Top Gear films studio links away from Dunsfold home for first time in 20 years

Picture Shows: Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness, Chris Harris
Picture Shows: Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness, Chris Harris

Top Gear has vacated its home at the Dunsfold race track for the first time in nearly 20 years to record links for its studio elements.

Coronavirus restrictions meant the BBC motoring show filmed its 30th series without the usual studio audience.

The measures also ruled out a repeat of the last series, which saw Andrew Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris host in front of a live drive-in audience at Dunsfold in Surrey.

Instead, the show recorded its links during a two-night shoot at the BBC’s former home, the Television Centre in west London.

A spokesman for Top Gear said: “Although we have still been using the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold for filming this series, we’ve temporarily relocated the studio elements to Television Centre for this run.”

The move marks the first time Top Gear has filmed its trademark studio segments away from Dunsfold since it was revived by the BBC in 2002.

Drone footage shows the site’s Helios statue surrounded by a ring of more than 20 colourful supercars including the Porsche Taycan 4S, three Aston Martins, a Bentley Continental GT V8 Coupe and a Mustang Mach-E.

These were displayed against the usual studio backdrop of the cars the men drove across Ethiopia in their first adventure together in June 2019, transported to Television Centre for the shoot.

Top Gear
Drone footage shows the site’s Helios statue surrounded by a ring of supercars (BBC Studios/PA)

Clare Pizey, Top Gear’s co-executive producer, said: “Once it was confirmed that we couldn’t have a studio audience, Alex Renton and I knew we needed a big rethink.

“A drive-in with no cars just doesn’t work. An empty hangar at Dunsfold would give us zero atmosphere – and in any case, Top Gear needs a sense of scale.

“So we are really pleased with the Television Centre solution. It’s iconic. It looks beautiful.

“The production team and local residents give it atmosphere. And it’s also, pretty much, working from home.”

McGuinness, Flintoff and Harris return for a fourth series together following popular acclaim for their efforts since taking over the show.

Previous efforts to find replacements for Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May faltered, with the likes of Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc proving hit and miss with fans.

Top Gear, a BBC Studios production, returns soon to BBC One and BBC iPlayer.


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