Freddie Flintoff, Chris harris and Paddy McGuinness

Top Gear series 27, episode 1: what the critics thought

Do you agree with the reviewers?

TOP GEAR’S just had perhaps the biggest revamp since Clarkson and co were dropped in 2015. Out go Matt LeBlanc and Rory Reid; in their place come comedian Paddy McGuinness and ex-cricketer Freddie Flintoff.

It’s been a controversial move, with mixed predictions for the new series. We thought it might just work, but what did the TV critics think of Chris Harris and his new colleagues on their first episode together? Here’s what the reviews say so far.


Digital Spy

Top Gear is entering a new era, and it’s clear on this evidence that Chris, Paddy and Freddie are the right people to have in the driving seat. There have been a lot of false starts for the show over the last few years, but it’s really turned a corner and looking to the rest of the series, it should be full speed ahead.”

Alistair McGeorge (read in full)


i News

“It felt a bit over-extended and staged at times, and the middle segment comparing the latest Ferrari and McLaren supercars was very definitely “petrolheads only” – unless, of course, your car budget is around the quarter of a million mark (though the McLaren, at £185,000, is “a much better buy” apparently). But if you’re into this kind of thing, the well-established marque still measures up against the young pretenders.”

Jeff Robson (read in full)


The Guardian

“It gives me no particular pleasure to suggest that some of the original magic of Top Gear has been rekindled by this unlikely trio, but, miraculously, it has. The larky, bad-tempered chemistry that existed between Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond has been replicated in a slightly sunnier form, and with a fresh energy. The old format has life in it yet.”

Tim Dowling (read in full)


The Independent

“Watching Top Gear was always a bit like having to sit through someone else’s holiday home movies, and I am sorry to say that the adventures of the newish trio of Chris Harris, Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuiness in Ethiopia are, if anything, even more tedious than the countless times Jeremy Clarkson and the other two used to get old cars and drive them around exotic places and break their suspension.”

Sean O’Grady (read in full)


The Irish Times

“The introduction of younger and frankly less offensive presenters was probably going to happen sooner rather than later anyway. Flintoff and McGuinness are by no means Formula One-grade banterers – but they’re revving up nicely. And Top Gear may not be for the scrap heap just yet.”

Ed Power (read in full)


The Telegraph

“There were worrying whispers that the new-look Top Gear would be more touchy-feely than its pub-boorish previous incarnations. Judging by the launch episode, any petrolheads allergic to cuddles and scented candles need not have fretted. Insults flew. Pranks were played. Top Gear still had stubble on its chin and a glint in its eye.”

Michael Hogan (read in full)


The Times

“No off-colour jokes were to be found and there was less — what was it? Yes, less smart-arsery. It was better than expected because you could believe this trio were real mates, even though you knew it was a TV Tinder date. Thus far I rather ‘likey’, but since I am definitely not the traditional, hardcore audience, that might not bode well.”

Carol Midgley (read in full)

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