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Cheers - AE

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

How to stall in Top Gear.

Love it or hate it Top Gear is one of Auntie Beeb's most popular shows. Not only have the shows been sold to other countries but the format itself has been bought, starting last year sometime with SBS here in Australia. In short the BBC have a product that sells not only to its captive, licence paying, domestic audience but abroad as well. I've no idea if the money it brings in is greater than what they spend on it, but one thing that can be said in its favour is that it must be at least partially paying for itself. It's certainly not unique in this but it's more than can be said for some BBC productions. So having developed a good product the last thing anyone should want to do is bugger around with it too much. Ah...
The presenter Angela Rippon has declared she should be brought back as host of Top Gear, the BBC's popular motoring show, to make it more appealing to women.
The BBC One show fronted by Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond has been accused of being "drenched in testosterone" and under new reforms of equality laws could be forced to use more female presenters.
Rippon, who was the first presenter of Top Gear from 1977-79, said the programme needed to "evolve".
She said: "Like any show, Top Gear needs to evolve, so may be it is time to embrace the idea of a regular female presenter, though it would be nonsense to bring in a woman for the sake of sexual equality, or a dolly bird who was there only for the totty factor.
"It would have to be a woman who knows what she's talking about with a background in motoring. I think the ideal candidate would be… me, actually," she told the Radio Times.
"I was the first presenter of Top Gear in 1977, so it would bring the thing full circle. I drive cars and know about cars, though I'm not sure the guys would welcome an old bird like me bringing them down a peg or two. But if the call comes, I've got my driving gloves and goggles at the ready."
Oh Christ. She's right about a token female but other than that it's all bollocks. Look, the programme has evolved. And what it has evolved into is a show mostly about three aging school boys, in their own words, "cocking about". It's not about the motoring magazine that Angela Rippon used to present. That show was dumped after falling audiences. The current version is light entertainment based around cars and driving, which in practice means three aging school boys cocking about. And despite this the show apparently has plenty of female fans, and as I said, sells around the world. So what does Ms Rippon think of the show's potential popularity in the UK and its potential for continued sales around the world by de-evolving it back into the show that the BBC cancelled? Carol Vorderman certainly understands:
"Anyone criticising the show for being too male, too drenched in testosterone, is missing the point. The maleness of the show is one of its great attractions. Bringing in a female presenter would only dilute the appeal."
And this all supposedly going to happen because of Harriet Harperson's Equality Bill. While I'm sure the bitch would be happy to harm, perhaps fatally, a TV show as un-PC as Top Gear surely the law will affect the BBC as a whole and won't seriously be able to rule on the racial and gender composition of a TV show with only three presenters. Will it?
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