Last night (March 5th) marked the eagerly awaited return of BBCs ‘Top Gear’. After a complete presenter overhaul last year, this year’s line-up (sans Chris Evans) had Matt Le Blanc (aka Joey from Friends) taking the reins.
Back in November, when monitoring the performance of Amazon’s ‘The Grand Tour’, there was an apparent belief on social media that ‘Top Gear’ was all but dead. Looking at the overnight figures from yesterday, ‘dead’ may be a slight exaggeration, but there is no escaping this format is a shadow of its former self. Last night’s episode averaged a measly 2.8m viewers. Comparatively, the 2016 series averaged 3.8m. The last Clarkson era series averaged at 5.6m, at its peak attracting a colossal 6.9m viewers.
This sort of consistent of y-o-y-o-y dip in viewing won’t make pleasant reading at the BBC. Nor will this sort of reaction on Twitter:
Whilst The Grand Tour continues to drive hype, it’s hard to know if the droves of disillusioned Top Gear fans are defecting to Amazon or not. Hype doesn’t always equal viewing audience. Only when BARB’s Project Dovetail goes live will we have a true picture of online viewing. By then though, Top Gear may have already driven through the gates of the scrap yard.