Top Gear was some of the greatest TV on, well, TV. And while the magic was made of course by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, the spells were written by Richard Porter, script editor of the BBC car show, which was once awarded an International Emmy Award for best Non-Scripted Entertainment.
In his book, And On That Bombshell, he talks us through some of the unbelievable moments behind the scenes which we never saw on camera, and as Porter was there for the whole run of the show, including the awkward series with Jason Dawe at the very beginning, he has plenty of experiences to unload on us.
Porter has since left the show after following the famous trio over to The Grand Tour, and while he worked there for a few seasons, he now has little or no input on the show at all. He’s now presenting the Sniff and Smith Podcast alongside Fifth Gear’s Jonny Smith, and has a YouTube channel by the same name, both of which are incredibly popular.
Anyway, let’s get onto the good stuff.
Monkeys Driving Cars
Top Gear did strange things, but some ideas were so out there that they were left on the office floor and then no further. One example of this was when researcher Jim Wiseman asked a simple question in the office while brainstorming ideas: ““I was wondering,” he said one day. “Could a monkey drive a car?”
The extract from is book continued:
We all laughed… and agreed that this should definitely be on the show. Jim gave a well-known monkey sanctuary a call. Strangely, they didn’t share our enthusiasm for getting one of their inmates to drive a car. “If I find out that you’re attempting this,” the monkey lady said angrily, “I will SHUT YOU DOWN.”
That was the end of that one.