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It’s far from perfect but I’ve always been immensely proud of what we, as a nation, have tried to create in the British Broadcasting Corporation. A bastion of, sometimes flawed, but generally reliable truth amidst a sea of heavily distorted news sources. A concept which becomes increasingly more important as our news sources become controlled more by click throughs than by any form of moral editorial duty.

That said, I’ve been a hater of the BBC’s Top Gear programme for some time now. I find it’s crass, sensationalist, offensive and base level “humour” appals me and is the TV equivalent of internet service’s “click through chasing”. Article’s within it are made with an eye on “you have to see that piece!” mentality from BOTH sides of the argument. It’s a Richard Littlejohn on the television. A show designed purely to be “spoken about”, good OR bad, which fuels it’s own fire of fuckwittery. It has less and less to do with either cars or with motoring every series. In fact, it seems to exist purely to rile good people and to add fuel to the fire of morons. It is heavily immoral in my eyes and goes against much of what the BBC was built to represent.

I have friends who have appeared on the show in one of their “skin of his teeth” races between the mighty motorcar in a strange terrain and some “experts” of the odd terrain. I won’t say which particular “race” on here, but they both told me that the presenter involved wasn’t there for the first two days. It was during those 2 days that ALL of the exterior shots of the race were filmed. The shots where the mighty motorcar battled gallantly against the elements supposedly driven by the “expert” presenter. Then, on the 3rd day, the “star” arrived, filmed a few hours of internal shots and was promptly helicoptered away, presumably to film a ‘science documentary’ for the hard of learning wearing more hairspray than Joan Collins c1986.

The race was then presented on the show as a noble battle in which the car won, or lost, by a nose after it looked like all was lost then like the car was miles ahead only to find out it was level pegging as they approached the line. Ooh! The tension….. Did their scriptwriter used to write those Tony The Tiger Frostie’s ads?

In all fairness, this was made to entertain idiots. And it succeeded. Most viewers were probably thrilled by the pseudo-seat-of-the-pants spectacle and were none the wiser. In fact, some probably knew it didn’t happen exactly as it was presented to them on film but didn’t care. No harm done really. It was just a silly fake race between an expert and an idiot.

BUT… if you take this engineered and pre-scripted approach to “entertaining” and then use it to enforce a political agenda then it takes on a far more sinister angle. As George Monbiot reported in today’s Guardian the show has seen fit to take this formula of “entertaining” films and use it to make a bullshit propaganda film to promote the show’s Climate Change Denial agenda and attack, directly, manufacturers of electric cars. They purposely ran down most of the car’s battery prior to starting the film, a fact proven by the car’s onboard records, JUST to insinuate in their film that electric cars are unreliable and a waste of time.

Last Sunday, an episode of Top Gear showed Jeremy Clarkson and James May setting off for Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire, 60 miles away. The car unexpectedly ran out of charge when they got to Lincoln, and had to be pushed. They concluded that “electric cars are not the future”.

But it wasn’t unexpected: Nissan has a monitoring device in the car which transmits information on the state of the battery. This shows that, while the company delivered the car to Top Gear fully charged, the programme-makers ran the battery down before Clarkson and May set off, until only 40% of the charge was left. Moreover, they must have known this, as the electronic display tells the driver how many miles’ worth of electricity they have, and the sat-nav tells them if they don’t have enough charge to reach their destination. In this case it told them – before they set out on their 60-mile journey – that they had 30 miles’ worth of electricity. But, as Ben Webster of the Times reported earlier this week, “at no point were viewers told that the battery had been more than half empty at the start of the trip.”

It gets worse. As Webster points out, in order to stage a breakdown in Lincoln, “it appeared that the Leaf was driven in loops for more than 10 miles in Lincoln until the battery was flat.”

When Jeremy Clarkson was challenged about this, he admitted that he knew the car had only a small charge before he set out. But, he said: “That’s how TV works”. Not on the BBC it isn’t, or not unless your programme is called Top Gear.

At a time when the fossil fuel crisis is causing panic in Govenments across the world and at a time when wars are waged for these very resources Top Gear has deemed it necessary to undermine the work of manufacturers trying to find a way to circumnavigate the problem in a safe and beneficial way. Whether the car is amazing or not, to purposefully undermine the entire concept purely to fit with their infantile and long running “anyone who drives a Prius is a dickhead” campaign is not only immoral it breaks the BBC code on many levels. Not least this part of the charter:

We will be rigorous in establishing the truth of the story and well informed when explaining it. Our specialist expertise will bring authority and analysis to the complex world in which we live

If they want to pretend that a race across Loch Ness between a Ford Fiesta on waterskis and a Transit with wings is a tight run thing, or that a Range Rover would beat a Sherman Tank in a race across the breeding grounds of rare birds in the name of “providing entertainment” then fine, I won’t watch it personally, but many will. Not a problem. But to abuse their position as “experts” of motoring to push their own political agenda is an appalling misuse of the BBC’s airtime and a massive violation of their code.

None of which even touches on their series of sexist and racist flavoured idiocy about Mexicans, Truck Drivers, women in general and anyone who dares to not agree with their “ooh! Motorcars are ace” infantile drivel.

Overseas sales have been keeping this show dragging along for years now. I’m sure that cash is most welcome in times like this. But personally, I’d rather the BBC put a motoring programme bout motoring on the TV and let Clarkson and his gimp go and spout bile elsewhere. I haven’t watched the show in years, I urge you to do the same.

Moreover, I insist you watch this clip of Stewart Lee discussing the multitude of other reasons why Top Gear is utterly deplorable. Not only briliantly accurate it is one of the best stand up routines of recent years.



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