Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond says the show will be “back on form” when the next series begins later this month – but that it will not be attracting negative headlines.
His promise follows the latest in a series of controversies when the production was attacked by protestors after Clarkson drove a car with a controversial H982 FKL number plate during the Patagonia special, which aired earlier this month.
Hammond told RadioTimes.com: “That’s done. It’s been done. I hope people saw our side of it. Really, all we to want to do is to get back to making the show, to get back to it being a TV show on a Sunday night without all the controversy around it. You can judge it by what it is. Did you enjoy it? Did it make you laugh? Did it entertain, did it tell you things? That’s its job. That’s what we want it to be.”
Hammond also poured cold water on Jeremy Clarkson’s claim that the BBC has warned the show that it would be axed if there is another controversy.
“I think he has kind of retracted that,” said Hammond, although RadioTimes.com can see no public statement to that effect. The BBC declined to comment.
He added: “All we want to do is get on air and make a good TV show. And I have seen some of the film that’s going into the new series and it’s going to be back on form. It’s just a cracking TV show – best footage, best production values, best editing – it’s just a well-crafted thing. Long series to make. A long series to get into our teeth into.”
The show’s executive producer Andy Wilman also weighed into the debate telling trade magazine Broadcast that the show “could do with a bit less telling off” from the BBC.
He said: ““They’re sort of like: ‘Can you be naughty between the hours of [8pm and 9pm], can you be naughty under these conditions.’ Sometimes I feel they don’t trust us at heart, but actually – apart from the very odd occasion – we can be trusted.”
Top Gear will return to BBC2 on January 25th for a ten episode series and the team will film the studio recordings next week.
They travel to St Petersburg in the first episode, with singer Ed Sheeran as the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.
Episode two sees them pick a brand new GT car and assemble it in the Northern Territory, Australia, where they “engage in a classic adventure involving crocodiles, camping and cows”.
The next series will be the 22nd. Asked how long it would last, Hammond said that “everything has a life”.
Would they stop if they started to resemble the three old men from the classic sitcom Last of the Summer Wine, a show it is sometimes cruelly compared to?
“We are not far off now,” he laughed. “I really don’t know.”
Hammond added that another Top Gear Special has not been confirmed, but when asked whether the team would return to Argentina he joked: “Maybe not”.
Hammond will also feature in the second run of his National Geographic Show Science of Stupid which returns next month.
“It’s a different kind of show. A solo project can be a lot of fun,” he said. “It combines a lot of things I’m interested in.
“Watching people fall flat on their face is always funny. You feel a bit guilty. But, because we are looking at the science behind it, it’s excusable and you can sit back and enjoy it because we are learning. Why you can’t race an office chair down the road, for example?”
Series two of Science of Stupid starts on Wednesday 11th February at 10pm on National Geographic Channel