Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond left the BBC's Top Gear television show after Clarkson assaulted his producer, both verbally and physically. They took their brand of masculine tomfoolery to Amazon Prime for a new show with a massive budget. It is expected to finally break Amazon Prime into the UK Market that has been quite resistant for their programming, preferring the likes of the iPlayer and Netflix.
But what will the new show entail? Publicity and expectation have focused on the belief that it's a car show, with confirmed shooting of Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918 Spyder cars at Algarve International Circuit near Portimão, in Portugal last year as well as filming with Maserati Biturbo 430 cars around Le Havre, Honfleur, and the Port of Le Havre in northern France. And a tentative title at one point was "Gear Knobs".
However, I found myself quite accidentally in discussion last night with some very senior television figures in London that revealed that a lot of the show isn't car based. The observation was made that Top Gear before the Clarkson trio took the lead had very limited appeal, their success was less about the cars but their bumbling machismo. And, freed from the format restraints of Top Gear, they will take that approach to other matters as well.
One example given was undergoing anti-terrorist training. Or possibly terrorist training, it wasn't clear.
But it does suggest a switch in focus for the three, and extending their appeal even further. For what was stereotyped as a "male" show, Top Gear had a 40% female audience, was one of the BBC's biggest hits, nationally and internationally. It has been observed that much of that had very little to do with the cars. It looks like it may have even less to do with them…