It it well known that Top Gear is mainly scripted and lots of it is staged, but with the right trio of hosts, it is sometimes difficult to tell when they bounce off each other naturally. This was certainly the case with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May and many fans have been surprised to feel the same great chemistry with the current hosts Paddy McGuinness, Freddie Flintoff and Chris Harris.
Top Gear has been on our screens since 2002, reviewing various vehicles as well as galavanting off around the globe on hilarious adventures. Fans have recently taken to Reddit to try and work out how much is scripted, and luckily for them, some people who used to work on the show were on hand to give all of the answers.
Reddit user, jayman419, claimed to work on the show when it was hosted by Clarkson, Hammond and May. They explained:
“It’s almost entirely scripted. The three of them are pretty good friends off-camera, and they play their roles when the camera is on,”
“But it is an entertainment program, not an informational program. The BBC has clarified this on several occasions, because the standards (like how complaints are treated) are different.”
“For the ‘reviews’ the cast go and drive the car for a while, then head into the offices and write up the script for the scenes.
“While they’re inside the trailer, the crew film someone else driving the car for editing into the scene.
“The reviewer then comes back out of the trailer, goes over everything with the director, and film the review itself.”
“Either way, they go back and do the stunt again (usually) to get shots of the speedometer and other equipment that the stunt needed, since they don’t have a camera there in most of the interior scenes.”
Jayman419 went on to reveal how to spot if a scene has been done twice. They said:
“They do some quick reshoots. (You’ll often see skidmarks or tire-tracks or such on the ground, or other evidence that the scene is a reshoot.) Then they move on to the next scene.”
On the other hand, another user, Daedelous2k, was of the opinion that the races and experiments we see on the show are not staged, but the added drama surrounding it might be. They go on to list how to tell which parts of the episodes are not scripted. They explain:
“1. The Camera crew is visible and the presenters don’t refer to them (Jeremy passes May/Hammond at the end of the race to Verbier).
“2. Someone gets injured (James falling back and taking a knock on the head).
“3. The Camera work seriously slips and the footage becomes excessively rough without prompt by the presenters (Alabama gas station).
“4. The presenters act more like normal people for a moment. (The 24 hr endurance race, the team didn’t want to let their usual ragging on each other get in the way).
“5. Someone gets emotional (Hammond with the disabled Dakar Rally team).”