Top Gear Australia hosts (Source: Herald Sun)The Nine Network has announced the new presenters who will front a revamped series of Top Gear Australia specials, the Herald Sun reports. The network managed to snare the rights to the highly successful British series along with the local remake late last year, which were both previously owned by SBS.
Australian comedian and actor, Shane Jacobson, best known for his performance in the movie Kenny, will host Nine’s version of the show produced by Freehand. “As a boy from the western suburbs of Melbourne, I’ve always had a passion for cars. I wasn’t the guy at the set of lights whistling out of the car and doing burnouts, I wasn’t the guy at the illegal street drags, but I am the guy who’s always been keen on cars.”
Jacobson is a keen motoring enthusiast, who has competed in several Dutton Car Rallies and the celebrity race curtain-raiser to the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne. “I like to drive cars and I like to drive them fast under controlled circumstances so this, for me, is just the ultimate gig,” Jacobson added.
Also new to the team is the editor-in-chief of the Top Gear Australia magazine, Ewen Page. They will join journalist and racing driver, Steve Pizzatti, who returns after presenting the series when it was back on the public broadcaster.
After the first two series struggled to perform to the same standards of the original, Nine will play it safe by only committing to a number of specials.
That guy Kenny will be good I reckon - you can watch the series 'Kenny's World' by clicking HERE
James May with Sir Christian Bonington, Lancaster University's Chancellor James May left 'very emotional' after being awarded an honorary degree
16th July 2010
Top Gear co-presenter James May has been awarded an honorary degree by Lancaster University. May, who studied music at the university from 1982 to 1985, confessed to feeling 'very emotional' at being given the accolade. He toured the campus before being handed his scroll, and went back to see his former room in the university halls. He said: 'Memories came flooding back, like a big wall covered in posters. I remember it with great fondness and nostalgia.'
May was a member of Pendle College and said he honed his skills in piano and flute playing while studying for his first degree. Known as Captain Slow for his cautious driving style on the BBC2 show, he has become an honorary doctor of letters. Addressing graduates, he said he appreciated what university taught him, such as 'independent thought and questioning things'.
'It was a time of untroubled love,' he said. 'It is only later on in life that you realise that you really expanded your mind.'
Meanwhile, it has been announced that May is undertaking a TV quest to turn him into more of a 'real man'. May, who has confessed to a love of toys and floral shirts, will enlist other lost souls for a new BBC2 series to test their manliness and brush up on traditional skills.
James May's Man Lab is part of the channel's autumn and winter season, and will see him embark on a course of tests designed to teach men the skills and knowledge possessed by their male ancestors. Among the skills he will learn will be how to 'woo a lady' and how to defuse a bomb.
May said: 'Modern Man is in crisis. He has degenerated from the redoubtable pillar he became through centuries of refinement and slipped resignedly into the popular depiction of himself as a witless under-achiever, incapable of looking after himself or those around him. Man Lab is designed to reverse the rot.'
The picture looks like the winners in the 'look like a medieval lutist' competition...
Clarkson - We're like X-Factor trio
By DAVE MASTERS
WHEN it comes to telly divas, the only thing high maintenance about the Top Gear fellas are their cars. But joker Jeremy Clarkson does admit his presenting pals do sometimes remind him of the bitchy X Factor judges Louis, Cheryl and Simon.
Jeremy told us: "Hammond with his new hair and puppy dog eyes would be Cheryl Cole. In fact, he IS Cheryl Cole. I've never seen the two of them in the same place - and he doesn't like Chelsea! It's all falling into place. And James would be Louis Walsh for many, many reasons." But Jeremy says doing the job of Mr Nasty would drive him around more bends than the Stig. "I don't know how he manages to have patience with as many people as he does. My cigarette breaks would be even longer than his!"
Jeremy and co-host James May invited The Sun down to Top Gear's Dunsfold test track, in Surrey, for a chat in a disused 747 ahead of the lads' Top Gear Live world tour. It's the third time the hit motoring show has gone on the road, with shows in Australia, South Africa, Denmark and Ireland. But despite getting to see the world, the lads still wish they had their own plane to jet around in.
Joker Jeremy, 50, moaned: "We don't have a plane - we once did have our own plane to go to a vineyard but it was only a nine minute flight. We once had a helicopter and a boat. But I can't recommend touring highly enough - I can understand why so many people want to go on the X Factor."
On tour, the trio - including the absent Richard Hammond - are treated like pop stars by their legions of fans wherever they go. The BBC2 programme is currently aired in 180 countries to an estimated audience of 350million people.
Mild-mannered James, 47, is seen by some as the most reluctant star of the trio but he denies it. With a smile, he admits: "I just keep forgetting I'm famous. It is an odd feeling to go to a completely different bit of the world but they're all watching Top Gear. It seems a bit odd."
It's a good thing James is getting used to being recognised because Jeremy has plans to take the show to an even bigger platform. "I would love to take the show to America," he revealed. "It's huge out there. The BBC says it's 300,000 viewers - but if it is I think I met all of them last week when I was there. You can tell as you walk down the street everybody is looking at you. If we did, Piers Morgan would have to interview me - imagine that!" And would they return the favour by inviting America's newest presenter onto their show for a spin in the reasonably priced car? "Never," grins Jeremy. "We try to get guests who people like."
One huge part of the existing show fans certainly like is The Stig - the white-suited racing driver whose 'secret' identity was recently revealed after he won a much-publicised court case and released a book. Many feared it could spell the end of the mystery man but Jeremy shrugs off any suggestion of it and sounds ready to start the auditions for a replacement.
He said: "The most important thing is somebody has got to come down here and drive each individual car around the same track so we know which one is the fastest. Now you don't need a particularly dynamic soul for that - you just need a great driver. Once you boil it down to those requirements, we're quids in. But it was very hurtful what happened, being really honest. I thought we were all one very happy family on Top Gear and that hurts when somebody goes off. I wasn't expecting it - but it isn't the end of the world."
James agreed, rubbishing any talk of the end, adding: "The Stig is a character not a person. It's like saying: 'The stuffing has come out of my favourite teddy bear. You've still got the same teddy bear you just put new stuffing in."
With or without The Stig, it's clear the Top Gear show will go on, whether it be on the stage or screen. But how about if Hammond decided to throw in the towel and sell his secrets, leaving just these two to soldier on?
"Hammond?" wonders Jeremy, pulling a face as if he's never heard of the bloke. Richard Hammond is the bassist in our particular band - we could just get another one, bassists are ten a penny."
I think that's the first photochop that I've seen in The Sun which is actually good.
Mexico's ambassador in London has complained to the BBC over "offensive, xenophobic and humiliating" comments made about his country on Top Gear. Eduardo Medina Mora has written to the BBC about "insults" made by Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May.
Discussing a Mexican sports car, Hammond said vehicles reflected national characteristics so "Mexican cars are just going to be lazy". Reviewing the Mastretta on Sunday's show, Hammond said: "Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat." The presenters, known for their edgy jibes, then described Mexican food as "refried sick".
Clarkson said he was confident he would not receive any complaints about their comments because the Mexican ambassador would be asleep. However, the ambassador did complain, and demanded an apology from the BBC. "The presenters of the programme resorted to outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable insults to stir bigoted feelings against the Mexican people, their culture, as well as their official representative in the United Kingdom," he wrote.
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