Andy Wilman, Top Gear’s Executive Producer, has taken the unusual step of publicly responding to Tesla’s legal challenge with an entry on the Top Gear Transmission blog. Importantly, he addresses the allegation that Top Gear had prepared its verdict on the car before filming for their review began.
Last week Tesla issued a writ against Top Gear claiming defamation and malicious falsehood over the show’s review of the Tesla Roadster (Series 12, Episode 7).
In Wilman’s blog he counters Tesla’s general criticisms, but it is his words on the claim that Top Gear had pre-judged the electric-powered sportscar before driving it, as evidenced by scripts seen by a Tesla employee, that carries the most interest.
First, Wilman states, “The truth is, Top Gear had already driven the car prior to filming, to enable us to form a view on it in advance.”
He then further explains, “When you film a car review, the reviewer is only the tip of the iceberg. Behind the lens is a film crew, and only a dayâ€™s worth of light to shoot the eight minute film.
“This means we have to prepare in advance a treatmentâ€¦ It will contain the facts about a car, and what we think of its looks and so on, but how well the car actually drives is added on the day.
“If weâ€™ve driven it ahead of filming, as we do with most cars, we will also have an idea how it feels to drive. But, and this is crucial, as we uncover fresh information about a car whilst filming it, it is entirely normal for the treatment to be modified as the day unfolds.
“Jeremy is always tweaking the scripts to reflect what his driving experience has actually been on the day.”
Seems like a reasonable enough explanation. Let’s see what the courts have to say.
[Source: Top Gear]