Top Gear Thursday: World’s Biggest Gearhead Is… an Owl?

Haru the owl (Kent Online)

Haru the owl (Kent Online)

It’s old news that Top Gear is the world’s most popular factual program. Among humans, that is. But now it appears that Top Gear is also extremely popular among owls. Okay, it’s one owl, so the sampling size isn’t that large. But still, this particular owl, an Asian brown wood owl named Haru, is completely nuts over the show, says his owner, 22-year-old Natasha Welch of Maidstone, Kent.

Haru thinks he’s a person, says Welch, and he’s taken a liking to many male-centered television shows, especially Top Gear. Welch doesn’t always share a fondness for Haru’s viewing choices.

“He loves watching TV, especially programs I don’t like, so I have to sit in front of tennis, Top Gear and Star Wars with him,” Welch said, according to Kent Online.

Now, it’s easy to see why an owl might be especially well-suited to watching tennis, and, who knows, he might be fascinated by George Lucas creatures (maybe he wants to eat ewoks), but we don’t have any idea what attracts him to Top Gear. Still, it’s probably safe to say that most readers of this column would approve of Haru’s taste in TV shows.

• Top Gear Live is in Glasgow this weekend – January 17 through 19 at the city’s SSE Hydro – and while that may sound like a new car you’d see on Top Gear, SSE Hydro is, in fact, the name of the new venue where the event is taking place (named after the Scottish power company, Scottish and Southern Energy). Here’s what the three guys have to say about the event, which, by the way, is sold out:

Top Gear Live has also announced that it will return to Durban, South Africa to stage another festival this year. The dates are still to be determined.

• In an interview with the Express, Richard Hammond was tight-lipped about the upcoming season of Top Gear, but did reveal one of the new season’s destinations. “I can’t divulge much – sorry,” he said. “I’ve just got back from tearing around in Dubai in an incredibly exciting car, and we’ve got a special that’s bigger and better than anything we’ve done before.”

Hammond was also asked some more personal questions like, when was the last time he cried, and he gave this touching answer: “A month ago. I’d been in Australia for five weeks, and had just one day at home before going off to the Ukraine. My wife knew I was home but we didn’t tell my daughters, then when I turned up at school to collect them they jumped into my arms and burst into tears. That pushed me over the edge.”

Hammond was also asked whom he’d like to swap places with for 24 hours, and he answered that he’d like to be a koala for a day. “They spend their lives hanging around, with no pressure at all,” he said. It was unclear whether there were any koalas who wanted to swap places with Hammond, or whether any of them would rather be The Stig.

• Richard Hammond and his wife Mindy were guests at the opening of a new emergency center of Birmingham Children’s Hospital this week. “I owe my life to medical staff like these,’’ Hammond said as he toured the new wing. Hammond grew up in Birmingham, and he and his wife also have a personal connection to the hospital because it’s where Mindy’s godson Jobe Taylor-Davis was treated for head injuries after being kicked by a horse.

Richard Hammond at Birmingham Children's Hospital with Callum Read, 11. (Birmingham Mail)

Richard Hammond at Birmingham Children’s Hospital with Callum Read, 11. (Birmingham Mail)

Hammond got serious about the hospital’s work and said he was impressed by “the important work that people do here,” Hammond told the Birmingham Mail. When he leaves, “it’s back to the usual nonsensical waste of time stuff that we do,” he said, referring to the show. “It’s just three grown men messing about in cars.”

• Jeremy Clarkson has been named one of the 60 most influential British tweeters over the age of 50. Actually he came in high up at No. 4 in the list, which was put together by the social media firm, PeerIndex. As of presstime, Jezza had more than 2.7 million followers. (via the Telegraph)