Top Gear to Reschedule if England Beat Iceland (Because Overnight Ratings Don't Matter)

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

The BBC will shift the final episode of the current season of Top Gear to an earlier 6.30pm slot if England beat Iceland to reach the Euro 2016 quarter-finals. The game -- which a valiant England would be expected to lose after some sort of high-profile error -- is to be screened on BBC 1 at 8pm on July 3rd.

Dum-dum-DUMMMM! That’s Top Gear time.

BBC execs are said to be concerned about the revamped show’s overnight ratings, with the latest episode drawing in just 2.34 million viewers. That’s believed to be the lowest overnight audience for any episode of Top Gear since 2002.

It therefore makes sense to fiddle with the scheduling, though we imagine many people will be too busy shouting along to Three Lions, You’ll Never Walk Alone and World In Motion to bother tuning in.

That said, the decision makes a mockery of Chris Evans’ claims that overnight viewing figures could barely be less relevant. Consolidated numbers are much higher, thanks to iPlayer, but live viewing is still important, as stressed today by Rebecca Earnshaw, the senior research executive for BBC Television.

"Most viewing is still done live on linear TV [watching a programme live in its scheduled timeslot], but there are a lot of titles that see a large increase in their overall viewership after the programme has gone live," she said. "Titles which see large increases in viewing through iPlayer are often much more skewed towards younger audiences." [RadioTimes, BBC]