Cheshire residents (both Lancashire lads really) Paddy McGuinness and Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff have put the pedal to the metal for the new series of top Gear, which revved into action tonight (Sunday 16th June).
Opening the show, Flintoff adressed the elephant in the room, as he quipped: “We know Top Gear’s had more rebirths than Dr Who recently…”
Following Matt LeBlanc’s departure last series, Top Gear bosses gave the comedian McGuiness and former England cricketer Flintoff the job of taking the wheel of the flagship motoring programme.
Joining the pair from Cheshire, Chris Harris remains in the driving seat, and the trio launched Top Gear’s latest incarnation by winding the clock right back to the start; first cars.
The show’s producers gave them £4,000 each to spend on the closest thing they could find to their own first cars – and then sent them to Ethiopia to test their trusty steeds.
McGuiness rolled in first, with a Ford Escort Mk2, simultaneously setting the groundwork for some of the show’s trademark humour: “What came up when you searched ‘old escort’ on the web?”
Harris bought an original Mini, having spent £3,300. The only remaining presenter from the previous series described the vehicle as “the greatest British object ever made.”
Meanwhile Flintoff unveiled the first car he bought, a Porsche Boxster – to outrage from his colleagues!
The first set of wheels he officially owned, at the age of 22, followed a handful of sponsored cars after 6 years as a professional cricketer.
Paddy and Freddie appear to be a hit with viewers.
Comments on Twitter included: “Loving the new Top Gear so far,” and “Northern banter is best” in response to the programme’s childish antics.
Some of the posts on the So Cheshire Facebook page included: “very much improved from the last lot… will watch it again,” and “loved it.”
MEET THE TEAM
Production on Series 27 of Top Gear began earlier this year.
The cars will remain the real stars of the show, but if the first episode is anything to go by there’ll be a return to more humorous content and general messing about.
Rory Reid, who has been a co-presenter on Top Gear since Series 23, was noticeably absent from the new presenting team line-up, but will remain part of the Top Gear family – as will German racing star Sabine Schmitz.
Rory will continue to front Top Gear companion show ‘Extra Gear’.
Commenting on his new job, Paddy McGuinness said: “Getting the Top Gear gig is a real honour and I’m thrilled the BBC have given me this opportunity.”
Co-host Flintoff added: “It’s not often you have the chance to do both of your dream jobs, but I’m now lucky enough to say I will have.
“I’ve always been passionate about cars and I’m so excited to be joining the Top Gear team.”
Chris Harris said of his new colleagues: “They’re both brilliant, natural entertainers – and their mischief mixed with the most exciting cars on the planet is sure to take the show to the next level.”