Top Gear heads for China

2011-02-11 17:53
Beijing - China, the world's largest car market, is revving up for its own version of the BBC's hugely successful motoring show Top Gear, with one of the local hosts confirming a pilot has been completed.

Cao Yunjin, a Beijing-based comedian and television presenter, told the Global Times newspaper that he and two other men would present the local edition of the award-winning programme, keeping the original's zany style.

"The boys go crazy with cars in the show, like pushing a Maserati over the top of a three-storey building and smashing it," Cao told the state-run paper in comments published on Friday.

"It may be too much violence for a fun programme in China. We will do more localised fun stuff."


Cao refused to reveal when the programme would first air, but offered a teaser from the first episode - a race between a Cadillac and a donkey in pushing millstones. He would not say who won.

Officials at China Central Television, which is rumoured to have obtained the rights to the show, declined immediate comment when contacted by AFP.

Worldwide audience

The BBC programme has a reported worldwide audience of about 350 million people, drawn in by its mix of fast cars, crazy stunts and boyish banter between presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

"Top Gear has been successful because the way the UK hosts present it is entertaining," Cao said, adding that the Chinese version would feature both domestic and foreign brands, including luxury cars.

The British original has yielded spin-off shows in foreign markets including the United States and Australia, although the politically incorrect humour of Clarkson and his sidekicks does not always travel well.

Mexico's ambassador in London was outraged last month after the presenters described his compatriots as "lazy", "feckless" and "flatulent".