The traditional Top Gear format, established during its golden age of hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, involves an audience packed around various cars and sets inside a massive studio. Presenters walk from place to place, and audiences react as they watch pre-filmed segments. This, obviously, was not going to be possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, so Top Gear found another solution.
The 29th season of the modern iteration of Top Gear, set to air later this year or early next year, will still be filmed in front of a live audience. Instead of packing into a studio, however, attendees were invited to bring their own cars, creating something in between the crowd at a drive-in movie theater and a car show.
Had a great time. What a good idea 👍 pic.twitter.com/k22IeSN8jX
— Wayne (@wayneb2222) September 9, 2020
The major change is a direct result of virus restrictions, but the unique and memorable aesthetic it creates is actually one of the more interesting production decisions the Top Gear team has made during its current era, and one that may be worth considering keeping after the current pandemic. Some viewers who attended the shoot shared their car’s eye view of the sets, and the perspective seems like a great spectator experience for them, as well.
The upcoming season of the flagship Top Gear will again be hosted primarily by Chris Harris, Paddy McGuinness, and Freddie Flintoff.