It’s a chilly morning in London, my South African is showing as I wonder if four layers of clothing will be enough for the cold and I’ve got a mission in front of me: Grill Chris Harris and Paddy McGuiness on the new season of Top Gear and find out just what fans can expect from the show. Having recently kicked off in the UK, Top Gear series 28 arrives with a bang on March 05 on BBC Brit over on DSTV Channel 120. Harris and McGuiness are obviously excited for what’s to come, and they were only too happy to chat about the new series.
Here’s part one of a lengthy interview with two thirds of the trio who’ve injected a sense of energy and charm back into the show:
Morning guys, nice to meet you!
Chris Harris: You from South Africa?
I’m from Port Elizabeth, yeah.
Chris Harris: Ha! We just won the cricket this morning!
Dammit. Anyway, let’s get this interview started. So Chris, you had a monopoly on car reviews last season. What are the chances that we’ll see Paddy and Flintoff get a chance behind the wheel for some solid consumer advice this season?
Chris Harris: I let my guard down once, so Paddy gets to test an M8 in this series. It’s a great test as well, a bit too good for my liking. So hopefully we can make them both stumble and I can get them all back. I don’t want to share all the fun stuff, I’m here to drive the fast cars! What they do: Boyish good looks, a bit of eye candy for the women, they’re funny. I do the rigorous road test. We stick to what we’re good at. We’re a team. But he is embarrassingly good at it.
Paddy McGuinness: Obviously me and Fred love cars and when you get the opportunity to do something, it’s a bit nerve-wracking because obviously Chris is the man and he’s forgotten more than what me and Fred know. But I thorougly enjoyed it. With anything like a car, I look at it like as I’m buying it. What would I want to hear, what I would want to know? So that’s how I did it and fingers crossed it has gone alright.
So what’s on the track for this season?
Chris Harris: So you’ve got an M8, new Ariel Atom which looks like the old Ariel Atom but is a very different car to drive. You’ve got the Megane RS, the crazy lightweight one. You’ve got a Cayman GT-4, McLaren Speedtail. It’s a really good selection of stuff that’s not too expensive but still quite expensive.
Paddy McGuinness: What about the super fast electric one?
Chris Harris: Oh! Porsche Taycan. We tested the new electric one. That thing’s a weapon. It’s a really good spread, there’s loads of metal.
Was it hard to convince Flintoff to tackle the Red Rover Metro stunt where he was suspended hundreds of feet in the air above a dam?
Paddy McGuinness: He kind of craves that kind of thing. He’s a bit of adrenaline junkie so when that one came up and it was his sort of thing, there was no arguments from us! We were like ‘yeah, get on with it!’.
Chris Harris: We’ve got a lab rat, use it. He did at one point want it over with, because it takes a while to set up. Fair play to him, he’s got berries that I haven’t got. He’s not wired up like us. He told me a story when I first met him, about going up in a Eurofighter. They strapped a heart-rate monitor to him and he didn’t get above 86, they honestly thought something was wrong with the equipment. All these athletes and F1 drivers were there, peaking at 120 and with Flintoff someone had to wake him up!
Guys, what was it like being pelted with golf balls while you were wearing a suit of armour or an inflatable dinosaur costume?
Paddy McGuinness: So that was a challenge we’d been set, we’d been in convertible cars and the challenge was to catch as many golf balls as you could within your car. There was 40 people hitting golf balls at us. When you’re in a suit of armour you kind of feel safe until one hits you on the head and your ears are ringing. Mine was relatively easy compared to Chris. He was in an inflatable Tyrannosaurus Rex outfit which is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life.
Chris Harris:: Do you play golf?
Chris Harris: So if you’re objectively trying to catch golf balls, would you go for a lofted club or would you give everyone drivers and three irons and get to whack them? The producer just got everyone to hit golf balls at us very hard.
Top Gear executive producer Clare Pizey: Chris did have protective clothing on underneath his dinosaur costume, I just want to say.
Chris Harris: I had nothing on underneath. I was actually badly bruised
Clare Pizey: Oh for god’s sake.
Paddy McGuinness: (Continues to laugh as he remembers Chris being whacked with golf balls while running around in an inflatable T-Rex costume)
We’ll have more content throughout the week. Stay tuned!
Last Updated: February 17, 2020
February 17, 2020 at 15:10
If CR is getting involved in reporting on car shows, a bit of knowledge relating to cars might be of use?
Porsche Taycan, not Tycan. Cayman, not Kayman and so on.