Top Gear approaches FW machinery boys over revamp

Producers of Top Gear have approached Farmers Weekly’s machinery team for fresh ideas to revamp the show following the sacking of presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

Top Gear was relaunched in 2002 and it has developed a quirky, humorous and controversial style.

But producers believe the ousting of Clarkson, following a fracas with a producer last month, offers the ideal opportunity to refresh the show.

See also: Watch the latest Farmers Weekly machinery videos

The Farmers Weekly machinery team as Top Gear presenters

Artist’s impression of the new Top Gear line-up

As such, the Top Gear team has sounded out FW machinery editor David Cousins and his team of reporters over a regular tractor-testing slot.

A source near the Top Gear set in Cranleigh, Surrey, said: “Interest in food and farming has never been bigger and the public is as curious as ever to learn about the industry.

“Tractors are as sexy as they have ever been. They are the Ferraris of the countryside. Presenters could have hours of endless fun featuring full-scale crash tests involving tractors.”

The BBC has noted the remarkable success of Countryfile and other popular food and farming programmes such as Jimmy’s Farm, Lambing Live and Harvest.

Although Countryfile regularly attracts more than 10 million viewers, critics have argued that the show is too populist – and some of its scenes represent an untainted agricultural utopia.

To this end, producers of Top Gear have identified an opportunity in the show to feature a regular slot on tractor and farming machinery tests.

FW machinery editor David Cousins said a Top Gear casting agent called him on his mobile phone while he was working at the Farmers Weekly headquarters in Sutton, Surrey.

Cousins, who has more than 30 years’ experience writing about and driving farm machinery, said: “I was munching on a ham sandwich – with Red Tractor meat, of course – when they called me. It came totally out of the blue.

Top Gear producers said they were really impressed by the plethora of tractor test videos my team and I have produced for Farmers Weekly.

“We have featured tractor tests from all four corners of the globe across bumpy roads, lands and mountains. The slot could show just how amazing modern tractors really are!”

However, Cousins said producers would face a tough task trying to convince his FW machinery team of James Andrews and Oliver Mark to jump ship to Top Gear.

“James and Oli are 100% loyal to Farmers Weekly. They live and breathe for the brand. I think Top Gear would have to come up with an extraordinary six-figure offer to prise them away.” 

BBC producers have confirmed that Top Gear will return for a new series next year.


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