Comparing series 27 to series 28, how much have Paddy and Freddie improved on the track?
Chris Harris: They’re both pretty good, and I think they’re evenly matched. Moving forward I think we need to settle the argument. Get a car and do a lap challenge with the two of them. Luckily there’s a decent distance between me and them and as long as that stays the same I’m quite happy.
Paddy McGuiness: He says that, but he’s not won that many challenges has he? He keeps telling us he’s the better driver, keeps losing the challenges!
Chris Harris:[Laughing] They’re both good drivers! You can’t do this job unless you can pedal a bit, that’s the truth of it. Can they get inside a GT3 and slide it a hundred miles per hour? Of course, they can’t but they’re funny whereas I’m not and that’s a good thing. I do the driving, they do the funny and Paddy’s a bit of eye candy.
The three of you hit the ground running and the general feeling was that Top Gear had found its groove once again. Was there any pressure on you to equal or surpass the benchmark set by your chemistry from series 27?
Paddy McGuiness:When Jeremy, James and Richard first left, there was obviously that pressure. To use a football analogy, when Alex Ferguson first left Manchester United whoever comes in after is doomed. Doesn’t matter who it is. So me and Fred came in, two lots of managers down from that. I never felt any pressure doing Top Gear because I thought everyone has had their opinion on these last couple of series and I thought well it can only go one way and luckily it went well. Long may it continue.
Chris Harris: I don’t want to go against the fact that we’re mercilessly mean to each other. But I knew fairly early on that it was going to work. I was involved in the process, I was over the moon. First of all I’m a cricket fan, so I get to work with Flintoff who’s basically my hero. We had a post screen test, a setup day at an RAF base. We went along with a couple of cameras to see what might be possible before we made the announcement.
Within a minute there was some good merciless piss-taking going on and you could just tell it was going to work. But crucially, there was no point in being what the others were because you’re never going to do it as good as them. You’re just going to be a poor pastiche. We’ve got our own chemistry, our own language and I could tell that from the start.
What’s the most far-flung location of the world that you’ve been to, where Top Gear has been recognised by the locals?
Chris Harris: What happens normally, is that wherever we go in the UK, these two are so famous. Who’s the lad carrying your bags? That’s me. I’m very comfortable with that because I don’t want to be famous. I couldn’t be more comfortable with that. We were in Ethiopia, the middle of nowhere and we’d been playing table football. Nobody really knew who we were. And this bloke comes up and goes ‘Chris Harris love your YouTube reviews’.
I swear Paddy had given a tenner to this kid around the corner to go up and tell me that to make me feel better. But he insists he didn’t.
Paddy McGuiness: When people do stop Chris, and I think it happened when we got off the plane, some guy came up to him with a little model of the Stig and asked him to sign it. What I love about that, is when it happens to Chris he’s so uncomfortable with it. He squirms, people are being nice to him and he doesn’t want to deal with it.
Chris Harris: Grow a beard and have a hat on, that’s what I did. You did get recognition in far-off places and makes you realise how far and wide the show is disseminated.
Were there any moments or challenges during filming where you felt like you were really pushed to your limits?
Chris Harris: There was some driving in Nepal, that pushed us to the limits of what we think we’re capable of. Those very high sections where there are no guard rails. We had some stuff in Peru that was quite challenging as well, off camera. We also saw a dead body. That’s the obvious fear factor. We’ve raced an F35 Lightning, the crazy VTOL aircraft against a McLaren Speedtail, that took an awful lot of concentration and horse trading.
Do you ever think that Top Gear will run out of roads to explore one day?
Chris Harris: There’s always another road. The number of times I’m looking at the Internet, I’m looking at Instagram
Paddy McGuiness: We don’t really want to know what you really look at.
Chris Harris: [Laughing] Unlike you I’m sad enough to continue my job outside of work hours. But there’s always another road, there’s always another country that has built something you’ve never heard about. I was driving about in Warwickshire the other day and I came across this road. I thought I’d charted the whole United Kingdom and there’s an amazing piece of road. If there’s stuff under my nose here, imagine what’s out there!
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