• Mar 25, 2010
Fans of British car shows take heart. Nope, we're not talking about Top Gear, but it's cross-town rival Fifth Gear. The Channel 5 car show that picked up after the original Top Gear was canceled was itself the victim of cutbacks recently. In the face of reduced viewership (compared to the five million who watch Top Gear regularly) and reduced ad revenue from belt-tightening automakers, network executives canceled the show back in October. By December, however, sources indicated that there was still a heartbeat and a glimmer of hope.

Now reports suggest that, following an outpouring of support, the network has agreed to keep Fifth Gear alive, albeit with some changes. The new Fifth Gear will apparently leave the studio permanently to focus directly on the test drives in a bid to lure hard-core enthusiasts disgruntled with Top Gear's decided emphasis on shenanigans. Two of the six presenters – Tom Ford and Tim Shaw – have also been dropped, leaving Vicki Butler-Henderson, Jonny Smith, Tiff Needell and Jason Plato to present the show.

With the revised format, Fifth Gear has reportedly been approved for two more seasons, with the first starting only a month away in late April, beating Top Gear's late-summer return to the punch. Apparently the Discovery network has been contracted to broadcast the show in other European markets outside the UK, so here's hoping we'll get the shows Stateside as well.

[Source: The Times of London via rpmgo.com]


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  • 40 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      So glad they got rid of Tom Ford and Tim Shaw. I feel they didn't contribute much to the show. I personally don't think they need Johnny either. Should just do the trio of Vicki, Tiff, and Jason; since those are the only three that can actually drive.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I love both the shows.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Top Gear has evolved into a reality show that just happens to use cars.That why it appeals to so many people. Fifth gear is a car show, one that is really targeted for a much smaller audience of Auto Enthusiasts. And I would rather look at VBH than Clarkson anyday. Clarkson's hatred of anything that isn't British is extremely entertaining probably because the perception of most brits is much more modest. I don't agree with a lot of his opinions but most of it's a ruse I think. His last couple of car puchases have included a german and an american car. I never miss an episode of 5th gear, top gear I will get to in time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Both shows are a complete waste of time. I can't believe anybody watches this drek, but then people love Nascar, too!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thank god. Those two were really, really annoying. Now the guy on the right in that pic needs to leave and it will be a much, much better show.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Top Gear stopped being a car show and turned into recycled crap once Clarkson became one of the producers. i hope Fifth Gear learned something from that and make a show about testing cars.

      fortunately we have a lot good car shows in Europe to chose from and a new, fresh Fifth Gear is always welcome.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thank god. Tom Ford was such an idiot. His 335i review was hilariously terrible. He said he would've opted for a 300C SRT8 instead...really.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I just can't tell you how great it is to hear Tom and Tim will be kicked off. They're the reason I stopped watching it, especially the later.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Glad to see it back... would be even more glad if it came here.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "In other news, the series 'Ghost Whisperer' has been merged with popular Autophile show '5th Gear' in an effort to appeal to a broader audience and reduce production costs.

      Initial episodes are expected to feature deceased actors/celebrities such as Steve McQueen and Elvis test driving models no longer in production. Sources indicate the vehicles featured may include the Pontiac G8, Saturn Sky and Ford's Crown Vic."

      That's just a freaky, freaky pic.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm happy with those changes, as long as there is more Vicky. The way she talks out of the side of her mouth is incredibly hot. That and Tiff is awesome. The two axed presenters didn't really do anything other than introduce segments anyway.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Vicky BH is a shrill cow. I skip/fast forward through any segment of 5th Gear she's in because I can't bear her shreaking claptrap. Plato is a twit, Needel is a good driver but the personality of a dishrag. The first few seasons with that crew produced a failure of a show until Tom and Johnny were added to give a little personality. Tim was a decent addition as well; I liked the vibe from those guys. They should have axed VBH and Plato, kept the other two, and put Needel in a Stiggish suit and tell him to shut up and drive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I too cannot stand Vicky. She is NOT good looking and so what if she can drive? She tries way too hard putting on the cute bubbly 18 year old act. Ford wasn't bad but that hairy dude was awful. Dude, they invented this thing called a comb - check into it. I wished they axed that Jonny guy as well . He is not a car guy and brings nothing to the show. I imagine he was brought in to be the cool, hip young guy or something but he is just awkward.

        If Fifth Gear would stop trying to be Top Gear and give Tiff and Plato more air time, it would be much better. It's also annoying how they are constantly changing the format and switching presenters. More race car drivers, less idiots who don't know how to sit on a couch.
        • 4 Years Ago
        RE: 652059

        You sir, sound like an idiot. My guess? - you are an idiot.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've grown to like Johnny. He doesn't have the bold personalities of Tiff, Vicki and Jason, but he balances those 3 out nicely. He's good at evaluating the non-performance aspect of vehicle testing (which there is too much of). Tom did that too, but he came across as too subjective and biased, and often just plain off-based.

      Fifth gear was trying to emulate Top Gear too much, and obviously it wasn't working out. I'm glad that they're returning to more serious vehicle testing.
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