Top Gear’s forgotten rival car show is back, but will it find an audience?
Motoring TV fans are going to be spoilt for choice later this year. Matt LeBlanc will be hosting his last ever season of Top Gear, and the third season of The Grand Tour is also premiering on Amazon this winter. We can now add one more show to that list, because British car show Fifth Gear is finally returning to screens in September after a three-year hiatus. Tiff Needell confirmed the news on Twitter, but there aren’t many new details about the new season to go on yet. We don't even know which other hosts will be joining him.
“Did some filming yesterday for a new series of ... @FifthGearTV! Yes, after a three year break we’re back for more in September,” he wrote. It hasn’t been confirmed if former hosts Jason Plato, Jonny Smith are returning, but a Tweet by Needell hints that Plato could be back. “We were both smoking tires yesterday ...” he teased when asked if Plato is returning. Fifth Gear was cancelled a few years ago due to a lack of funding according to Needell. Frankly, we wouldn’t be surprised if it struggled to find an audience as the show was been passed around multiple TV channels in the UK. Vicki Butler-Henderson confirmed she will be returning on Twitter.
It first aired on Channel 5 but has also aired on the BBC’s Discovery and History channels and ITV 4. The new series will air on Quest in the UK. Fifth Gear first aired in 2002 and was made up of former Top Gear presenters Tiff Needell, Quentin Willson and Vicki Butler-Henderson after the show was cancelled in 2001. Clarkson rebooted Top Gear the same year, and the rest is history. Fifth Gear never achieved the same mass appeal as Top Gear, but the show has proven popular with gear heads as it arguably provides a better balance of informative car reviews and entertainment than its rival show. And let’s face it, none of the presenters in Top Gear or The Grand Tour have Tiff Needell’s driving talent.