Well it is official, Top Gear is back! Briefly, anyway.
The BBC has today announced that Top Gear will return with an extended Top Gear special episode to wrap up Series 22.
The episode will feature two previously unseen films which were originally shot for Series 22, but ended up being cancelled after the whole ‘fracas’ thing went down. The two films are unrelated to each other, so studio links from Richard and James will help tie both stories together, when the one-off special goes to air on BBC Two on a date soon to be confirmed.
The first film sees Jeremy, Richard and James living the lifestyle of traditional classic car buffs, acquiring a Fiat 124 Spyder, Peugeot 304 Cabriolet and MGB GT before setting off an adventure incorporating brown beer, breakdowns (inevitably) and attending a car show where everything goes wrong.
In the second film, the boys attempt to become ‘lifestyle leisure enthusiasts’ with the help of some very ratty old 4x4s. Armed with a budget of just £250, the boys each purchase a high-mileage, low-quality SUV – Clarkson a Vauxhall Frontera, Hammond a Jeep Cherokee and May a Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin – before embarking on a series of gruelling challenges, including a battle with the Stig’s Leisure Activity Cousin, which climaxes with a race that has a terrifying penalty for the person who loses.The date of the broadcast has not been confirmed yet, but stay tuned! We’ll also update our countdown ticker as soon as we know.
BBC want to keep Top Gear co-hosts
Also in the news this week, the BBC is reportedly looking to keep Jeremy Clarkson’s former Top Gear co-hosts on the show despite his departure.
James May and Richard Hammond have been offered deals reportedly in the vicinity of £1,000,000 – £4,000,000 a year to stay on with the show. Such a deal would make the pair among the corporation’s highest earners. This also comes amid speculation the BBC will not directly replace Clarkson, but instead have a different guest host on each show.
The BBC used a similar tactic when another of its best known faces – Have I Got News For You host Angus Deayton – was fired after reports emerged of drug use and encounters with prostitutes.
A BBC spokeswoman and representatives of the two men declined to comment, but bookmakers have slashed the odds on the pair returning.
All three men’s contracts ran out earlier this year and the BBC refused to renew Clarkson’s after his much-publicised attack on producer Oisin Tymon. Several names have been put forward as possible replacements for Clarkson, including Guy Martin and Jodie Kidd, but another contender – Dermot O’Leary – has ruled himself out. The former X Factor host told the Daily Mirror he had not been approached about the job.
Netflix rumour still lingering
Meanwhile, reports of the boys reuniting for a new show on US streaming giant Netflix are as rampant as ever.
An inside source has reportedly claimed the trio and Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman are “very close” to signing a deal with Netflix, and have been in talks with several other outlets. Hammond and May are determined not to return to BBC without Clarkson.
“Flattering though it is to be offered huge sums, there’ll be no going back. It wouldn’t feel right and their heart wouldn’t be in it,” the source said. “They’ve always said they come as a team and that hasn’t changed.”