Another great step forward from the local Top Gear crew this week. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say tonight’s episode was comparable to Top Gear UK. Sure, the Australian version is not reaching the consistent highs each week, but they are getting there. As usual, there will be complaints from TV land, but I really enjoyed my hour on the couch in front of the telly.
The outback tracker challenge was well filmed and entertaining. The repartee, or lack thereof, between Warren and his aboriginal tracker ‘Diesel’ was well executed, while Charlie and Steve in the TRD Hilux worked together much better than they have in any of the previous challenges. Yes, Top Gear Australia is still very much a Top Gear by numbers affair, with many production and scripting cues taken from the UK parent, but the level of improvement with each episode so far is to be commended.
Jack Thompson (pictured above) was a breath of fresh air in the guest’s chair. No pandering to the audience with Jack. Mind, The Stig has done a pretty poor job teaching the guests steering wheel technique. Vince Colosimo in Episode 1 has been the worst to date, but Jack’s effort wasn’t too far behind.
Steve’s review of the Holden W427 was perhaps the weakest point in the show, however, as entertainment, his piece was bang on. Perhaps more technical detail could have been offered, but then, the same could be said of almost any recent Top Gear UK car review.
The closing set with the Holden Astra lawn bowls game was classic Top Gear sillyness. Daft, pointless and thoroughly watchable all at the same time. Can’t wait for episode 5. Interestingly, this film was the first one filmed by Warren, Steve and Charlie. SBS Executive Producer for Top Gear Australia, Denise Eriksen said, “The Lawn Bowls story has a bit of a special place in the heart of the presenters. It’s the first shoot they ever did â€” but it came out of the last of the casting sessions where the remaining Top Gear Australia hopeful presenters had gathered for a brainstorming session.
“Warren Brown was scribbling away â€” as he does â€” and then presented his drawing pad to the gobsmacked fellow presenters and the production team asking ‘wonder what it would be like to play lawn bowls with a Mini?’.” Obviously things were tweaked a bit to include the new Astra, but given my grandmother-in-law drives an Astra and is an avid lawn bowls player Top Gear‘s car selection was very apt.
More pics and the SBS press release below.
TOP GEAR AUSTRALIA
Episode Four, Monday 20 October at 7:30pm
This week in Top Gear Australia co-host Steve Pizzati drives the fastest Australian car ever built, the lads play lawn bowls with Holden Astras and iconic Australian actor, Jack Thompson (the soon to be released Australia, Breaker Morant, Sum of Us), is the â€œCelebrity in a Bog Standard Carâ€.
First up Charlie Cox, Warren Brown and Steve Pizzati travel across the continent to the picturesque Home Valley Station in remote Western Australia to pit a satellite navigator against a local Aboriginal tracker.
Teamed with tracker Diesel and his loyal steed Ned, Warren will rely on Dieselâ€™s knowledge of the land to lead him to the different check points and towards camp. Steve is given a Toyota HiLux TRD, driven by Charlie, and fitted with a Follow Me GPS, relying on technology to get him around the outback.
Itâ€™s Steve against Warren, Toyota HiLux TRD against Ned the horse, Follow Me GPS against local tracker Diesel.
Who will follow the clues across the unforgiving outback terrain to get to camp before nightfall and who will be lost to the land?
A sporting and social institution, lawn bowls is given the Top Gear Australia touch when Charlie, Warren and Steve replace bowls with Holden Astras. With a special prize for the winner up for grabs the hosts throw themselves into the challenge with gusto and roll their brand new Holden Astras off a steep ramp towards the awaiting jack.
At Holdenâ€™s mysterious â€˜Proving Groundâ€™ in Lang Lang, Victoria, the test track speed limit is 250kph. Steve takes the most powerful and hottest Australian muscle car ever produced, the HSV W427, for the ultimate test drive.
Top Gear Australia Mondays at 7:30pm on SBS.