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On Chris Evans and Top Gear…

In one of the biggest shocks in the history of the world, the BBC in one last desperate bid to keep one of the their biggest assets relevant have turned to the man they always turn to Chris Evans. He is like the John Reid of the BBC, parachuted in when he’s widely not wanted to try and fix things.

His denial saying that him taking over the show was, ‘100% not going to happen’ is shall we say rather hilarious considering he’s been announced as the main presenter and indeed will be the executive producer of the show, which actually goes against the BBC’s own rules following the Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand incident in 2009, but still the BBC will bend rules for Chris Evans because they are desperate.

The reason they are desperate is because quite simply, they had a really big asset, not only in terms of prestige and world wide appeal but also in terms of straight cash homie. You see that is the real reason why they don’t want to let Top Gear die, they want the cash.

The problem they have is whilst they own the intellectual rights to the show, the show was successful because of the presenting trio and Andy Wilman. All four of these people will not be working on the show going forward. So the BBC have to start from the bare bones (a good old fashioned Harry Redknapp reference there) and build from the ground up.

I see this situation as very similar to what I think about Page 3. The people who don’t like Page 3 are unlikely to buy The Sun even if they stop putting tits in their newspaper. Many of those who didn’t watch Top Gear who are happy Clarkson has gone are saying the right things about now watching Top Gear but most won’t. They are just glad that someone they didn’t like is off of the BBC.

Who presents a TV show does influence whether or not people watch it. For example I have point blankly refused to watch The One Show since they shafted Adrian Chiles to crowbar Chris Evans into the show for reasons that were never that obvious. It felt as though they thought Evans would bring in a new audience on the Friday edition of the show or maybe he’d attract bigger stars to appear so out went Chiles. If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it is an old motto but it works.

I know Jeremy Clarkson had to go and don’t have an issue with how the BBC dealt with the situation but instead of trying to keep Top Gear alive, they should have put it on hiatus. This now smells to me like it is a case of arrogance from the BBC who believe that they can carry on with a whole new presenting team like nothing has happened. Making it seem like people watched because of the production values and the camaraderie between the three wasn’t the reason we all watched. It was fun. It was stupid. It was Last of the Summer Wine for slightly younger people with cars who wanted easy TV on a Sunday evening.

The news that they’ll hold open auditions for new presenters is absolutely hilarious. Talk about a desperate way to keep the show in the news for a while. The likelihood of the BBC hiring unknowns to help front one of the (at the time of writing) biggest shows in the world is just mind-boggling. Also Chris and the exec controller of BBC2 are already disagreeing over whether a woman will be part of the new presenting line-up with Chris saying it is ‘100% going to happen’ – yeah like Chris’s ‘100%’ things mean jack – and the exec controller saying that it isn’t written in stone although they would like to have more female presence on the show.

Another issue is Chris Evans hosts the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show and therefore will not be able to go overseas on shoots that often unless he leaves that gig, which he’s not going to do. This means that Top Gear will not be having many overseas trips any more and it will be very British based. This goes against the global appeal of the show. This means that they’ll be unable to recreate some of the best bits of the show. Another knock on whatever this new incarnation of the show will be.

Lastly the biggest problem the show has is the Clarkson, Hammond and May haven’t gone and indeed seem extremely likely to present a new show together, most likely on netflix and the odds of the show being released on netflix at the same time as the next series of Top Gear would seem short to me. People will give the new Top Gear a shot I have no doubt but Clarkson, Hammond and May will still be the people the audience flocks to.

Chris Evans will now be the highest paid person at the BBC for his various gigs. Not bad for someone who has had a rather tempestuous relationship with the corporation in the past. I actually don’t mind Chris Evans per se but when someone says that something will, ‘100% not happen’ and then it does, I just look at them and think they are a bald faced liar. His commitment to the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show means that he’ll be unable to put in the time to Top Gear like the former team could and the idea that the show can carry on being a global success just doesn’t add up.

I wish him well but as long as the most recent incarnation is firmly in our memories and indeed should as expected the former presenting team are doing a similar show for another outlet – Top Gear as we all know and loved is dead. Can Evans’ magic recreate another version of the show that attracts the demographic that the BBC want (because it is the demographic that sells well to overseas broadcasters) then I doubt it somewhat. Top Gear will never be the same again and many will rejoice, the problem is most of those who will rejoice won’t watch it anyway and that is Evans’ and the BBC’s main problem and one they re unlikely to be able to solve.

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