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Wednesday, 8 August, 2001, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
BBC takes Top Gear off road
Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson made his name on the show
BBC Two's long-running motoring show Top Gear is being rested after 23 years.

But the BBC has said that the show may return - after a refit.

"The show is not being axed," a BBC spokeswoman told BBC News Online.

Noel Edmonds
Noel Edmonds was an early Top Gear presenter
"Instead it will undergo a complete review to get a clearer idea of what an updated format might be."

Top Gear is being taken off air after the current run ends in late October.

While Top Gear is off the road, two new BBC Two programmes will serve motorists.

'Brand name'

Panic Mechanic will look at radical new car designs, while Top Gear: Car Jack will be a new format in which new and used cars will be reviewed by potential drivers.

"Top Gear: Car Jack will use the Top Gear brand name, which is strong and well-known," said the spokeswoman.

Both programmes will be made by BBC Birmingham.

Quentin Willson
Quentin Willson was a foil to the more abrasive Clarkson
Top Gear has been one of BBC Two's most popular programmes, recently attracting 3.23 million viewers.

The programme has also been a launch pad for TV talent, including Noel Edmonds, Jeremy Clarkson and Quentin Willson.

The show began on BBC Midlands in 1978.

On its transfer to national TV, Angela Rippon hosted the programme to help broaden its appeal to women - a role recently taken by Vicki Butler-Henderson.

The changes to the programme will not affect the BBC magazine of the same name, confirmed a spokesman for publishers BBC Worldwide.

"All our magazines stand and fall on their own editorial merits.

"The brand is still there. It is the best-selling general motoring monthly," said the spokesman.

The magazine sells almost 170,000 copies per month.

See also:

13 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Supercar crash halts Clarkson show
09 Nov 99 | UK Politics
Top Gear too fast for MPs
22 Jan 99 | Entertainment
Clarkson slips out of Top Gear
26 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Clarkson in the doghouse
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