Friday, February 02, 2007

Top Gear. Cars. Yeah.

It's only taken one episode and already the new series of Top Gear has upset those people who huddle around TV sets waiting to be upset. I don't care much for Clarkson and co myself but I do think he's best ignored.

The latest furore concerns Richard Hammond's return to the programme. The brain injury charity Headway has registered its unhappiness with comments made about 'the Hamster'
on his return to the programme. Predictably, Clarkson made some oafish remark about him being mental the-other-fella offered him a tissue in case he was dribbling. Not side-splittingly funny by any means and potentially upsetting for some viewers. While I can see why Headway feels it should remind people that not all victims of accidents make complete recoveries, I do question whether it considered its objections would ever amount to anything. Clarkson revels in upsetting people. He's big chums with AA Gill who also glories in bashing whomever strays onto his radar. Ask the Albanians. Top Gear, as so far as I can tell, revolves around 'blokey banter', so in general the advice should be turn off if you don't like. Nonetheless, I do agree with Headway when it complains that some of the coverage of Hammond's crash has been irresponsible.

If I had a friend who had survived a similar accident and recovered as well as Hammond, I and others would probably make jokes at their expensive when it felt it was right to do so. It's called gallows humour and most of use it at some point. For Clarkson and the-other-fella, it's a way of saying, "Oh eck, thank gawd, you made it, we love you" without actually having to say the L-word or have to ponder too long on the lexicon of endearment. Hammond's crash and his recovery is probably a great career move given the programme he fronts. And his thoughts on the subject whenever a mic has been thrust in his face have certainly played up to the dare devil, petrol head image. But perhaps it's just his and those closest to him's way of coping.


At 10:23 am , Anonymous a. nonymous said...

I think if people watch Top Gear, then get offended by, presumably, the bit they were tuning in to watch (Hammond's crash), then their complaints don't really deserve credence. I think everyone knows how close he was to death, and how grateful he is to everyone who showed support/helped out, and now he feels he can take the piss a bit. It's been nearly 6 months now, and surely everyone's learned what happens if you get in a jet propelled car with a dodgy tyre by now...

As for Clarkson, well, he's cultivated himself an image that's served him very well, and makes him quite a lot of money. I don't really agree with a number his views, but like you say, he tends to like upsetting people. I'm not sure he'd be so out and out obnoxious off screen and out of print.


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