The Grand Tour

New Top Gear Host Rory Reid Talks about his Intense First Year

When Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pitt broke up a few years ago, a lot of her fans wondered aloud how she was ever going to move on from People Magazine’s “sexiest man alive!” A rebound is always going to be a rebound, but when you are a rebound from a relatively good catch, well, you’re going to end up like last season’s crew of Top Gear: broken and fighting a battle uphill in wind and snow.

The word battle should be noted here because first year host, Rory Reid, described his first year with Top Gear as like being parachuted into the middle of a war. This war was between the loyal fans of the old guard of Clarkson, Hammond and May and basically the BBC for letting them go.

I was definitely surprised. I thought that we’d come in, do the job and then be judged according to the job that we did. But it’s not just a TV show – it’s an institution. It’s like if the Wu-Tang Clan took over from One Direction. The fans of One Direction would be like, ‘What the hell are we watching, who are these people?’ Even if the music they made was good, or comparable, the fact that you’ve got massively different people taking over from something that you’ve watched and loved for years – that’s a massive challenge for people to get used to.

As most of us can understand, if you’re involved in a relationship with someone who’s previous relationship ended on bad terms or is still in the process of ending, things can get a little awkward and the remnants of what has hit the fan eventually slap right into your face. This has definitely been the case with Reid and Chris Harris as both have earned their way to positions at Top Gear, with a car journalism career that can rival anyone in the industry.

It’s just that broken-hearted Top Gear fans don’t care.

Reid gives a great analogy of what their doing on Top Gear as if Wu-Tang Clan took over One Direction. The fan base was built on a particular chemistry and everything that is done differently will be criticized while everything done the same will be criticized even more. It’s going to take time to reshape the expectations of old Top Gear fans and have them get used to the new ways of the new cast and crew. With that being said, it looks like the BBC will going back to a three host format.

Let’s assume that everyone except Chris Evans remains on the show; then I think that the format has to change, because the way the previous show worked was Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc bouncing off each other in the studio, and then they’d get one of the others – myself, Chris Harris, Sabine [Schmitz] or Eddie [Jordan] – to take part in something specific. Without Chris Evans, you’d only have Matt LeBlanc to do that, and I don’t know if that’s a route the BBC would go down, to have him on his own. I think they’d incorporate the rest of us to make it like an ensemble piece. We’ll see what happens, but I expect it to be a pretty big change, and that things will be pretty different for series 24.

Probably the most interesting thing to learn from the interview is that Reid has yet to sign a contract yet with the BBC. With LeBlanc rumored to be signed up for two more seasons, shouldn’t the BBC have locked up Reid already, so they can start filming relatively soon?

I haven’t signed a contract yet, and I don’t know if anyone else has, but the expectation is that we will continue without Chris. I don’t know whether they’ll bring someone new in or they’ll stick with the presenters as they are now and change the format around to suit those presenters, but we’ll find that out in the very near future.

Overall, the interview with Red Bull is definitely something you should check out as they talk about Chris Harris’ tears, his favorite cars from the season and best surprises.



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