• Oct 19, 2009

News coming out of the U.K. today suggests that everybody's second-favorite British motoring television show may be facing the axe. According to the Daily Mail, Fifth Gear, which has never quite mustered the following of rival Top Gear, has been put on ice. Or has it?

A quick check on FinalGear.com indicates that the report from DM may not be entirely accurate. Fifth Gear's own Jonny Smith has fired off a series of Tweets from his personal Twitter account, and he suggests that reports of the show's demise are somewhat exaggerated, saying that "nothing is official."

For what it's worth, while we do prefer to burn an hour watching the antics from the rival crew at Top Gear, we also find Fifth Gear's brand of vehicular commentary worth watching. Even if Clarkson and Co. are more entertaining, at least some Autoblog staffers find Tiff Needell and Vicki Butler-Henderson's driving impressions to carry more authority. If nothing else, we find Fifth Gear vastly superior to U.S. motoring shows like PBS' MotorWeek, which appears to be perpetually stuck in 1985. Where's the justice in that? Thanks for the tips, Sylvester and Eddie!

[Source: Daily Mail]


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  • 34 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Explains why Tiff and Vicki are appearing on Clarkson's new DVD.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Finally. Although, I will say, please send Vicki and Tiff over to Top Gear. Yes, they'll have to get a bigger backseat-sofa, but it'd be worth it just to see Vicki, I mean, more awesome people on TG. And I agree, I have massive respect for Tiff.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Nateb123

        I don't believe Clarkson and Tiff became enemies. After Top Gear's old format was canceled, Tiff tried to revive the Top Gear name on channel 5, but Clarkson and Andy Willman had already created their new version for the BBC. I think Clarkson and Tiff are actually good friends, seeing as Tiff is in Clarkson's new DVD fighting the Stig.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It would be pity should Tiff disappear from our radar. As for Vicky, I'd prefer her over the (IMO über-annoyng) Sabine, who many suggest to hire into TG.
        But Including those two would inevitably change the whole format of the show. That said I'm not saying it couldn't work.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Although, I will say, please send Vicki and Tiff over to Top Gear."

        Butler-Henderson and Needell both used to be part of the TG crew in the days when it was a proper motoring programme. As accomplished motoring journalists, I doubt the current TG format would suit them, just as it doesn't really suit Clarkson or Mays 'real talents either.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wasn't the whole reason for Fifth Gear's existence that Tiff and Clarkson became huge enemies? I can't see much changing...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sad news.

      I've always like Jonny and Vicki Butler-Henderson, but the new format seems to have doomed the show; they forgot they were a "car" show and tried instead to copy Top Gear's lunacy.

      Tiff Needell deserves his own show. He reminds me of Alain DeCadenet, someone greatly under-rated as both a driver and a personality. I'd love to buy them both dinner, great stories; endlessly entertaining.

      Motorweek needs to be killed...they care more about flashy graphics and titles than they do the cars & trucks they test.

      Really - do we need the word "styling" flashing across the screen as John Davis describes the car's styling? The word "track" as they track test the machine??

      What? - Do the think we're retarded?

      • 5 Years Ago
      That's a shame. Just a reflection of our times.

      Don't know why, but always felt Fifth Gear should have been merged with The Gadget Show (not enough auto content there).

      http://www.carnorama.com
      • 5 Years Ago
      Noooooooooo! I _always_ enjoyed Fifth Gear a lot more than Top Gear. I watchted Jason Plato's GTI MKV review and the 911 Turbo one like a dozen times on youtube. Tom Ford's TT review was absolutely brilliant, loved it.

      Good team, very high knowledge, I'm not always in the mood to watch Mr. Sarcasm and his (sometimes) very strange type of humor on Top Gear...

      Keep Fifth Gear alive!
      • 5 Years Ago
      personally I don't know why it would be cancelled...? Its a far far better show than Top Gear... Much more informative and down to earth! I don't watch Top Gear anymore at all...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I actually like both shows equally. Fifth Gear is more subdued and informative, Top Gear is sophomoric humor. In fact actually, if you watch enough Top Gear, its' the same kinds of sophomoric humor and hyperbolic complaints. It gets tiring.

      Fifth Gear is to classical music as Top Gear is to pop music.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have been a long time fan of Top Gear but the past year or more i feel its gone down hill. Fifth is OK but these days I really enjoy Wheeler Dealer over both. that show is great, especially China working on the cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Seriously? Wheeler Dealer is crap. The mini episode saw the mini bodged giving rubbish advice and it was bought off a family member.

        It really is diabolical.
      • 5 Years Ago
      In Fifth Gear, there's too much motorbike stuff, pointless stunts, and the presenters don't seem to know eachother; they do their own reviews and put them one after the other to make a show. They don't do thing together as a team as Top Gear to make a real episode.
      Well, I still don't miss a show
        • 5 Years Ago
        Fifth Gear does pointless stunts? Don't you mean Top Gear?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Cancelling would definately be a shame. While each are entertaining, they are entertaining in completely different ways.

      Fifth Gear provides actual usable information, generally without bias to the car, and they are entertaing to watch as well.

      Top Gear ... well ... one would never take home improvement tips from Tim Taylor and the same would be said of taking car tips from any of the guys from Top Gear.
      They are, however, exceedingly entertaing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Top Gear is a better "show," but it also has a bigger budget. In terms of the quality of the hosts, I do, frankly, think that Tiff, Vicky and Jason are superior two all three TG stooges. Clarkson's acidity is hillarious at times, but he judges cars more on how he felt when he got out of bed in the morning than how they actually drive.

      Clarkson will drive a Viper and say it's rubbish because it power slides all over the track, and then he'll drive the C63 AMG and say that BECAUSE it's suicidal it is intrinsically a better car than its more well-behaved counterparts. It doesn't make him any less fun to watch, but there isn't much objectivity there. He'll drive supercars and complain that they aren't practical, and then drive practical cars and complain that they aren't super. I don't really understand what he's after.

      Tiff and Jason are much better at explaining the fundamental differences in driving dynamics between competing models and Vicky does a MUCH better job of describing how a car would be to actually live with. As for Motorweek, all I can say is that the mid-80's airline safety-presentation voiceover style has GOT to go. It's painful listening to that man talk. All that aside, I do really enjoy TG. It may be that there isn't enough room in this town for two British automotive enthusiast shows, but that's too bad because I don't see how we as lovers of the subject benefit by seeing either one go by the wayside.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Send it stateside. It'd do well. Just don't put it on a busy night like Thursday.
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