Geared up

Fifth Gear hits top speed in Mzansi to film mo­tor­ing may­hem.

TV Plus (South Africa) - - LIFESTYLE -

Fifth Gear

Sea­son 25 Thurs­days (from 10 Septem­ber) History Chan­nel 20:30

When it comes to TV car shows, there are only two that view­ers want to watch: Top Gear (2002cur­rent) and Fifth Gear (2002cur­rent), which has been la­belled “that other car show”. We were in the driver’s seat re­cently when Fifth Gear’s Tiff Needell and Vicki But­ler-Hen­der­son raced into the coun­try to shoot the brand-new sea­son…

What brings you guys to SA now? Tiff: I don’t know [Laughs]. History Chan­nel has the se­ries and we have a lot of view­ers down here. They said, “Go to South Africa,” and here we are! Vicki: The scenery is just stun­ning. Tiff: It’s al­ways a great place to come. So what are the lo­gis­tics of film­ing a sea­son of Fifth Gear? Vicki: Some­times it’s a phonecall like, “Hey, go to South Africa and drive!” Tiff: We all come with ideas and have in­put. I know a lot of peo­ple in mo­tor­ing out here and we got to test with the Dakar team. We’re a small team: us driv­ers, two cam­era guys, a sound man who’s the re­searcher too and a di­rec­tor. We all help each other. We’ve got a frac­tion of the bud­get of Top Gear and we make a show that we think is for real car fans, whereas Top Gear is for the en­ter­tain­ment. We’re a very dif­fer­ent show. Vicki: It’s great be­cause there’s a mar­ket for both shows and we both have our fans and au­di­ences. How’s your re­la­tion­ship with the [now-ex] Top Gear guys, Jeremy Clark­son, James May and Richard Ham­mond? Vicki: Re­ally good [Laughs]. Tiff: I still do the Top Gear fes­ti­vals, so I was here in Joburg at Kyalami about four years ago. Vicki: My hus­band’s the se­ries di­rec­tor for Top Gear, so I’m lit­er­ally sleep­ing with the en­emy. Did you see TV and mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ism in your fu­ture when you started your ca­reers? Tiff: You were a pig farmer, Vic­to­ria. Vicki: My fa­ther was a pig farmer – I wanted to be a For­mula One rac­ing driver. I went straight into car mag­a­zines and jour­nal­ism. I raced carts when I was 12, so I feel very, very lucky to be where I’ve ended up. Tiff: I didn’t have a rich pig-farm­ing daddy, so I didn’t do carts. I was rac­ing

Fifth Gear burnt rub­ber down in CT. Tiff and Vicki went joyrid­ing around SA.

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