Wednesday, April 01, 2009


TOP Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson has been told by BBC bosses to ditch £200,000 supercars and review budget models instead.

He and his co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May have been ordered to downsize because of BBC spending cuts.

Producers also want the show to reflect the changing interests of viewers hit by the credit crunch and show “more sedate cheaper, greener” models.

Plans to feature the likes of a Lamborghini, Ferrari and a Porsche have been axed.

Jezza, 48, Hammond, 39, and May, 46, could be seen behind the wheel of cars like the dinky £10,000 Toyota iQ and “unfashionable” classics like the Citroen Ami 8 and a Lanchester.

Clarkson had vowed to ignore the Beeb’s budget squeeze but executive producer Andy Wilman, 48, said last night that the show could not ignore the recession. He said: “This series we were going to film a road trip with a Lambo and a Porsche.

“Now it will be cars like the Toyota iQ because they’re smart and clever and you can sense the mood. We’re not that thick.”

He said BBC2 were thinking of screening a version called Boring Top Gear, featuring “down-to-earth” consumer advice rather than blowing up caravans or playing darts with scrap cars.

Earlier this year Clarkson said he would ignore the 30% cuts. He said: “We’ll keep going till the cash runs out.”

The presenters’ salaries have not yet been hit. Clarkson is believed to get £2million a year, while Richard Hammond and James May get £25,000 a show.

A BBC spokesman said: “You can rest assured that the supercars will still be there in the new series because those cars are about fantasy and escapism.

“But we realise money’s tight, so we’ll also be devoting screen time to smaller, cheaper cars.”


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