Top Gear fans eagerly awaiting this Sunday’s farewell appearance by Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond may be in for a disappointment.
Clarkson today appeared to dampen expectations about Sunday night’s 75-minute swansong which will showcase the final films the trio made before his removal from the show following his “fracas” and eventual dismissal.
“At 8pm tomorrow BBC2 is screening an edition of Top Gear cobbled together from two films that were made before I was fired,” he wrote in his Sun column today. “One of them is quite good.”
Clarkson recorded a voiceover for Sunday’s show and his fellow presenters filmed new links without a studio audience, something executive producer Andy Wilman has said was “very sad, absolutely awful to make”.
“The films are good but they were never designed to carry this burden of being the last thing you’ll ever see from us on Top Gear,” WIlman told the Guardian.
“What’s quite poignant for me is they are not the most ambitious films we have ever done but by accident they happen to be very strong on camaraderie.”
A Top Gear insider who has seen the finished films told RadioTimes.com last week that the final episodes of series 22 could upset the show’s loyal following.
“I think it will remind fans what great camaraderie they had, how funny Jeremy is and just what has been lost,” said the source who has worked with them all for most of their time on the show.
This footage, which was pulled from the schedules earlier this year, will be the last episode of Top Gear before Chris Evans takes over along with a new presenting line-up.
A teaser for the final episode has been released, featuring the three presenters putting budget 4x4s to the test in dinner jackets.
Still, however good the films are, the bookies appear to be expecting a ratings hit.
William Hill today released 6/5 odds that the programme attracts record viewing figures of more than 8.35 million viewers.
Top Gear is on BBC2 at 8pm on Sunday June 28