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Thought For The Day

Does it not bother anyone that the most beautifully and ambitiously shot (and soundtracked) programme on BBC television is in fact TOP GEAR?

EDITED TO ADD: in case it’s unclear or you haven’t seen me mention it before, I happen to really like TOP GEAR, even though I can’t drive and know nothing about cars save that women transport me from place to place in them.

Published in brainjuice


  1. Medusa Jones Medusa Jones

    Anything to compensate for having Jeremy Clarkson soak up the screen, I suppose.

  2. Dekker Dekker

    …and the most successful, and has been all of the above for a long, long, long time now. I don’t give two-shits about cars…but every chance I get to catch it on DAVE I watch it attentively.

    AND to make the point finer…if you think it’s no big deal, for a comparison – check out Fifth Gear on CH5 which is diabolically shot and presented…and you can bet they probably dump about £60,000 on each episode (each episode of The Gadget Show costs around £60,000 so it makes sense it should be in that ballpark)

    – and didn’t the BBC try to cut into the programme after that twat Hammond exploded on the road or whatever the fuck it was that happened to him in 2006? Yet more reasons why that godforsaken stealth-tax the TV License should be stamped out with furious anger and the asshats that advocate it taken out into the street and horsewhipped.

  3. It may be but Doctor Who is the best soundtracked hands down.

  4. Warren Ellis Warren Ellis

    This is a joke, right?

  5. Dekker Dekker


    I’m pretty sure Top Gear has better songs per-minute than Doctor Who has per-series…

  6. Owen Owen

    Bothered? Yes. But the BBC has been dead station walking for some time. Credit to Top Gear it has hugely talented and inventive producers/writers, which sadly only works to highlight how utter shit the majority of the rest are. Same as our politicians though isn’t it, it’s not like we expect value for money from them. It grows on trees after all.

  7. I’ve heard both Fuck Buttons and Battles bouncing around their soundboards. Someone’s throwing around cash.

  8. blades blades

    actually, no…
    it doesn’t bother me one bit.
    why? because top gear is an entertainment show, and it’s awesome.
    it’s got sod all to do with cars, or real life. it’s purely three blokes having a laugh driving around in some fantastic cars that most real people aren’t going to get anywhere near.
    i only wish that they made new episodes on a weekly basis.

  9. “It may be but Doctor Who is the best soundtracked hands down.”
    Typed like a true American which should send shivers down the spine as to how much worst show sound tracking can be. We Americans either soundtrack our shows with bland ear filler or popular songs everyone likes rarely do we (Americans from Hollywood) sound track our shows the way “Doctor Who” and “Top Gear” do.

  10. Watching Top Gear tends to involve me saying this a lot: haven’t I got this on a CD somewhere?

    But agreed it is one of the best programs produced by the BBC (I rate Mock the Week and QI quite highly) and the fact that Dave’s schedule consists of mostly those three programs pleases me.

    However it is a shame that Top Gear is one of the most ambitious programs the BBC put out, apart from the occasional David Attenborough series, since the BBC should be doing more.

  11. Jason Jason

    iirc the Beeb have a special deal with the PRS that means they pay a flat yearly fee after which can play whatever they want, as many times as they want, in whatever programme they want. All of which means that soundtracks for the shows they make are left up to the producers and music directors of the programs themselves, who don’t have to worry about the licencing costs of individual tracks. So if they want to play something cool, they can. A few years back I heard a program sting that used a Squarepusher track as background.

    It’s both a wonder and a shame that more of their shows don’t have better soundtracks.

  12. Samuel Samuel

    I enjoy Top Gear as much as the next American who doesn’t like cars or regularly watch TV (but since I enjoy the show, I’m probably already lying), but I’d hardly say that its soundtrack is better than Dr. Who’s. It’s usually rather generic in its use of hair metal-esque distortion to indicate that this is ‘some kind of high octane car show!!!’ (if memory serves, anyway. I’ve had a few drinks and haven’t watched the show in nigh on six months). I appreciate that this is done somewhat ironically, but that doesn’t make it less true. Dr. Who’s score, however, is often specially composed for the episode at hand, with recurring motifs and thematic complexities which enhance the subject matter of the episode greatly.

