Top Gear Fan Club
Top Gear is a BAFTA, multi-NTA and International Emmy Award-winning BBC television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars. It began in 1977 as a conventional motoring magazine show. Over time, and especially since a relaunch in 2002, it has developed a quirky, humorous style. The show is currently presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig, an anonymous test driver. The programme is estimated to have 350 million viewers worldwide
First run episodes are broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two. Top Gear is also shown on Dave, BBC America, Special Broadcasting Service in Australia, and a number of other television channels around the world. The popularity of the show has led to the creation of three international versions, with local production teams and presenters, for Australia, the United States and Russia. Episodes of the Australian version premiered on 29 September 2008, while NBC is holding the American version for broadcast in February or March 2009, as a possible mid-season replacement.
The show has received acclaim for its visual style and presentation, as well as considerable criticism for its content and comments made by presenters. Columnist A. A. Gill described the show as "a triumph of the craft of programme-making, of the minute, obsessive, musical masonry of editing, the french polishing of colourwashing and grading". Pressure groups such as the Environmental Investigation Agency have accused the BBC of allowing the Top Gear team to cause damage to environmentally sensitive areas, such as the Makgadikgadi salt pan in Botswana.