Clarkson's at it again, casting shadows of doubt on the future of Top Gear. The celebrity automotive journalist (perhaps the most well-known, period) claims that while the BBC program ranks among the most watched television shows on the air, and that its audience continues to climb "like an F-15 on combat power," Top Gear is facing serious problems which could jeopardize its future.

The first, according to Jezza, is that following Richard Hammond's miraculous recovery and return to the show, the production schedule got horribly delayed. Clarkson figures that it takes about half a year to produce a season, which puts them severely behind schedule for the next series. Even if the show were to return in October, which he figures is the earliest a new series could air, Clarkson cites disgruntled fans who lamented the lack of content in the hastily-produced and recently-concluded 9th season.

"The series that's just finished was full of us three cocking about, and almost completely devoid of anything you might fairly call a 'road test,'" surmised Clarkson in his recent column. "This has gone down very badly with the people in internet land." (Hey, is he talking about us?)

Clarkson fears that most television viewers don't want to see him and the gang driving Ferraris and Lamborghinis, but just want to be entertained, and that if and when the show does return for a tenth season, it stands the danger of being watered-down. But it's the extraordinary track tests and tire-munching road trips that made the show as popular as it is. Top Gear, it seems, needs to be rescued from its own success.

Cheerio for the tip, Kim.

[Source: Top Gear]