Top Gear runs out of gas

Doctor Who is famous for his regeneration as David Tennant is just about to find out but it seems that another BBC icon may have to reinvent itself if it is to survive.

The man behind the current version of Top Gear says that the programme makers have "lost the plot" and "have disappeared up [their] own arses" according to some critics. Strong words indeed from director Andy Wileman.

Writing on the Top Gear blog, Wileman said: "It's fair to say that this incarnation of Top Gear is nearer the end than the beginning and our job is to land this plane with its dignity still intact."

Long-term viewers of Top Gear may well remember the previous version of the show, which ran until 2001 under the more sober guidance of William Woollard and latterly Jeremy Clarkson.

Whether or not Clarkson survives another shake-up is a moot point, along with his partners in crime, Richard Hammond and James May. And what would become of the Stig? According to Wileman, the trio of presenters have become too cartoonish.

"I do believe we've now got the presenters playing to their TV cartoon characters a bit too much - Jezza the walking nuclear bomb, Richard the daft Norman Wisdom and James the bumbling professor. I like those characters but I too would like to see more of them as they were.... three mates who mooch along."

Top Gear is a show that divides opinion as sharply as bankers' bonuses but how should the BBC reformat what is already a phenomenally successful show?

Let us know what you think and in the meantime enjoy Clarkson reminiscing about his debut on the programme.

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