I don’t think I’m going to be contradicted too strongly when I say that the Top Gear TV show is a good thing. It’s proper blokes’ TV – okay, adolescent TV – and all the better for it.
Yet despite the fact we all love watching caravans explode and stars understeering their way around the track in Chevrolets, the big problem with modern TG is that it’s got pretty much nothing to do with cars.
So much as I prefer what I’d call ‘post Goffey’ Top Gear, it does lead to a generalised view that all motoring enthusiasts are superficial morons who want nothing more than to see supercars screeching sideways on a runway.
Surfing other channels confirms that other TV offerings are similar: gimmicky ideas and over-glib presenters, mostly chosen for the shine of their teeth rather than their in-depth knowledge of 1970s British Leyland products.
The thing is, I’d love to see a good, dull, old-fashioned motoring show again. I’d like to know how easy it is to park the Daihatsu Materia, or to watch a 20 minute comparison test between full-sized executive saloons, conducted by a bloke wearing sensible slacks and talking with the soothing cadences of a supply teacher.
Hell, I’d just like to be able to watch and to know how good – or otherwise – a new car actually is.
Pretty daring suggestion, huh? But it would mean that when the Great British public get to see cars they see them in context, rather than on an airfield (or half way through the Arctic tundra.)
So let’s bring back boring car TV. The programme should be called ‘Crawler Gear’, to emphasise its different-ness from all the other types of gear. And as for who should present it: I’ve still got a pair of sensible slacks somewhere in my wardrobe.