Let the viewers decide if Top Gear is a hit or a miss

"The real proof of whether this series is any good comes down to one factor – the audience," says Mark Jefferies

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If reports this week and throughout this month are to be believed, Top Gear 2016 is a car crash and a “disorganised mess”. The latest criticism is because it took around four hours to film the opening episode on Thursday.

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Now, the new series may turn out to be a disappointment, and some people will certainly like it less than when Clarkson, Hammond and May were behind the wheel, but I want to put the brakes on some of the nonsense being written ahead of the series starting on 29th May.

Firstly, when TV shows are pre-recorded they always take HOURS to film – anyone who has been along and sat in the audience will tell you this. Because they have the luxury, TV bosses re-film things over and over again. It’s one of the reasons why Sir Bruce Forsyth has always loved live TV.

Alan Carr’s Chatty Man generally takes two to three hours to film for his Channel 4 slot, and he is in a fixed studio, and has been doing the show for years. So even if Top Gear took around four hours to film, with its new hosts and a new studio for the first time, that is not particularly unusual or surprising.

On top of that they have a new racetrack and some new production crew, and they will want it to look perfect. And given the multi-million pound budget and the amount of headlines it has already generated, Chris Evans might have even been a bit nervous and needed a few extra takes.

So what?

I am not a petrol head, I don’t even have a strong like or dislike of Top Gear as a series, but some of the things being used against the BBC to criticise the show are ridiculous and also show a lack of knowledge about how TV works.

Those people keen to see it flop, you may well have your day. The chances of the show hitting the heights it did before with the old trio are unlikely. Viewers don’t like change, and the pressure on this series is vast.

But the real proof of whether this series is any good comes down to one factor – the audience. If they like it and watch it in their tens of millions around the world, it’s a hit. If the show loses millions compared to its predecessor then it will be rightly dubbed a flop.

But all this talk before the opening episode on 29th May when the viewers get to see – well, it’s just hot air.

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Mark Jefferies is showbiz editor at the Mirror and co-edits their Square Eyes TV column.