GUEST ARTICLE: So how does a British television show described by Richard Hammond as “out-takes” with “three men cocking about” spawn a live theatrical show? Motoring correspondent Pranav Bhatt explains what Top Gear is all about after attending today’s Press Conference in Sydney…
Top Gear fever swept Sydney today as two of its popular hosts, Jeremy Clarkson aka ‘Jezza’ and Richard Hammond aka ‘the Hamster’ launched Top Gear Live.
The British duo will be joined by one of the hosts of Top Gear Australia, Steve Pizzati. The trio will host three shows from February 5th to February 8th.
With more than 82,000 tickets already sold, demand for tickets is running hot, with Australian Top Gear enthusiasts wasting no time to grab their seat in Sydney’s Acer Arena.
Despite appearing jet lagged, the British duo arrived at the press launch wearing Akubra hats and armed with their trademark brand of straight-faced, no holds barred humor. The tone of the press launch was set with a typically Clarkson-esqe spray directed at his co-host, ‘the Hamster’. Hammond was teased for being “34 for 6 years” and whitening his teeth. Clarkson contrasted this with his approach to cigarette smoking: “I smoke because I’m not a coward”.
Clarkson went on to ridicule PM Rudd’s address to the nation, saying he “genuinely looked terrified” explaining how “we really are in deep sh*t”. British PM Gordon Brown wasn’t spared either, being branded a “one eyed Scottish idiot”.
When pressed on the future of the Australian car industry he shrugged: “I just don’t care”. His bleak assessment of cricket was typical: “it was invented by people with nothing to do” and it would be good if England lost more games because “it would be shown less on TV”.
However, not everyone copped a serve. Strangely, Germaine Greer was singled out as still being “attractive”.
Clarkson gave the thumbs up for Top Gear Australia saying it “brilliant” and he was “thrilled to bits”. In response to the lukewarm response to the local production, Clarkson explained that it was due the Australian version being shown in black and white in contrast to the British version in colour.
Top Gear Live promises to amaze audiences with mini car races, a Cage of Death, the return of the Cool Wall (not ‘What Were They Thinking?’), precision driving, car football, a test track lap, car parades and an aerial based challenge.
Clarkson fended off questions about the Stig by ‘revealing’ the tame racing driver was actually “Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu”, because when was the last time you saw [him]?” Hammond explained how the Stig was only allowed to travel to Australia by ship in a “gorilla cage”.
On the non-appearance of their wing man, James May aka ‘Captain Slow’ Clarkson confessed that he “gets a funny tummy going to Fulham”, to which Hammond nodded in agreement, he “doesn’t really travel well”. Clarkson continued, explaining that the British trio had made a pact that the show must go on at all costs. The tribute would be worded something like this: “During the filming of the show, James May was killed…anyway” now to the new Ford Festiva.
If you can’t get a ticket to Top Gear Live, don’t despair, Top Gear Live will return to Sydney each February till 2011.
This article has been written by Pranav Bhatt. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Economics and Business at Sydney University. He has an interest in world travel, cricket, politics, technology and the media.