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Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 17:34 GMT
Top Gear team switch lanes
Quentin Willson
Quentin Willson took a break from Top Gear
The team behind television's long-running motoring show Top Gear is switching tracks from the BBC to Channel 5.

The programme that spawned the television career of Jeremy Clarkson was told by the BBC in August that it would be rested after 23 years.

At the time BBC bosses denied the show had been axed but said it was merely undergoing a strategic overhaul.

But the entire presenting and production team from Chrysalis Entertainment is now switching over to Channel 5 to launch a new show called Fifth Gear.

It will also mark the return of presenter Quentin Willson after a year-long sabbatical.

Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson made his name on Top Gear
He will be joined in the driving seat by Tiff Needel, Vicki Butler-Henderson and Adrian Wilson.

Former racing driver Needel said: "I am delighted to be able to continue providing the motoring public with an entertaining and informative programme, because from the feedback I've had the world over that's what the real motoring fans want."

Channel 5's newly installed director of programmes, Kevin Lygo, added: "This is a fantastic coup for the channel - we are delighted to have been able to attract such a high profile team.

"To devotees, Quentin, Tiff, Vicki and Adrian were Top Gear. I'm sure their many fans will welcome them back as a regular fixture on our screens once again."

Fifth Gear will have an initial run of 15 weeks.

The BBC's Top Gear magazine is unaffected by the changes.

See also:

08 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
BBC takes Top Gear off road
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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