Top Gear almost found new home on the Thames, Paddy McGuinness says

Keiran Southern, PA

Paddy McGuinness revealed Top Gear considered recording links for its studio elements from a barge on the Thames after leaving its previous home after almost 20 years.

It was announced last month the long-running BBC motoring show had vacated Surrey’s Dunsfold race track.

Instead, the show recorded its links during a two-night shoot at the BBC’s former home, the Television Centre in west London.

Top Gear Bond special
Andrew Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris will return for the new series of Top Gear (BBC/PA)

Top Gear’s 30th series was filmed without the usual studio audience due to coronavirus restrictions.

McGuinness, returning as Top Gear host alongside Freddie Flintoff and Chris Harris, revealed producers explored several options before choosing Television Centre.

He said: “There were all sorts of ideas including going down the Thames on a big barge, but Television Centre is right on our doorstep, it’s an iconic building and everyone knows it from the telly.

“We’ll still film outdoors, and I think it will look great. We’re going to really dress it up and have lights everywhere and lots of cars. I’ve hosted lots of shows at Television Centre before but never outside, it’s all been in the studios.”

The latest series of Top Gear will see the hosts heading north to Scotland for an off-road adventure, tackling the issue of “mid-life crisis” cars and taking a look at some of the best-known vehicles from the James Bond films.

Actor and comedian McGuinness said he hoped the show would bring happiness to viewers amid the pandemic.

He said: “I do feel like the series is coming out at the right time though, because people just need a bit of a laugh. It’s a miserable time at the moment, for some more than others, but it’s always a nice feeling when you see something new is coming on telly to look forward to.”

Top Gear returns at 8pm on Sunday March 14 on BBC One.