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Top Gear: When can I watch and what is new?

Recombu Cars has seen the first episode of the brand new Top Gear ─ here’s a taste of what to expect from the reinvented show and when to tune in.

People who were lucky enough to get tickets assembled at the legendary Dunsfold Aerodrome yesterday to witness the reinvention of Top Gear, a show loved by around 350 million people worldwide and one that proved to be hugely profitable for the BBC.

The pressure is already enough to strike fear into The Stig, then, and that’s ignoring the absolutely gigantic elephant in the room that is the absence of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

Knowing the chemistry of the trio was a large part of Top Gear‘s incredible success, the six new presenters ─ Chris Evans, Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reid, Sabine Schmitz, Chris Harris and Eddie Jordan ─ have an enviably difficult job ahead of them.

We were lucky enough to be in the audience so we know what to expect. Sadly the BBC would beat us to death with a giant stick if we gave everything away, plus it would ruin the surprise, but we thought we would let you know a few all-important details.

The Star In A Reasonably Priced Car is no more

Rest in peace, Star In A Reasonably Priced Car. The popular racing segment, in which celebrities race around the Dunsfold track to see a lap time, has been killed. Well, sort of. In its place we now have ‘Star In A Rallycross Car’, which features celebrities driving very fast around a new track that features a mixture of tarmac, mud and one very big puddle. Just like rallycross, funnily enough.

What’s the new car celebrities will drive?

So long, Kia C’eed and its reasonably priced predecessors. The new car is a red Mini Cooper that has been setup to tackle the more bumpy and jumpy course. The new Mini Cooper, that is, not the dinky original.

Who will be on the first show?

Swear word-loving chef and Hell’s Kitchen star Gordon Ramsay is one of two stars to take on the new rallycross track. Yes, we said two stars because he will be joined by American actor Jesse Eisenberg, who played Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the Social Network. Eisenberg discusses his less than impressive back catalogue of cars and Ramsey manages to keep it PG. There have been unsubstantiated reports Brad Pitt was scheduled for the first show, but was too busy to attend.

The Stig is back and quieter than ever

Let’s be honest, this is hardly a secret as the BBC recently stuck a nine-metre bloody model of The Stig outside the BBC offices in London. The person (or persons) taking over as the Tame Racing Driver is a big secret, but we know he or she will be putting cars through their paces at Dunsfold, starting with a blue Dodge Viper ACR. Where this track-conquering monster finishes, you will have to find out for yourself.

What cars can we expect?

If you have seen any of the BBC’s teaser trailers, you will know roughly what to expect from the new Top Gear. Chris Evans drives the new Dodge Viper ACR, Matt LeBlanc and Evans race to Blackpool in Robin Rialto three-wheelers and LeBlanc goes crazy in the Ariel Nomad off-roader thing. And that’s just episode one. Expect to see Rory Reid and Chris Harris later in the series, YouTube fans.

The studio has changed

It’s in the same place in sleepy Surrey and beside the Dunsfold track but Top Gear‘s studio has been given a makeover. So expect a slightly different albeit familiar backdrop.

Did people walk out before filming finished?

The Independent newspaper claims a portion of the studio audience left before filming was finished. This is partly true, mainly because filming had overran significantly beyond the 4pm finish promised by Evans (who did joke about how long it Clarkson took do the same job). But it was more to do with having to refilm the intro the audience had already seen and been a part of. The overall atmosphere was positive and the revised layout well received, if you ask us.

Did Chris Evans swear at the studio audience?

Evans did appear out of his depth with filming scripted parts of the show and admitted as much to the studio audience on the day, and, yes, he did say a fair few expletives. But what the Sun‘s article fails to mention is the fact the audience had laughed at his jokes the first time around and that it was more about relaxing the audience. Meanwhile his complaints about the crowd being too quiet stemmed from the need to repeat a few scenes to get them right.

When can I watch the new Top Gear?

The 29th of May, 2016. That’s a Sunday so it’s business as usual for what hopes to remain the world’s most popular factual show. Tune in to BBC2 at 8pm to see how the new show gets on.

When can I watch Extra Gear?

Rory Reid and Extra Gear will be shown on BBC Three right after Top Gear finishes. You can head here to find out exactly how to watch it, thanks to the thoughtful chaps at Recombu Digital.

Is the new Top Gear any good?

If we told you we would have to kill you. Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme but what we can say is it’s not the car crash the internet is hoping for. Far from it, in fact. Wait until the 29th of Sunday for our full verdict and to see if it stands a chance of surviving without Clarkson.

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