The cries heralded across the nation last year like a wailing cricket-loving population boo-ing their captain. “Channel 9 has taken Top Gear from SBS! They’ll ruin it!” and so forth. They haven’t yet (although opinion is divided when it comes to Top Gear AU).

With the 2011 ratings season poised to fill hard drives across the country, Top Gear UK is back – bigger, better, and with more room for Clarkson’s ego than ever before. It looks & sounds spectacular… From the press release:

The world’s number one motoring entertainment program returns with the hyper-revved up new season of Top Gear UK starting Tuesday, February 8, at 8.00pm on Channel Nine.

The new season, fast-tracked direct from the UK, will have Jeremy Clarkson, Richard “The Hamster” Hammond and James “Captain Slow” May getting up to more of the famous tricks that have made Top Gear a global television phenomenon. There’ll be new-model cars tested on the Top Gear track, amazing auto challenges, famous people in the Reasonably Priced Car segment – and a brand new Stig.

In episode one the boys are set a daunting challenge, driving from Iraq to Bethlehem in Israel, a trip the local authorities aren’t too happy about. As a condition of the challenge the boys have to buy and drive two-door convertible sports cars that cost less than $5000. But before even getting to the starting point, they take a ild flight in a dodgy-looking ex-Russian Army tank transporter, fully loaded with their budget sports cars, destination unknown.

Could this be the ultimate Top Gear challenge? It’s an awesome start to the season and a spectacular episode that takes the three hosts through some of the most dangerous spots on earth.

Irreverent, witty and unbiased, the Top Gear team push cars to the limit and beyond to find out if they are any good. If you want to know how big the boot is, look elsewhere. Full of outrageous stunts, incredible challenges and special features, Top Gear is self-deprecating and passionate. There are no boring statistics or conversations about camshafts and tyre pressures. Instead you get authoritative information, grand prix entertainment and loads of style.

Top Gear began in 1977 as a conventional motoring magazine show. Relaunched in 2002 in an entertaining new format, it raced up the ratings to become BBC2’s most watched program. Top Gear is the ultimate program for audience appeal – popular with men and women of all ages, and children too. Today it pulls in an international audience of around 150 million viewers.


Top Gear UK – from Tue 8pm 8/2, Ch9.