In his weekly column for the Sunday Times, Jeremy Clarkson has revealed that the hardest part of making his new motoring show is coming up with a name for the bloody thing. “When I first signed up with Amazon Prime to make a new motoring show I knew all sorts of problems lay ahead,” he wrote. “There was one problem, however, that I hadn’t even considered. And it has turned out to be the biggest of the lot: Choosing a name.”
In the column he wrote about how the team at W. Chump & Sons wanted to avoid putting the question to a public as a competition or poll, otherwise they might find themselves in the same situation as a new polar research vessel which was recently named ‘RRS Boaty McBoatface’ following an online vote. In order to avoid the inevitable ‘Cary McCarface’, Clarkson and the team have been wracking their brains trying to come up with a name which is not either already taken or legally contentious.
He wrote: “Every morning I’d make a £7,000 call to the lawyer with an idea, and every afternoon I’d get a £7,000 reply saying the name was already in use by someone in New Zealand, or France or Ukraine. Prime Torque. Autonation. Skid mark. Everything was a no-no. Other names he says he considered included ‘Speedbird’, ‘Speedwolf’, ‘Ironbird’ and ‘Wolfbird’ – and one director even suggested ‘Three C*nts Driving Along’ – but they decided it might lose them the family market.”
But then Clarkson said the team struck gold with the name ‘Gear Knobs’, which they all liked.
“We thought it was amusing and hurriedly we put in another £7,000 call to the lawyer,” Clarkson wrote. “She said the trademark was available, but it would be an unwise idea, owing to the laws surrounding intellectual property. In short, the BBC not only owns the rights to the Stig and the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car and the Cool Wall, but also to any name that is remotely similar to Top Gear. We tried explaining there’s a show called Fifth Gear that doesn’t belong to the BBC but it was no good.”
So now its back to the drawing board for the team at W. Chump & Sons, who need to come up with a name that Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May, Andy Wilman and and a billionaire in Seattle (Jeff Bezos) all like. They’ve even had to drop the working title of ‘Currently Unnamed TV Show’ because, as someone pointed out on the internet, this could be turned into an unfortunate acronym.
We’d love it if they could find a way to call the show ‘Gear Knobs’, although we also like the sound of ‘Short, Fat & Slow’, or even just calling it ‘Clarkson, Hammond and May’. In the end though, the name might not matter – because there’s hundreds of millions of fans around the world who’ll be streaming it regardless.