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.
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.
Great series, shocker of a final episode. Top gear is at its best when it’s a car show that’s entertaining, not an entertainment show with cars awkwardly chucked in. #TopGear
— Rob (@RobRogers20) November 1, 2020
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”.
Quite possibly the worst #TopGear I’ve ever seen! What happened to the reviews of super cars? With the amount that have been released and unveiled this year! I’m all for it being funny but don’t forget the program is about!
— Shon_ev1???? (@Shon_ev1) November 1, 2020
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.
I can’t understand how much some people moan so much about #TopGear but still watch it.
It’s different, embrace it.
— Warren S (@1wozza) November 1, 2020
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.”
#TopGear can’t seem to win on twitter.. they do new stuff, people hate it, they do “old” Top Gear, they hate it. Just watch it and have a laugh, it’s brilliant and @PaddyMcGuinness @flintoff11 and @harrismonkey are hilarious and Chris genuinely knows his cars. Love to see it!
— Sam Brown (@sam_brown18) November 1, 2020