The problem with car programmes

For some time, car programmes have been leaving me a bit cold. Car SOS I quite like, as it usually has a good level of detail, but it’s still a bit ‘soft’ overall. That’s because to make a telly programme, you need a decent audience. You need people other than car people to watch it or advertisers get a bit miffed. Or TV bosses. Maybe both.

Audiences can be hard to please.

Audiences can be hard to please.

Which is where the internet comes in. There, you can find videos that are utter geek fests. These are videos made 100% for car fans. There is no need to tailor the content to please non-car people. They can afford to specialise. Indeed, their very appeal comes from that unashamed, super-detailed look at what they’re doing. Often, these ‘programmes’ seem to be put together with the most mild of planning too. What you see is pretty much what happened. The more I see scripted stuff like Top Gear adventures, the more bored I become.

Of course, there’s a reason for the scripting. If you don’t schedule in some failures or adventures, then there’s a danger you might end up with a very boring show. That happens to things like Roadkill, where some episodes feel rather short of content. I don’t mind that. It makes it feel genuine. After all, I’ve tried shooting videos of trips away, and then binned the results, because nothing interesting happened! Funnily enough, if you jump in a car and drive it somewhere, the chances are that everything will be fine. This doesn’t make good telly. So, ‘hilarious’ antics must be planned and created, with camera angles carefully calculated to capture the ‘problems’ that occur. I find this all very tedious.

What I’m getting around to is that I didn’t like new, new, new Top Gear very much. It wasn’t painful, or unpleasant, but nor did it really grab my attention. What I didn’t like about it was pretty much what I’ve disliked about Top Gear for many, many years. I don’t like scripted antics. It was way back in 2010 when Top Gear had a camping challenge. A CX got destroyed in it, but that wasn’t my main complaint. No, it was that every ‘disaster’ was signalled almost with a ‘Disaster Coming’ caption every time. I just didn’t find it funny. It’s where I really began to realise just how little reality was involved in the programme.

To be fair, it’s not like I’m an expert, so I’m not really sure what the point of yet another discussion about Top Gear is. So, I’m going to end there and go to bed, because I don’t have advertisers to keep happy, and I’m tired. There isn’t always a happy ending. Or even a planned one.

2 thoughts on “The problem with car programmes

  1. Couldn’t agree more, although I would say that Car SOS would be better with a lot more of the actual restoration and a lot less of that irritating Tim bloke who adds nothing but is the reason I gave up watching it some time ago.
    I find this strange, a car is one of the most expensive things we tend to buy, combined with the £20 billion classic car industry, a quite large part of the world’s economy is tied up in the motor car, so why can’t somebody put together a few decent regular magazine programmes about it?

  2. Yes! I have been saying this ever since 2010 too. Its rubbish. Maybe they have big boots to fill but perhaps thats the problem with commercial telly altogether. Long live low budget shows!

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