Tele­vi­sion The re­turn of mo­tor­ing’s three wise men

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Hobson’s Choice -

It’s re­mark­able that one of the world’s most pop­u­lar shows TOP GEAR ( Sun­day, BBC TWO, 8pm) didn’t get a Christ­mas spe­cial last year, but a lit­tle over a month later we­fi­nally get to see those three ( oc­ca­sion­ally) wise men bring­ing gifts of TV gold, frank car sense and mirth to Sun­day nights once more.

Of course, Jeremy Clark­son didn’t get where he is to­day with­out be­ing con­tro­ver­sial, so you can ex­pect a few view­er­saroundthe­world­tak­ing um­bridge at his de­lib­er­ately in­cen­di­ary com­ments, while the ubiq­ui­tous Richard Ham­mon­d­of­fer­shisview­son the­lat­est mo­tors­be­fore­rush­ing off to his next TV project.

As­forCap­tainSlow? Well, James May has proved to be far more than just a comic foil out­side of the TG stu­dio, though it’s still great fun to see him punc­tu­ate the lat­est help­ing of cock- ups and stunts.

For the first of the new run, Clark­son tries to con- struct a tiny car, tests it on the streets of Lon­don and then pitches his con­cept in the Dragons’ Den.

Else­where, May sam­ples the Bent­ley Con­ti­nen­tal GT Speed, and Ham­mond gives us his ver­dict on the new Pa­gani Huayra hyper­car.

Top Gear 2013 is all a far cry from those early days when orig­i­nal host­ess An­gela Rip­pon showed the best way of con­trol­ling your car ri­fied re­gional show, and the chance­sofMsRip­po­nandMr Ed­monds of­fend­ing any­one were about as likely as a tou­sle- haired young jour­nal­ist from Rother­ham pre­dict­ing tha­tone­day­he­would­be­come an in­ter­na­tional TV star.

While Clark­son may get a few­back­su­pandCap­tainSlow’s love of statis­tics may be more an­noy­ing than drivers hog­ging the mid­dle lane of the mo­tor­way, there’s no doubt that for many, Andy Will­man’s pro­duc­tion is, to para­phrase Jeremy, “The best car show... in the world”.

Lit­tle won­der celebri­ties have been fall­ing over them­selves to be the Star in a Rea­son­ably Priced Car.

Grand De­signs veteran Kev­inMcCloud­hadsucha­good time rac­ing round Gam­bon a few years ago, he’s des­per­ate to make an­other ap­pear­ance.

“I’d love to go back,” he ex­plains. “I waspipped by a twen­ti­eth of a sec­ond from­thetopof the board, hav­ing had no train­ing really ex­cept that day, so I’ve had a lit­tle bit of train­ing now and a bit of prac­tice so I’m de­ter­mined to get to the very top.”

For the first of the new run, it’s Home­land’s re­cent Golden Globe win­ner Damian Lewis in the hot seat, so it’ll be in­trigu­ing to see if hecan­com­pletethe coursea­head­of­track­ri­vals McCloud and Cow­ell.

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