The new Top Gear is still coming to a television near you, just not as soon as originally planned. The air date for the series was May 8, but they’ve pushed that date back by two weeks to May 22.
It isn’t any one problem that’s caused the delay, rather a combination of issues that has made production difficult. According to RadioTimes, one issue was host Chris Evans’ schedule. He only finished filiming his entertainment show, TFI Friday, at Christmas. This delayed his ability to work all out on the new Top Gear.
Other reports cite challenges Evans is having getting the hang of the whole presenter gig. His brush with carsickness while co-host Sabine Schmitz took him around the track in an Audi R8 has become almost as famous as the punch that got Jeremy Clarkson sacked. He also had trouble getting the hang of talking into a camera and driving at the same time. That sounds silly, but it’s a skill and it really does take time to master.
Also complicated matters is the huge lineup of presenters. There were three hosts on the prior incarnation of the show. This time around there are six people, some of whom were only officially announced last month. That’s a lot more to wrangle than a three-man crew.
Evans’ contract calls for 16 episodes to be shown over two years and now even that isn’t happening as originally planned. The show was set to start on May 8 with eight episodes airing over the following weeks. Now, it’s only six episodes for this first season of the show. The remaining 10 will be filmed and aired at a later date.
The push to get the show on the air is an effort to beat what will be a very busy summer television schedule in the UK. The Rio Olympics and European Championship are both expected to be the big news and Top Gear does not want to find itself airing with that kind of competition.
The BBC has juggled other shows and even delayed some a whole year in order to avoid having otherwise popular programs squashed by summer sports coverage. It’s likely the two-episode cut is part of that avoidance strategy.
Also part of the timing consideration is whatever Clarkson, Hammond, and May are putting together for Amazon. That’s set to happen in the ll, and there’s no way they want the new Top Gear going up against the old Top Gear presenters.