10 years ago, Top Gear was a mouldy car programme. It would review the latest Ford Fiesta, talk about the atrocious price of fuel, and be a generally boring magazine show. So much so in fact, that the BBC got rid of it. Channel 5 got most of the old show presenters, and set up a new programme called Fifth Gear, but it left off where had finished on the BBC. Only without one major difference. The popularity of the BBC's Top Gear was increased when they hired a lanky opinionated reporter from Doncaster. Unfortunately this reporter knew he was worth a lot more then the others, and so demanded a lot higher salary. Channel 5 didn't have the budget, so Jeremy Clarkson was left on the heap, writing for the Sun and heading off around the world to comment on each and every motor culture.
Then, in 2002 the BBC decided to bring back Top Gear. They hired new presenters to work alongside Jeremy Clarkson, got a live studio audience, and even had a circuit outside the studio so that cars can be tested. What was groundbreaking about the show though was that it wasn't just reviewing cars. From the outside, they took old cars and did interesting things to them. Oh, and caravans. Lots and lots of caravans.
In 9 series we have seen a Toyota Pickup almost destroyed, but still running. We've seen a race between a car and a plane from Northern Italy to London's Natwest Tower. We've seen a catastrophic attempt at the "world landspeed towing a caravan" record. We've even seen a Reliant Robin converted into a Space Shuttle.
In a truly momentous bit of TV on Sunday Evening, people all over Britain could be heard simultaneously saying "Oh, Yes!" with James May, as the humble 3 wheeler could be seen heading skywards. The entire thing was made by amateur rocketeers from all over the UK, and has got to be one of the finest spectacles you've ever seen. I suspected that either the rocket wouldn't move, or it would just blow up. But I was wrong.
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