Interview with Top Gear's Rory Reid
Why the current itineration of Top Gear is on full throttle.
BY Wayne Cheong | Mar 1, 2018 | Film & TV
Top Gear left a void after the original presenters left (the automobile trinity of Clarkson, Hammond, and May). But with the hiring of five new presenters (and the dropping of one Mr Evans), the current itineration of Top Gear has now found sure footing. Rory Reid, one of the five presenters, spoke to us about his time with Top Gear.
How do you feel about being one of the presenters of Top Gear?
Someone reminded me the other day that this is my third series. I thought, “How can that be?” I still feel like it’s the first week on the job. It’s as exciting now as it was then. Every day, I’m just thrilled to be doing this job.
How would you sum up this series?
It’s the usual Top Gear formula of taking a bunch of very exciting cars to very exciting locations and doing things you can only normally dream of doing.
Can you give us an example?
One of the most thrilling things was taking three V8 cars to Utah. To be in control of these massively powerful cars was exhilarating. We were driving through these enormous canyons and doing crazy races. I was doing it with Chris, one of the best drivers I’ve ever seen, and Matt, a global superstar. It was a surreal situation and not something you get to do every day.
What other adventures do you go on in this series?
We all went to Japan, where my mission was to explore the car culture. They have a very lax attitude towards what you’re allowed to drive on the roads. Some cars that are illegal here are [able] to drive on the roads in Japan. For instance, I tried out a Le Mans racing car on the Japanese roads. You would not be allowed to drive that on the roads in Britain. Imagine being given permission to drive a Formula One car on the road. You would have to question whether the person giving you that permission had lost their marbles. But in Japan, they simply handed me the keys and said, “Knock yourself out.”
What else about the show gives you goosebumps?
I certainly find it hard to believe whenever I come out of a hotel in the morning and see the crew working on the car I am about to drive. I realise I’m going to be one of the three guys they are focused on as they create an amazing lm for the world to see. I have butterflies in my stomach before I get in the car. But once I’m behind the wheel and re-up the engine, it’s such a rush.
There is a great chemistry between you three presenters, isn’t there?
Absolutely. We get on so well because we all love cars. I’ve got motoring coursing through my veins, and I’ll be involved with it for as long as I live. The other two are exactly the same. We might not all love the same cars–I might love one which Chris hates. But we all share a passion for the core subject of cars. We can sit around and have conversations about cars for hours on end and speak with authority about why we like a particular model. That’s the key thing that brings us together. I’m not a Hollywood actor like Matt or a racing driver like Chris, but the three of us can sit down over a pint and discuss the relative merits of the V6 and the V8 engine. That shared passion bonds us.
How would you characterise your relationship with Matt and Chris?
The two of them consider me their little brother. They believe I have the most bizarre taste in fashion, although I question what they wear more often. I’m the youngest, and they think I’m the one who is most in tune with modern technology like hybrid and electric cars. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them dinosaurs, but they have a lot of catching up to do in terms of embracing new technology.
Why do you think Top Gear has proved so enduringly popular?
It’s a great form of escapism. Everybody has a relationship with the automobile. When the audience sees us putting cars in such ridiculous situations, they find themselves living through us in a vicarious way. People like to watch other people do crazy things and fantasise about doing them themselves. I’m just lucky enough to be the one actually doing them.
Tell us more.
Top Gear has been going for decades and decades. This is just an evolution of the brand. We’re just the custodians of it, and I dare say in the future other presenters will carry the brand forward. I’ll keep watching it through all its iterations. Top Gear is bigger than any one presenter.
Does Top Gear appeal as much to women as men?
Definitely. Many women love cars. This is not just a show for men; it’s a show for anyone who has a relationship with cars, and that could be women just as much as men.
What has working on the show taught you?
When typical teenagers are growing up, they aspire to work in a traditional field and become a fireman, a lawyer or a policeman. In my experience, there is not much scope for doing something out of the ordinary. Your dreams are limited by what your teachers believe is attainable. But I would say to anyone watching Top Gear that the sky is the limit. Don’t think inside the box–try to think outside it. And one day you could find yourself doing the kind of fairy-tale stuff you’ve only ever seen on TV.
Top Gear Series 25 airs every Monday morning, express from the UK exclusively on BBC Brit, on BBC Player. BBC Player is available online at www.bbcplayer.com, and as an app on Apple and Google Play stores.