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Top Gear ends but the battle between lovers and haters rages on

The motoring series ended it's short run but the debate about its merits will continue.

Top Gear

Top Gear reached the end of the road on the Sunday entertainment highway with the final of the truncated, four-part series on BBC One: viewers were bemused by an epic final contest featuring an all-electric, all-terrain ice-cream van “Mr Nippy” against a hot foods vehicle “Fried of Britain” in a kind of Mad Max battle.

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Co-host Paddy McGuinness took on Chris Harris and Freddie Flintoff in a paintballing battle that played out like a real-life video game.

Elsewhere, the three presenters stuck to the more tried and tested Top Gear formula of analysing the merits of new vehicles with a race around a deserted Alton Towers between battery-powered Honda E, Vauxhall Corsa-e and Mini Electric cars.

Many in the audience felt the mix of kooky contests and new vehicle tests didn’t work. It’s better when it’s “a car show that’s entertaining” rather than the other way around.

That message was echoed by many on Twitter. Another viewer posted: “Decent series so far but tonight’s episode is guff. Disappointing #TopGear @BBC_TopGear … Not a nice way to wrap up the series”.

There was another perspective, of course. Those who embraced the changing format and loved the way Top Gear was becoming a different sort of motoring show.

That point of view had many allies. Another viewer wrote that there were far too few episodes this year: “Gutted it’s the last in the series, it’s been another brilliant series. Definitely need to do more episodes, say minimum 10 @PaddyMcGuinness is too funny. Love the banter between all 3!”

That was perhaps more to do with the COVID-19 pandemic than a lack of ideas.

Top Gear “can’t seem too win on Twitter… they do new stuff, people hate it, they do “old” Top Gear, they hate it.”

The series has had its undeniable highs ( the Stirling Moss tribute) and its lows (the Cyprus ski race) but, coronavirus willing, Top Gear will return to BBC One for a new series in 2021.

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While you’re waiting visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight, or check out our guide to new TV shows 2020 to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.