Top Gear may be the most-watched factual program in the entire world, but you know the show has really made it when its hosts are asked to make a guest appearance on the animated show Phineas and Ferb.
Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond will voice the characters of car race commentators in an upcoming episode of the Disney kids show called “Live and Let Drive.”
“I couldn’t say yes quickly enough. I did Phineas and Ferb as a way of impressing my children. They think I’ve done something cool for once!” Hammond said, according to a Press Association story.
“Impressing my girls as a bloke off a car show is impossible. They are not impressed by fancy cars or motorcycles or me flying a helicopter or any of the things I like doing,” explained the Hamster. “They have grown up with having a dad on the telly, it has always been the case for them, so there’s little novelty in it for them, but when it’s a show that they watch independently of my being in it and then I crop up on it, that’s much cooler.”
Richard will also do a guest spot on the spin-off Take Two With Phineas and Ferb.
• Meanwhile, the guest that Jeremy Clarkson would most like to have on Top Gear is Prince Harry, though he says he’d also love to have Harry’s grandmother, the Queen.
“I’d love to get a royal on it and I reckon Harry would be up for it,” he told BBC Radio’s Newsbeat. “Or how about the head of the household? Let’s have the Queen on. She did a skydive at the Olympics, so why not have her in a pokey car?”
Clarkson says that Angelina Jolie is also high on the list of guests he’d like to be a Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.
• As we’re fond of saying (see the first story, above), Top Gear is hugely popular all over the word. But did you know that it’s especially popular in Iran, where it airs on BBC Persian TV?
BBC News ran a story last week about how Iranian-born actor Mozaffar Shafeie, who voices Jeremy Clarkson into Farsi for the Iranian broadcast, was treated like a rock star at a party he attended in Kurdistan a few weeks ago.
“It was like Beatlemania,” says Shafeie. “I even signed some autographs.”
In fact, Top Gear is so popular in Iran that when it was pre-empted for an interview with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year, viewers complained vociferously.
And while Jeremy Clarkson understood that the show is popular, he said he was surprised at the reaction.
“You’d have thought that the Iranians would have found [Hillary Clinton] relatively interesting – more interesting anyway than three fat old men falling over. I’m delighted to hear that we’re more interesting than Hillary Clinton.”
Shafeie says he thinks Iranians love the show because of its colorful language, and he says he takes great pains to accurately render such non-automotive terms as “gentlemen’s sausage” and “Pharaoh’s dried testicles” (the latter, you may remember, was used to describe truffles).
The BBC’s Darius Bazargan said that Iranians have always had a strong car culture and that the show’s irreverence is a big draw in Iran.
“Jeremy Clarkson is about as opposite to President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad as you can get,” Bazargan said.
• Beginning next week, you’ll be able to see premieres of two Top Gear specials: the Best of 2012 and 2013. The first airs Monday, April 15 and the second on Monday, April 22. Both are on at 9p/8c.
In order to get in the mood, you might want to take a look at two recently released behind-the-scenes looks at Season 18 Stars in a Reasonably Priced Car segments, Slash and will.i.am:
• Top Gear USA wrapped up its third season this week, but you can still see some of the hosts’ web-only wisdom at the show’s History channel site. In the following video Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust and Rutledge Wood discuss their own driving rituals:
• Of course we – and TopGear.com – are always on the lookout for car-related movies. This week saw the release of the teaser trailer for Rush, director Ron Howard’s movie about the 1976 Formula One racing season and the dramatic battle between drivers James Hunt, played by Chris Hemsworth (Thor), and Niki Lauda, played by Daniel Brühl (Inglorious Basterds). Brit Peter Morgan (The Queen) wrote the screenplay.
• And perhaps the only thing we like more than a movie trailer is a parody of a movie trailer. TopGear.com recently pointed out the trailer for Fast & Furious 6, and they’ve also alerted us to a parody – made with toy-size remote control cars: