The Media Guru

Oct 6, 2008


Yep, the first episode of Top Gear UK's Australian spin-off was aired last Monday at 7:30 pm (1:30pm Mauritian time). The scene took 6h to rip it, but finally Top.Gear.Australia.S01E01.WS.PDTV.XViD-PiX was released. So, the BIG question is... how does it compare to [original] Top Gear.

But first, let me present the presenters.

Charlie Cox

Charlie Cox has combined his two passions of broadcasting and motor racing and is currently presenter and commentator for Moto GP on the BBC.
Born in Sydney, Charlie started his broadcast journalism career as a cadet at 2GB, a newsreader with 2WS and 2UE, finally returning to 2GB as News Director in the mid 1980s. He was appointed National News Director for the Macquarie Network and Program Director for 2GB, before taking on the role as General Manager in 1989. During this time, Charlie started his love affair with racing cars.
He moved to London in 1990 to head London’s LBC radio station and race cars.

Charlie went on to win three British titles and ran his own team in the British Touring Car Championships before a spectacular crash nearly ended his life in 1995.
It was during his recovery that BBC trialled him as a touring car co-commentator and he was eventually offered the role of full time motoring co-commentator in 1997.
Charlie was integral in setting up the broadcast division of the Daily Mail Group and is today a director of six different media companies in the UK and Australia.
He names the 1966 XP Falcon Futura as his first car and says there is not one ultimate car, that “you need a portfolio to cover all the eventualities.” These days he drives a Porsche GT2, a Mercedes S500, a Ducati Superbike and a Harley Davidson.

Warren Brown

Warren is an award winning cartoonist for The Daily Telegraph.
A great entertainer and story teller by nature, Warren has written a number of books, is a regular motoring columnist for The Daily Telegraph and hosts his own radio program on the ABC.

He’s an adventurer, with a passion for history and motoring. In 2005 he came up with the idea to retrace the epic 1907 car race from Peking to Paris, using 100 year-old, original vehicles – and the journey featured in a major television series. Warren has a small collection of historic vehicles which includes two 1920s fire engines, a WWII jeep, a Bean car and an armoured vehicle.

Warren is a former member of the Army Infantry and Air Force Reserve as a cadet, plays the five string banjo and ukulele and dreams of being James Bond. His first car was a Peugeot 504 Ti and his ultimate car is the Aston Martin, to keep in with his fantasy of becoming 007.

Steve Pizzati

Steve is an advanced driving instructor, race driver, freelance motoring journalist, photography stunt driver and in his spare time he co-hosts Top Gear Australia. Falling in love with fast machines after watching Ayrton Senna race, Steve decided to join the Air Force cadets, dreaming of a life flying jets. Knocked back in the final round of Pilot recruitment, Steve turned his attention from becoming a fighter jet pilot to driving fast cars.

Studying Engineering and Science at university, Steve is a self confessed science geek and enjoys reading science magazines. Only half nerd, Steve balances his fascination of Astronomy with a keen interest in the outdoors and can be seen cycling or rock climbing on days off.
His first car was a “very cool” 1971 Mk2 Cortina GT and names his ultimate car as the Signal Green 911 GT3RS “for the right blend of bling and brawn”.

[source: SBS]

Top Gear Australi Studio

Top Gear Australia has the same intro & same Jessica tune as Top Gear, but with the 3 Australian hosts & with different videos. The studio (housed in a hangar) looks exactly like the original one.


In the first part, the trio take 3 soft-roaders for some time trials on sand & ice - the Subaru, the Nissan X-trail & the Toyota Rav-4. Obviously, it's the most powerful 4x4, driven by Charlie Cox, that wins both. So the whole test was in fact quite pointless. & I would like to point out that all 3 of the hosts just absolutely love showing off their strong Australian accent - sometimes I had to rewind back twice to understand. But it's not their fault - Top Gear Australia is only for Australia, not the rest of the world!

Charlie Cox Porsche 911 PDK

Next, Charlie Cox (a big Porsche fan) tests out the Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK & concludes that since it looks like a Porsche, sounds like a Porsche & drives like a Porsche... it must be great! Well, if he's trying to get into Jeremy Clarkson's shoes (not exactly a Beetle-lover), then he'll have to try a lot harder.


Next up comes the test with The Stig or The Stig's Australian cousin to be more precise. Charlie Cox's introduction (along with his strong accent) of The Australian Stig was a complete disaster.
Some say, he's been here since the Dreamtime. That he was the Rainbow Serpent's favourite taxi driver. We know that his heart beats in perfect time to a V8 Torana with flat top pistons. And you know he's The Stig.

