Top Gear Series 24 returned to BBC2 on Sunday after having a week off, with another solid episode which shows that Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid have listened to their critics and further refined the new show’s formula.
Matt LeBlanc once again confirmed his ability to perform a slick supercar power test, while also getting in a few pre-watershed swear words. “You never know,” he said, “when it’s going to bite you in the arse”. He later referred to the new AMG’s unorthodox engine set-up as “a bunch of crap”. Hardly swearing it up big time, but it is interesting to see LeBlanc leaning somewhat into a bad-boy on-screen persona.
There was great news for Rory Reid, too, as the producers finally let him out of the studio for what felt like only the second or third time this series, as he joined Chris Harris for a roadtrip across Cuba for a look at their unique classic car culture. Reid was visibly enjoying himself (before being savagely attacked by a cock) which is understandable considering he’d passed the previous month and a half watching his co-presenters clock up all the air miles while he was stuck on the Top Gear couch.
The ‘Matt LeBlanc in heavy machinery’ segment also returned, with LeBlanc swearing it up once again as he went up against Ross Noble as they attempted to find out who could smash the most sheds using their Optimus Prime-sized diggers.
While it won’t go down in history as one of Top Gear’s best or most memorable episodes, it was great to see that LeBlanc, Harris and Reid were looking much more relaxed throughout, with none of the jittery energy that was evident in earlier episodes. Most importantly, this new version of Top Gear is actually quite entertaining – for those who are willing to open their minds and get over the fact that Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are no longer on it.
And speaking of the original ‘holy trinity’, there was a time where most people believed it would be impossible for Top Gear to survive without them – but thankfully those days are now behind us.