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Culture

The New 'Top Gear': Reasonably Slick and Perfectly Dull

I embodied your dad to review the Clarkson-less car show.
31.5.16

Wait. These guys are from different countries? BBC

It's on. I've got a bottle of Bombardier. I'm wearing a pair of heavy duty Costco-bought thick blue jeans, and a polo shirt from Asda George. I smell of barbecue mingled with the sort of supermarket deodorant that leaves streaks of white powder underneath my creased armpits. I have a watch that has a compass on it, and my sunglasses are the most expensive thing I've bought in the past three years: they are from John Lewis and their high-definition optics lenses offer me razor sharp visuals from every angle. I'm wearing the "Mr Grumpy" slippers my wife bought me. I am your dad. His spirit moves within me, and mine within him.

The reason I've decided to take the form of your father for this one evening is simple: Top Gear is back – only this time The Legendary Jeremy Clarkson, and his two friends Brian May and the Hamster (Richard "The Hamster" Hammond) are out and Chris Evans and Joey From Friends are in.

So I'm here, pretending to be your dad, because for a chunk of the population – the same chunk that have a leather flip-case for their iPhones and an unexplained bit of blue rope in the boot of their cars – the absence of Clarkson is a huge deal. To them, this is like a Beatles reunion with no Paul McCartney and Joey Essex on drums. This is Moby Dick rewritten by Stephanie Meyer. This is a remake of Ghostbusters with an all female cast.

I wanted to understand what this upset felt like. What was it about the return of the show that was so grossly wrong? That had Carol Vorderman so perturbed? So I sat down, switched over, poured a pint of my own blood into the kettle and waited for it to boil.