P.S. Dreamtime is another word for Alcheringa which is (in the mythology of some Australian Aboriginals) the 'golden age' when the first ancestors were created.
The Rainbow Serpent is an important mythological being for Aboriginals.
The Holden Torana is General Motor's Australian subsidy.


Top Gear Australia's racetrack is found at the Bankstown Airport in Sydney, which is still in service. As pictured above (click to view full-size), it consists of loads of turns, including one called Clarkson Curve! So it's more suited to the agile rather than powerful cars. Half of the corners are not true corners but made with Top Gear-branded barriers. Expect some wonderful star-in-a-bog-standard-car crashes in the future... (New track map on from TG Australia!)

Australian Stig

The Stig's Australian cousin is a dud. No racing driver leans forward or holds so clumsily to the steering - he's completely at unease! & how do you expect a single camera to cover a whole racetrack!?! (Original Top Gear have like 10 cameras on their track)

Power Lap Times

Next up, the trio decide to throw in some cars to fill up the Power Lap Times - the Lotus Elise, the BMW M3, the Mercedes AMG CLS-63 & the Nissan GT-R. The GT-R tops at 1:09:46 but nothing is said about how a great car it is.


The most ridiculous thing then happened - Stig takes a stretched Hummer around the track. No comments…


Warren went to check the Mayback 57S which is nothing more than an overpriced S-class.

What Were They Thinking

& then he proceeds to PIN the Mayback on the What Were They Thinking? Wall. While it's certainly no cool wall equivalent coz you don't pin on it, don't you think it misses an "of?"


Charlie Cox then kicks off the Star In A Bog Standard Car with Vince Colosimo (whoever that may be?).


Finally Warren goes on to modify a Mini Moke so that he could swim with the white sharks... but unlike in classic Top Gear fashion, he doesn't get eaten. :(

In 2 words: It's CRAP!
The problem is that Top Gear Australia tried to copy Top Gear UK & it just didn't work. The track is wrong, The Stig is weird & the hosts overdid themselves. Charlie Cox is not Jeremy Clarkson, Steve Pizzati is not Richard Hammond & Warren is not Captain Slow (even if he looks stupid).


Charlie Cox is a real ear-eyesore with his strong accent & his unfunny jokes. How about:
Welcome back & I'm glad to say welcome back…
How lame can that be? & even the studio audience know that - they never laugh!
More flimsier is the soundtrack accompanying the bad commentary - hip-hop? Duh!

I admit that it's only the first episode, but they'll need enormous improvement. Instead of trying to imitate their English counterparts, they'll need to be original - just be themselves!

Related Links:
Wiki – Top Gear Australia
Wiki – Top Gear Australia (Series 1)
SBS – Top Gear Australia Official Website – Top Gear Australia Launch Photos



Preview of Top Gear Australia S01 E02 (which was aired today at 1:30pm)

Top Gear Australia S01E02 - Ford
Top Gear Australia S01E02 - Holden

It just wouldn't be Australian if the lads did not delve into the great debate that has divided the nation for decades - Holden or Ford? So Charlie and Steve take the HSV Clubsport and Ford FPV F6 to Wakefield Park for the ultimate test drive to settle the argument once and for all.

Top Gear Australia S01E02 - Super Pit Race
Top Gear Australia S01E02 - Super Pit Race_2
Top Gear Australia S01E02 - Warming Tyres

Then Top Gear Australia shuts down the biggest open pit gold mine in the country, the Kalgoorlie Super Pit, to get its hands dirty. In the toughest car challenge, Charlie, Warren and Steve test their car of choice in a race against time and The Stig.

Top Gear Australia S01E02 - Too flat to think about safety
Top Gear Australia S01E02 - Ford GT_2
Top Gear Australia S01E02 - Ford GT

After surviving his stint as human shark bait in episode one, Warren "Why is it every episode of Top Gear I nearly get killed?" Brown, in preparation for his next outlandish idea, convinces Steve to convert a Smart Car into a hearse for under $200. While the two load a coffin into their new budget Smart Hearse and take it for a test drive, Charlie spends his time slipping into something a lot faster and much cooler - the Ford GT Supercar.

Top Gear Australia S01E02 - Steve Bisley

As the studio guest, Australian actor, Steve Bisley (Mad Max, Water Rats), will attempt to knock Vince Colosimo off the celebrity Lap Time leader board.

Top Gear Australia S01E02 - Studio Trio

DOWNLOAD Top Gear Australia Season 1 links - each episode 700MB.

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Anonymous said...

I love top gear

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