Fifth Gear is now on ITV4.
It came as a bit of a shock to me when I spotted it in The Radio Times a few weeks ago. Especially as I had just been catching up on the repeats of the Discovery Channel episodes which were being shown on Quest - as I predicted when I found out they were going to Discovery back in September 2012.
I'm not sure why they moved from Discovery but I suspect the answer could lie in a quote from this article in BroadcastNow.co.uk from September 2014 which quotes the chief exec of North One TV (who make the show) that "establishing free-to-air distribution for the show was also vital
because the additional viewing figures helped secure the backing of car
manufacturers for the series." As it is, The History Channel get the first airing of the shows but then ITV4 get them half-a-year or more later..
Maybe that is why the Twitter account of Tiff Needell (or Tiffany Dell) uses a historical picture when he tells us the news:
Or is that Barry Sheene?
Maybe they were struggling a bit with lower viewing figures resulting from going over to the dark side.
I could have told them that - I mean, don't get me started on F1!
I SAID DON'T GET ME STARTED ON F1!!
Apologies if you've just spent ages reading that rant. Back to the story or history of Gears. I've just started to get back in to Fifth Gear after a three year absence. Vicki seems to be pregnant again and Jason Plato has disappeared again although they are borrowing Karun Chandok who seems to be doing a good job in his place.
At this point I started explaining to one of my sons where Fifth Gear actually came from. About how BBC2 decided they had had enough of Top Gear (one of their highest rating shows - albeit more about cars and motoring than entertainment) so decommissioned it. And how the Top Gear team went over to Channel 5 but The Beeb wouldn't let them take the name with them so they called it Fifth Gear. Then The Beeb realised the error of their ways and got former host Jeremy Clarkson in to front a new version which is what we are more familiar with now.
This prompted me to get onto YouTube and find some old 1980s and 1990s Top Gear episodes which is something I do from time to time at the slightest excuse. It is difficult to comprehend just how posh Jeremy was in those days - entertaining on a different level. And nice to see William Woollard again.
Anyway, here is a timeline as I see it right now - with Fifth Gear strewn over five channels.
Not that I'll be watching it until it turns up on YouTube or Dave or wherever it is free.
Meanwhile, I will be definitely be watching with interest Chris Evans presenting an all-newer Top Gear.
That will be the future of Gears.