Top Gear is back, with a shiny new presenter line-up
Clare Pizey, Executive Producer
The presenters all built electric sports cars in one episode - and because it’s Top Gear we set up a course based on Buzz Wire - if they went off the track they were given an electric shock (from a tens machine) and it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever filmed.Clare Pizey
Tell me what can viewers expect from the new series of Top Gear and have you any favourite moments?
Viewers can expect some beautiful cars, some old cars, far flung destinations, laughter, crashes, laughter, teasing, laughter, Paddy way out of his comfort zone, laughter, Freddie actually being intimidated by a challenge, laughter and Chris Harris driving in a very thick polo neck sweater in 40 degree heat, more laughter.
I think it’s warm, funny, competitive, modern and hopefully surprising. I do hope that the viewers like it. I think it’s certainly the best series of Top Gear I’ve been involved in.
My favourite moments always come when we are making the big films. As always they start with the car and are ambitious with high production values. But the best footage always come from things we couldn’t anticipate - Freddie and Chris helping Paddy to change a tyre - with Freddie in his underpants, Freddie singing (very well!) Chris Harris’s face when he found out he was actually competing in Iceland’s Formula Off Road - when he thought he was just mentoring Freddie. Paddy’s face when he saw the accommodation Top Gear stays in when we are in far flung destinations - his love of discussing the relative merits of different kinds of food - and the look on his face when Fred offered him a live Sago Worm to eat. I could go on and on and on.
What makes Freddie, Paddy and Chris stand out as individual presenters?
They’re all brilliant but in very different ways. They all love cars, but in different ways. They’re all really funny. But in different ways.
Freddie appears to have had a fear bypass combined with a superhuman pain threshold. He’s hugely well travelled. He’s hugely competitive. He’s sickeningly good at absolutely everything he does. He loves cars. He’s a good driver. Despite having the odd crash.
Paddy is a born showman. He’s warm and he’s funny. He talks to everyone wherever we go. He’s a good driver. By his own admission he’s not well travelled. He’s had a steep learning curve - from getting over his fear of flying, to unusual food, to working with extreme jetlag.
Chris is the petrol head’s petrol head. His knowledge of cars is encyclopaedic. And he’s a racing driver. So job done. But he’s much more than that. He’s funny, competitive and only a bit grumpy sometimes. He’s also the most disorganised person I’ve ever met and the least vain. He is baffled by the fact the Paddy and Freddie care about their clothes and what they look like. I honestly don’t think Chris owns a mirror.
There’s been a lot of talk about chemistry. What’s it like?
I can honestly say it feels like they’ve known each other for years and years and years. Sometimes in television people just click. And these three did exactly that.
Which films stand out for you in this season?
Ethiopia - not just because it was a truly epic adventure but also because I loved how much the presenters were affected by being in their first cars and also their amazement at discovering what a fabulous country Ethiopia is.
The presenters all built electric sports cars in one episode - and because it’s Top Gear we set up a course based on Buzz Wire - if they went off the track they were given an electric shock (from a tens machine) and it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever filmed.
Chris Harris makes a film about the history of the Lotus 79 Formula One car - and actually gets to drive it. Only he could make this film. Because he is a truly brilliant driver.
What will continue to draw viewers to Top Gear for the new series?
Everything viewers tell us they love about Top Gear will still be there. Fabulous cars, some old cars, adventures and lots of laughter. The star in a reasonably fast car will still be there but with an additional element which we are excited about.
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