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Top Gear v Fifth Gear - Vicki's battle of the TV car shows
I love Top Gear. And, according to the viewing figures, so do 8 million Brits plus countless more around the world. I also love Fifth Gear - not least because it's my paymaster.
But I feel frustrated every time some numpty dashes off a sentence that stays on the internet - forever - stating how much they prefer Top Gear, even though this is a question nobody on either programme has ever asked. All the presenters get on extremely well, we're all friends, so it's futile for anyone to create any rivalry.
here I hope to spell out why there's no need to take sides
The BBC show's global appeal does give strength to the web words 'Top Gear Rules', but here I hope to spell out why there's no need to take sides. For one thing, it hurts the handful of people who work hard to make the only alternative car show.
But I don't want your sympathy, I'm going for empathy.
I've been a big fan of Top Gear since girlhood. I vividly remember waiting by the TV every Thursday night, calling my Dad in to watch as soon as the first bars of the music blared. And then for the next blissful moments my world consisted only of William Woollard, Chris Goffey and cars.
And then in the late 1990s, with 15 years' of racing under my belt and some years as a road tester for various car magazines, I became one of its presenters. Back then there were 7 of us - Jeremy Clarkson, Quentin Willson, Tiff Needell, Michelle Newman, Steve Berry and Tony Mason.
Over the years the show evolved and some presenters moved on - most notably Jeremy who hosted his own chat show. A year after that, at the turn of the millennium, a woman at the helm of BBC2 decided to kill Top Gear. She didn't like cars.
we are now in our 11th year of Fifth Gear making our 21st series
Enter Channel Five, who did. And they wanted Quentin, Tiff and I to carry on but, because of copyright reasons, under a different name. Fifth Gear was born and we are now in our 11th year making our 21st series. To keep you in the picture, 12 months or so later Top Gear was resurrected.
Despite both shows having cars at their centre, they are wildly different. Top Gear is hosted by three poorly-styled men and a racing driver who daren't show his face or squeak. The Stig is a brilliant gimmick and I've yet to hear anyone disagree.
Fifth Gear employs three blokes and a bird, all of whom have no style whatsoever and three are racing drivers who walk and talk, albeit barely. We like to think of Tiff as our token pet pooch, though we've yet to find a muzzle strong enough to contain his constant yapping.
During the one hour show, Top Gear weaves adventure-come-travel stories in and out of supercar track tests, celebrity promotions and the latest motoring news, held in the middle of a bear pit surrounded by men (mostly) who bring their own box of tissues.
We lack a stimulated live audience, but make the most of whoever's in the most exotic location for that week's links for our half hour show. Sometimes it's even Wales.
Top Gear's glue is banter, goading and humiliation
Top Gear's glue is banter, goading and humiliation. Ours is informing the viewer, entertainingly of course.
But what highlights the differences the most is what goes on behind the camera.
On a filming day, the BBC show employs at least a couple of cameramen plus soundmen, a mini-cam specialist to record the on-board footage, a spare driver or two, a tea-boy to help grease the wheels and one or three presenters. All orchestrated by a director, and possibly the producer if it's a big shoot. And when they travel abroad for a 'big one' there can be as many as 20 people plus the odd helicopter.
Then, after a couple of weeks in a London edit suite pruning and preening and placing fragments of different music to certain frames, it's on our telly. And it looks absolutely brilliant.
When Fifth Gear goes filming, there's one cameraman, one soundman, one director and one presenter (though occasionally all four of us). And after one day in a Birmingham edit suite, the show goes on air. And it looks great.
If we had bigger budgets of course we could take more time creating a show that looks even better and engages further. But we'd never want to ape Top Gear because why would anyone want two identical car shows?
So you see, there's plenty of room for both programmes - and more. And they're not like football teams you know; hating the opposition isn't obligatory.
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The first picture says it all, three badly dressed middleaged men, who look rather stupid.
They look like they slept in a barn, or are planning a robbery. It is sad to know that these men get paid heaps of money for what they do
which requires no skill or training.
BTW in Pay Day treats for men you can see May's favourite 'style' of shirts
Top gear is presented by 3 dinosaurs who fit the bill perfectly - all 3 use supercars as penis replacements and Clarkson is by far the most overtly right wing presenter on tv.
Perhaps thats why some enjoy watching but the sad thing is that the studio audience in the hanger appear to idolise the Enoch Powell of the motoring world.
Im sure if Ford bought out a model **** he would be over the moon but until such time we can watch his many "dangerous" exploits hoping that its him and not Hammond that comes unstuck.
Hammond is pretty unoffensive like the small kid hanging onto the coat tails of the school bully and May is ...well a sad middle aged man in a floral print.All that said I still watch as Im still interested in what supercar to put in my fourth garage (NOT!)
"Top Gear for me. It never fails to entertain my on a Sunday night, and I can watch the repeats endlessly and never get bored. I watched the live show in Birmingham a couple of years a go it was great. I also met James May in 2007 at a book signing and he was very nice"
This one of the saddest things I have ever heard, if you can watch the repeats without boredom you have the lowest boredom threshold known to man.
Of course May was nice, he just sold you a book or was about to!
BTW May is doing very well he is hosting at least two other show which are rather pathetic.
In my opinion 5'th Gear's a load of ****. Top Gear is awesome, funny and entertaining. No competition between the two.
Vicki Says "But I feel frustrated every time some numpty dashes off a sentence that stays on the internet - forever - stating how much they prefer Top Gear, even though this is a question nobody on either programme has ever asked. All the presenters get on extremely well, we're all friends, so it's futile for anyone to create any rivalry.
Actually Vicki, when 5th Gear first came out, Clarkson did make a comment about how he likes to drive in Top Gear and would never entertain such a slow gear. I guess he was referring to that Tiff Needle or whatever his name is. Plus the other guy who was better at driving Tonka Toys!!!!
Sack your researchers ;-)
5th Gear by a mile.
don't even bother with top gear anymore, Clarkson is just an immature pratt.
Who can afford the cars they test? Who would drive any car like they do?...oh yes. the TWOKers.
Give me 5th Gear anytime.
As a motorist I am insulted by Top Gear, just three middle aged overpaid presenters acting the fool.
No real motoring informaion at all.
I look for propper road test etc, in cars that people actually buy, give me fith Gear anytime.
Hilarious unecessary article from some bird who gets paid a not inconsiderable amount (probably) to write car articles for MSN, rarely does that from what I've seen, and when she does it's a moan that out of the two car programmes on tele, she works on the second most popular.
How hypocritical, telling the viewers they shouldn't comment on which is best in an article dedicated to the defense of the program she presents.
Can't we do better than this dross?
Erm.....The article headline totally contradicts what Vicki is saying?????
However, anything without the Clarkson has to be a winner.
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