Thursday 22 August 2019

Chinese Top Gear attracts 217 million viewers

A still from the Chinese version of Top Gear filmed in London (BBC/PA)
A still from the Chinese version of Top Gear filmed in London (BBC/PA)

The Chinese version of Top Gear has proven to be a massive hit, with the first five episodes being watched by a combined audience of 217 million across TV and online.

Honyee Media's version of the show launched in October on Shanghai Dragon TV, and was the top programme in its time slot for four weeks with an average of nine million people watching live.

The first five episodes were also watched by 173 million people across eight of China's largest online video websites.

The presenters of the show are well-known Chinese personalities: Ma Dong, entertainment show host Ou Di and Dragon TV presenter Cheng Lei.

The first episode showed the hosts racing across Shanghai, and also featured a wind-suit flight and car challenge at Tianmenshan Mountain.

An episode was also filmed in the UK and featured a race to Liverpool's Goodison Park football stadium from London.

Top Gear China's launch featured a 30ft effigy of The Stig, who was positioned in front of two well-known Shanghai landmarks, Grand Gateway and Plaza 66.

British and Chinese production crews have worked closely and collaborated on a lot of the content produced.

Paul Dempsey, president of Global Markets at BBC Worldwide, the BBC's commercial arm which licensed the format to Honyee Media, said: "The success of Top Gear in China once again demonstrates the unique appeal of the world's favourite motoring entertainment show.

"It's also testament to a successful collaboration between our own UK producers and their Chinese counterparts who have recreated a British institution for a whole new audience."

Due to the show's popularity, a Top Gear Live festival is already planned for next spring in Shanghai.

PA Media

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