The Top Gear as we know it is dead with Jeremy Clarkson’s firing, and as further proof of that we have this leaked email to current and former staff from Executive Producer Andy Wilman confirming that he’s done with the BBC but “at least we left ‘em wanting more.”
Here’s the full text of the email from Wilman:
Well, at least we left ‘em wanting more. And that alone, when you think about it, is quite an achievement for a show that started 13 years ago. I know none of us wanted it to end this way, but for a moment I’d like us to look back and think about just what an incredible thing you all had a hand in creating. When Jane Root gave us the green light in 2002, the brief was to reinvigorate a car show and get an audience of three million. What you all ended up making was one of the most iconic programmes in TV history, a show about cars that went global, won countless awards, was devoured by non car fans and ended up in the Guinness Book of Records.
We had a lot of laughs, we had a lot of tiffs. We went to amazing places and we went to some shitholes. We nearly killed a presenter, we had to run for the border. We started off with whoever we could get in the Reasonably Priced Car, and ended up with Tom Cruise. Throughout all this we made television that was beautiful to look at and beautiful to listen to. The work ethic never slipped, the desire for everyone in this dysfunctional family to do right by the show never faltered. Jeremy, Richard and James, as the visible tip of the iceberg, got most of the attention and praise, but you all in your own fields had such an immense hand in weaving this unforgettable tapestry. I would love to single out everybody by name to thank them for what they did, but it’s impossible and I’d forget someone I shouldn’t have and that would be crap, so I’ll just say Jim, I’m sorry we never got a bear to drive an automatic.
For those of you who still rely on it for work, don’t worry, because the BBC will make sure the show continues. Our stint as guardians of Top Gear was a good one, but we were only part of the show’s history, not the whole of it. Those two words are bigger than us.
Anyway, when you’re feeling low in your working day at any point, look around at some of the crap on TV, then have a think about Top Gear, 2002- 2015, and say to yourself: “I made that.”
A big, big, big thank you, which will never be enough.
This confirms a lot of what we thought we’d here: The BBC will continue with the show and any staff who wish to stay seem like they’ll be able to do so. Wilman, the man who is as much a part of recreating the show as Jeremy Clarkson, will not be with them.
Of interesting note, former The Stig Ben Collins was also on this email, despite a well-publicized falling out. I guess it’s as good a time as any to let the past be the past.
UPDATE: Andy Wilman says his letter wasn’t technically meant as a resignation letter, which isn’t to say he won’t be leaving the BBC, merely that this isn’t how he’d do it:
The email I wrote yesterday was not a resignation statement, and nor was it meant for public consumption.
“It was a private note of thanks to 113 people who have worked on the show over the years, but clearly one of those 113 is a bit of a tit, because they shared it with a website.
“I don’t get this modern obsession with sharing, linking, forwarding, re tweeting; whatever happened to a private moment? And if I were to resign, I wouldn’t do it publicly, I’d do it old school by handing in my, er, notice, to someone upstairs in HR.
“I work behind the camera and I wouldn’t presume for one moment to think people are interested in what I do. Now, everyone back to work.”
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