Don’t think for a minute that we’re going to lose the supercar stunts we know and love, and see them replaced by the charms of a Kia Cee’d economy run, but Top Gear, in common with the rest of the Beeb, is having its budget cut – apparently.
Andy Wilman, who is the brains behind TG (and its producer) together with Jeremy Clarkson, has been bemoaning the budget cuts planned for the show on the TG website. He said:
‘No point in moaning about that. All shows are suffering and nobody’s got a pot to p*** in any more anyway, so no reason why we shouldn’t suffer as well.
Our problem though is that there is no fat to trim off the show, in that we waste almost nothing behind the scenes and the old cliche of “every penny goes on screen” is actually true.
So in 2009, the budget cut has to affect what you watch and Clarkson has had a brainwave in making this as painless as possible. ‘Basically instead of trimming back a little bit on every show – losing a helicopter here or a truck crash there – we’ll endeavour to make 13 of our 14 shows as per the usual Jerry Bruckheimer standard and then the last one, when we only have a tenner left, will be utter, utter sh**e.
‘But they had fun singing songs in the dark during the Blitz, so let’s see what happens. Great stuff may come of it.’
I have no doubt that there is an element of truth in what Andy says, but I’d be inclined to take it with a very big pinch of salt. TG is far and away the most successful BBC2 show there is, and its overseas revenue is huge. The show has an enormous fan base in all English speaking countries (and many others besides) and brings in far more than it costs to make.
And I’m sure regular TG viewers remember an episode a couple of years ago where the boys claimed to be making an episode for nothing. It’s all good publicity, but the BBC are not daft enough to let one of its flagship shows look cheap. And one way to make sure it doesn’t happen, from the producers point of view, is to let the world know its a possibility.
Good move, Andy!
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