We knew Top Gear Australia was going to be produced after the switch to Channel Nine, but, until now we didn’t know who would host the program. Well, apart from a dodgy Shane Warne rumour. As you can see Steve Pizzati (left) is back, and is the only of the former SBS hosts to keep his job.
Joining Pizzati is comedian Shane Jacobson (centre) and journo Ewen Page, who just happens to be editor-in-chief of Top Gear Australia magazine and the topgear.com website.
Self-confessed revhead Jacobson, best known for his lead role in the movie Kenny, is cockahoop at his new gig, “I like many different types of cars, so now that I’m getting the chance to drive plenty of fast cars on other people’s insurance, let me just say I’m as happy as Elvis in a room full of burgers.
“But the people who pay the insurance aren’t quite as excited. I think they feel like Guy Fawkes has just been given the keys to an explosives factory – and they’re right.”
Meanwhile, Page is keen to be taking on one of the few roles in he hasn’t tried during his career in motoring media, which is approaching its fourth decade, “I’m aiming to bring a more urbane, intellectual feel to the show. I will be testing Saabs exclusively, wearing black turtleneck sweaters and featuring in extended stories on the car and its role in modern society. Or doing burnouts in a Falcon ute.”
As for Pizzati, he seems to be his usual vibrant self, “Eat + sleep + incessant travel + seriously cool driving = my life, but I am currently trying to remove the first three parts of the equation.”
No news yet on when the new series will go to air; on his Transmission blog Ewen Page says filming is just about to begin, so we’re a few months away yet. Can commercial television turn Top Gear Australia into something fair dinkum Top Gear fans will genuinely embrace? Not sure about anyone else, but while I wish the new crew all the best, I’m not holding my breath.