to bow out and leave the stage gracefully.

    Perhaps, this next season could be a search for his successor (I won’t say replacement, because NOBODY will ever be able to truly replace him). There are a number of automotive writers out there who would make excellent presenters.

    Sure, the three of them are not what most would consider “old”, but it is clear that they’re not getting any younger, and with how dangerous things can get (Hammond’s crash some years back immediately comes to mind), one would think that the BBC has done some succession planning.

    Perhaps it’s time to bring those plans out into the open for discussion, at least.

  14. Xellion
    Xellion says:

    lol. topgear is nothing without clarkson period.

    I would not watch the show if they removed him. It would be so uninteresting.

  15. FreeJack
    FreeJack says:

    You cannot screw around with the chemistry that the on-camera talent of this show has created, and Clarkson is the lynchpin of that chemistry. Extremely hard to replace him, at this point…and anyone who does will only be seen as “not Clarkson.” It won’t be the same show anymore. Oh, the topic will be the same and they’ll try to do a lot of the same things, but they just won’t work as well because they aren’t being done by him, the way he does them.

    Whether the producers want to admit it or not, they have to know that they’re shooting themselves in the foot by removing him from the cast.

  16. jenn1985
    jenn1985 says:

    Top Gear wouldn’t be the same without Clarkson, this is true. It could be worse, or it could be better. We just won’t know till it happens.
    I think Clarkson should be reprimanded if not fired for punching his producer. If any of us punched our boss for not providing us with a “hot meal”, we’d all be instantly fired and probably be taking some anger management classes. I think Clarkson shouldn’t be treated any differently. Yes, he is an amazing host and yes, he brings a lot of spunk and life to the show but the thing is, he punched his boss and that’s just not okay.

    • Ryan Quinn
      Ryan Quinn says:

      The reason it’s an issue though, comes down to money. How much money does that show bring in to the BBC, and it’s worldwide stations with major markets in both North America and the Middle East alone? It’s the number one factual based show in the world, and earns close to 5% of BBCW’s global revenues.

      It comes down to, “How much is Oisin Tymon’s pride worth?” The Network makes millions of pounds in profit on that show. The show’s success is what attracts advertisers, sponsors, and press. Removing a key element from the show’s success formula could ruin all that revenue (As seen in the United States when Charlie Sheen left “Two and a Half Men”).

      So the question remains, “Is Oisin Tymon’s pride worth over £50m (just under $75m in the USA) per year in generated revenue?” It may not be fair, but it’s in the best interest of the network to let Clarkson get off with an apology.

      • Libby
        Libby says:

        The question is not “How much is Oisin Tymon’s pride worth?” You know he wasn’t even going to report the attack right? And that he ended up at the hospital and thought he was losing his job.

        No its not about the victim’s pride (note that he is the one and only victim here), the question is ‘how much money does someone need to bring in to get away with bashing someone?’ And the secondary question is ‘how much money does someone need to bring in before you can start ignoring the fact that they are being investigating by the police and may face criminal charges?’

        If there is an amount of money that would convince the BBC to keep someone who attacked someone completely unprovoked and who may now be looking at jail time then the BBC would be a whore.

        Don’t get me wrong I like whores just fine, I wanted the BBC to keep Clarkson and signed the petition but wanting something to happen and thinking that it should are too very different things.

        Do I want Clarkson back? Yes. Should Clarkson be brought back? No.

  17. James Ochoocho
    James Ochoocho says:

    Replacing Clarkson is like getting a prosthetic limb. It will never be the same for Top Gear. Clarkson, May and Hammond look like genuinely having fun.
    Compare them to Top Gear USA’s hosts who must have learned how to be funny from Seth Rogen and James Franco. They suck.

  18. Spirit
    Spirit says:

    The cay Clarkson is fired is the day I quit watching. I won’t even give a new guy a chance. I love Clarkson’s irreverence. It’s what makes him hilarious. The BBC are about to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Most popular show on the planet earth and they’re going to fire a guy for doing exactly what make the show great…. If they fire Clarkson, they might just as well shut down production and end the show.

  19. patrick Pilcher
    patrick Pilcher says:

    Regardless top gear has become predictable and unadventurous. In a word, Dull. I would either just end the whole show and be done with it, or revamp it to include more creative and fun segments (the robin reliant shuttle was inspired). Sadly BBC group-think and conservatism is at play and this has slowly broken what was once a great show. And on that Bombshell…

  20. Motox111
    Motox111 says:

    Once again this proves what an idiot Ben Collins is. Take away the star lead singer from a band, will it ever be as successful…very rarely. People watch this purely for the chemistry these 3 have. If you watch any of the solo shows the guys have done, you just dont get that same feeling. Same as if you watch Top Gear Oz or US, the formats as similar, but you can never copy a successful idea and expect the same results

  21. Signel
    Signel says:

    It is all about the 3 hosts. Top Gear US is proof. They could be playing bingo and everyone would watch. Their chemistry can’t be recreated easily.

  22. Dale Shepard
    Dale Shepard says:

    Well to be honest there is an American Top Gear also . . . . would not watch it unless you paid me money. The Top Gear that I watch has 3 hosts Hammster Captain Slow and a great big grumpy teddy bear that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

  23. John Costa
    John Costa says:

    I discovered Top Gear just last year through Netflix. I have watched every episode ever made. The chemistry those three have is incredible. No way you can break them up. I watch it more for the craziness they bring to the show and the way interact with each other. They are so much fun to watch.

  24. takingthebisciut
    takingthebisciut says:

    Clarkson is an old goat who has lost his way and has been warned in the past for his misbehaviour many times. He is paid millions and for what? He behaves very childish, is abusive and physically assaulted his producer over food. I hope he gets what’s coming to him after the police investigation.
    What everybody is forgetting is Top Gear started since 1977 before most viewers were born and long before Clarkson got involved, There have been great presenters before Clarkson and there will be more after the twit. Top Gear is our national treasure and it will always be without Clarkson. Long Live Top Gear.


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