Saturday 16 December 2017

BBC considered axing 'Top Gear' presenter Hammond - ex-producer

Dean Gray in London

Former 'Top Gear' executive producer Andy Wilman has had a dig at what he called the BBC's "Meddling Department" and told how his bosses considered axing Richard Hammond.

Mr Wilman quit the long-running TV series in the wake of Jeremy Clarkson's departure and the BBC plans to relaunch 'Top Gear' with new presenters. But the TV executive, who alongside Clarkson, Hammond and James May, are believed to be negotiating with a streaming service such as Netflix or Amazon, said of the show: "I don't think we'll see the like of it ever again."

Writing about the success of the show in the latest edition of 'Top Gear' magazine, Mr Wilman said: "The show that finally ground to a halt just over a month ago was a colossus."

He added: "In our heads we were making a car show for car dweebs, but as series four went to five, went to six, we realised that the actual growing was sprouting in directions we hadn't reckoned on.

"Because we never planned it, I don't think we'll see the like of it ever again."

He told how BBC management were unsure whether they wanted to keep Hammond after he made his first series in the 'Top Gear' reboot. "For a while, for some reason I cannot fathom, the BBC management had a wobble about Richard and in their usual, classic HR style said to him, 'We may not want you back for the second series, but, anyway, have a good Christmas'."

Mr Wilman complained that the show received many visits from the "BBC Meddling Department".

Irish Independent

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