Amazon ‘top gear’ off to a flying start

SOME say it can never be the same after he was sacked from the BBC’s Top Gear for attacking a producer in a row over hot food.

But instead of reviewing the safety features of the latest cheap Dacia, as might have been feared, Jeremy Clarkson is at the wheel of a £866,000, 217 mph McLaren P1 and celebrating the joys of working for subscription TV.

In a review for today’s Driving filed from Portugal where he is recording his new motoring series for Amazon Prime with his fellow presenters, Richard Hammond and James May, Clarkson writes how Amazon came “riding over the horizon on a white charger, in a brown cardboard envelope”. He notes that in his new job, “you can say what you want, because out there, in the free world, there’s no Ofsted. There’s no finger-wagging.”

The deal is reputed to be costing Amazon £160m over three years with Clarkson paid a reported £10m a year and his compatriots almost as much. “All of a sudden we were up to our scrotums in the dizzying world of modern narrowcasting, in which you can upload a programme when it’s ready, not necessarily at 7pm on a Tuesday,” Clarkson says.

Many of Top Gear’s most popular features — the Stig, the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car and the Cool Wall — will be absent from the new show because copyright rests with the BBC. But Clarkson says: “We will still be testing cars. And once we’d decided to keep on doing that rather than switching to icebreakers or handbags, it was pretty obvious where we’d begin . . . the question that has vexed the world’s motoring enthusiasts for nearly a year: which is best, the Ferrari the Ferrari, the Porsche 918 or the McLaren P1?”

The Times – 11/10/2015

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