The Making of Top Gear

By James O Malley on at

Ever wondered how Top Gear was actually made? It turns out that the show was more carefully scripted than you might have thought. According to former script editor Richard Porter, "Top Gear might sometimes have seemed like a big, freewheeling, slobbery, shambolic mess but you’d be amazed at the attention to detail. Someone once asked me what it was like to write on the show and the only way I could explain it was to say that we could easily lose 40 minutes arguing whether ‘raspberries’ was a funnier word than ‘hat’."

He was writing for our pals over at Jalopnik, and goes into a number of other stories from behind the scenes at the show.

In the piece, he explains how the trickiest part was often the three presenter films which took up the bulk of the programme. Apparently while they did want to get laughs, the intention was to always start (and ideally end) at a logical point:

"Coming up with suggestions wasn’t the hard part, it was the process that followed in which the idea would be prodded and dismantled and subjected to the same line of questioning it might receive from a four-year-old; Why? Why? No really, why? Why were we going there? Why were we taking those cars? Why were we doing this at all?"

One example of this is the team apparently planned a piece aiming to redesign the fire engine, to make it smaller and faster. The trouble is, that once they sat down and worked out all of the ideas they realised that fire engines as they already exist are pretty much the optimal design, so had to throw it away despite the gag potential.

The whole piece makes for fascinating reading, so be sure to go and check it out. [Jalopnik]