    Anecdotally, the man who first forced me to watch Top Gear has and often listens to the soundtracks of a couple of seasons of Dr. Who.

    On a personal note, perhaps I shouldn’t try to sound smart on the Internet when I’ve been making out with a bottle.

  13. shades shades

    It’s not surprising that Top Gear has amazing cinematography.

    Filming in and around cars is considered notoriously difficult, and then the blokes on Top Gear go and do things like put them in the water or blow them up.

    It’s every serious camera nerd’s dream job, and thanks to the BBC’s world-renowned training program there is no shortage of well trained camera nerds.

  14. Joseph Briffa Joseph Briffa

    I find it literally unwatchable. Too blokey, smug, horribly-coiffured, clearly scripted bonhomie …and it looks like Michael Bay shat it.

    What’s wrong with you people?

    “Snog, Marry, Avoid” on the other hand…

  15. Kenn Kenn

    Top is is one of the most entertaining hours on tv period. I hope I can get it in Australia.

  16. I feel you completely. I can’t drive either, yet I like watching Top Gear. I am constantly baffled by the seemingly impossible combination of Clarkson, a fast car and Venetian Snares, or DJ Shadow, or if all else fails Rob “my music makes anything dramatic” Dougan.

  17. Michael Michael

    kenn: thanks to you can get it anywhere there is internet.

    plus: even if one doesn’t like cars or doesn’t care for the content (like the pre-last poster) one has to admit that the cinematography is better than almost anything else on TV .. it is, quite often, staggeringly good.

  18. dnwilliams dnwilliams

    It bothers me that the BBC’s house ads have better production value than the shows they advertise…

    But Top Gear is too beautiful a thing to provoke resentment in me.

  19. I just got into TOP GEAR with a newer roommate. Wow! Who thought the British could make a manly, cool show outside of Premiere League Football? ^_~ heh!
    I fell in love with this show and like Warren, I don’t drive. I’ve never even owned a car…in fact I drive about once a year. It takes me 15 minutes to remember that I LOVE TO DRIVE. But I live in Boston, MA USA where I got the best (although flawed) Public Transportation System…never needed one.
    But man, thanks to Nicole and the BBC America, I got the title to Warren’s next best funnybook, “CAPTAIN SLOW!!!”

    Here to the Stig! HUZZAH!

  20. […] October 17, 2009 · Leave a Comment As I’ve mentioned, we’ve recently plugged the TV back into the feeding tubes. It’s had me thinking about the shows I blow time on, and a post earlier today by Warren Ellis – regarding the BBC show Top Gear – reminded me of a thought I wanted to follow through. First though, Ellis’ statement: Does it not bother anyone that the most beautifully and ambitiously shot (and soundtracked) programme on BBC television is in fact TOP GEAR? – more […]

  21. JohnC JohnC

    Is it just me or would anyone else pay dearly to see Warren Ellis take a lap in the reasonably priced car on Top Gear?

  22. I have a sinking feeling that the BBC America version substitutes different music due to rights issues, don’t they?

    Anyway, yes, Top Gear is awesome. British hipsters can hate on it, but it’s the funniest, most entertaining show on TV, and I know as much about cars as I do about Australian politics.

  23. This is a joke, right?
    No !
    Dr. Who’s score, however, is often specially composed for the episode at hand, with recurring motifs and thematic complexities which enhance the subject matter of the episode greatly.
    Exactly right.
    Composing is hard enough without having to do it for a specific scene and or episode and Murray Gold does a spectacular job. I’m not talking about the occasional pop song they throw in, I am specifically referring to Mr. Golds original score. Top Gear is fun to be sure but musically not much going on.

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