Here’s part two of our lengthy interview with two-thirds of the Top Gear trio who’ve injected a sense of energy and charm back into the show. For part one, click here.
I’d imagine just being near Paddy and Flintoff is dangerous enough, but are there any particularly hairy stunts you did during the filming of series 28, Chris?
Chris Harris: Just being near Flintoff means you’re somewhere near danger, doesn’t it? There’s danger everywhere. I’ll give you an example: You’re given a Porsche Taycan Turbo. I don’t know how that car behaves, I’ve never driven Porsche’s electric configuration, I don’t what’s happening with the front and rear axels. You switch everything off and the cameraman says ‘right make everything look good’. And you fire into what’s effectively a 100MPH corner and if something goes wrong it’s going to be a bit ugly isn’t it?
You’re always managing risk on Top Gear. Your radar has to be quite attuned, you want to take it as far as possible to make good telly but you don’t want to end up as a news story for all the wrong reasons. There’s always an element of risk but Fred for example, going off the end of a runway lying down on on what was it? A trike?
Paddy McGuiness: A skateboard with a rocket on it.
Chris Harris: That’s more than I’m keen to do.
Top Gear executive producer Clare Pizey: You did race a £2 million car though against a jet. That’s not dangerous but anxiety maybe in a different way.
Chris Harris: We raced a McLaren Speedtail against an F35 Lightning and the RAF told us there was only one area of the take-off that they were worried about. If the car was within about 45ft of the jet as it took off, because the pilot lights the burner as he goes off the line, but the amount of thrust being produced by the jet would flip the car over. Even at a hundred miles per hour the car would just be ragdolled.
And the second take we did was just perfect, I saw it lifting off just to the left of me and I thought hang on a minute…I’m too close to him. This is what I was told not to do. I thought I was in trouble but luckily everything went fine. I think this job is always going to be a bit hairy, full of risk but that’s the point isn’t it? We can’t just go review Vauxhall (Opel to South African readers) Astras all day long, people would fall asleep.
Now that he’s no longer busy with senior royal duties, what are the chances that you’ll get Prince Harry on in Star in a Reasonably Priced Car?
Chris Harris: If we could write a cheque for a couple million quid and he’ll be on board!
Paddy McGuiness: It’s easy now! He’s scrambling around for work now at the moment! That should suit him. We’ve just had Royals on, haven’t we?
Chris Harris: We’ve had Zara and Mike Tindall on the last one.
Clare Pizey: She lost her license following us.
Chris Harris: We’ve got some good guests this time around, some quite interesting ones. We’ve got KSI, who’s the Internet superstar, 20 million followers and did the boxing match against Logan Paul. It’s good for us, because we’ve got a young audience that’s growing.
Paddy McGuiness: What’s also good about KSI, is he’s massive out there and all the kids know him. He was actually super excited about coming onto Top Gear, where he’s worldwide known, he’s got this amazing career. He loves his cars and he was chomping at the bit to come on.
Do you ever see a Top Gear being more focused on electric cars, as V8s and other hypercars eventually fade away as the world looks towards a greener future?
Chris Harris: Absolutely. Top Gear will reflect what’s going on, on the public highway. Electric cars are the talk of the town but let’s face it, they represent less than 10% of the cars on the road in the UK. Our content should actually be only 10% electric car but it’s more than that. The great thing about the electric car is that it is developed and made by engineers. Engineers have a funny habit of being just unable to help themselves, they make them go faster and faster.
So whether it’s powered by milk or electricity or petrol, we’ll still be passing about in them. They’ll still be a great vehicle, pardon the pun, for making television. We want it to be greener and greener, we want to use more electric vehicles, we will be inevitably because there are more out there. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun in them.
The Taycan Turbo S that we tested in this series is a zero-emissions vehicle. That itself is a misleading phrase because there are emissions in its production cycle and the batteries aren’t very clean getting all that cobalt lithium isn’t easy. But that is the fastest car I’ve ever tested on Top Gear. It’s almost irresponsibly fast. On the road, it’s too fast, every time you hit the accelerator you’re out of sync with the other traffic.
It’s like riding a superbike in the summer, you’re just constantly frustrated. The greenies think that the electric car revolution means that everyone will be driving around the countryside really slowly. Are they? Hell, people are going to be going mental, they’re so fast!
We’ll have more content throughout the week. Stay tuned! 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.
Last Updated: February 19, 2020