Two junior presenters will be promoted, a celebrity road trip feature will be added and a host of production staff will be shuffled around for the next series of Top Gear, reports The Daily Telegraph. A BBC document The Telegraph obtained shows just how hard BBC is trying to move on from Top Gear’s unloved relaunch.
Top Gear’s audience dropped to only 1.9 million viewers during Series 23, which is unheard of for the world’s most popular motoring show. Viewers tuned out for a number of reasons, ranging from a confusing and painfully long new celebrity interview format to primary host Chris Evans’ incessant, irritating shouting. Now the BBC’s goal is to bring those viewers back.
While the rest of the Series 23 relaunch cast will be staying, they’ll have a few more tweaks both on the show and behind the scenes to contend with for Series 24. In addition to the changes listed above, Top Gear will drop its Christmas specials, where the cast often went on a major road trip outside of the United Kingdom. Perhaps that was a bit too close to the plot line of the old Top Gear hosts’ new Amazon show, The Grand Tour.
Scripts, however, are likely to be much more polished going forward, as The Telegraph notes that writing was one area Evans bizarrely understaffed for the relaunch:
It is understood that presenters were unhappy with the show’s scripts, after just one writer was hired to work on the programme, leading Evans to invite his friend and long-term collaborator, Danny Baker, to join the crew.
One senior figure involved with the show said: “Jeremy Clarkson used to hone, and hone, and hone the script. He was obsessive about it. They over-resourced the technology side, and under-resourced the parts that add finesse.”
Additionally, the show will return in the spring instead of over the summer, when television audiences are typically larger. Production delays for the relaunched Top Gear pushed its debut into late May, when it competed with Euro 2016 soccer games for viewers’ attention.
The production staff is also getting a significant revamp. The BBC will be replacing the series producer, The Telegraph revealed. Additionally, series editor and longtime Top Gear staff member Alex Renton will take over Evans’ responsibilities as the show’s creative lead.
Hilariously, the job requirements listed for the new series producer seem to throw a delightful smidgen of shade at Evans’ reportedly disastrous time leading the show. Admittedly, the BBC never confirmed rumors that Evans would bully staff on the show, however, the BBC’s job description for the new series producer requires that the new hire “proactively offers constructive feedback to others.” The other requirements listed in the BBC’s job description also seem to counter every tabloid description of Evans’ allegedly less than friendly management style. Via The Telegraph:
The document, seen by The Daily Telegraph, says applicants should have the “ability to create a vision and inspire others to realise it irrespective of circumstances,” and must “maintain personal effectiveness by managing own emotions in the face of pressure, setbacks or when dealing with provocative situations”.
The series is close to securing Matt LeBlanc as the international face for the show as well, The Telegraph adds.