How The Amazing Race helped Top Gear Australia

"If I had this opportunity 10 years ago I probably wouldn't be up to it," says host Beau Ryan.

Beau Ryan is convinced his experience travelling and filming for The Amazing Race prepared him for the rigors of Top Gear Australia.

“If I had this opportunity 10 years ago I probably wouldn’t be up to it, if I’m gonna be honest with you.,” he told TV Tonight.

“I think everything I’ve done has pointed me towards this moment. Because we’ve got a live studio audience, presenting to camera which isn’t easy, driving at high speeds, performing challenges. There’s travel, knowing when to talk and when to be quiet, and when to really fit in.

“They’re all things that need to be learned with experience in front of a camera.”

Ryan, who co-hosts with Jonathan LaPaglia and Blair Joscelyne, has seen first hand the challenges of airports, including travelling with film equipment and requirements for Carnet documentation where expensive equipment is crossing borders.

“One of the hardest things about The Amazing Race is obviously the travel and the planes, but also the airports and doing a process called a Carnet where you’ve got to bring cameras in and out of countries and prove where you got them,” he continues.

“We only had to do one or two Carnet experiences in Italy. I’ve been stuck at the borders for 10 hours before. I’ve been at airports for 9-10 hours in Morocco and Africa and parts of Europe, where anything under three or four hours is a quick transition.

“We had a couple of moments where I reminded the boys that we might be stuck there. But three hours of wasted daylight is crucial to us. So three hours can hurt at the back end of filming.

“The schedule is so intense and we’re literally driving ourselves to each location.

“You know how TV works. You might do a few bits to camera and then jump in the back of a van. That’s not how this works. We did all of the driving to our locations. So I think for these boys to see it was a bit eye opening.

“But The Amazing Race put me in good stead. I’m used to changing locations, I’m used to packing up each and every day. To do that with these two guys, I really enjoyed it because now we can reflect on the experience and as tough as it did get, it really puts into perspective how hard this show is.”

This season of Top Gear Australia filmed in France, Italy, Colombia and Texas, and from its base at Cockatoo Island, Sydney where it largely replicates the UK original.

“To be honest with you, the nuts and bolts of the format is very similar to the original Top Gear in the UK,” LaPaglia explains.

Top Gear has kind of evolved over the years and they’ve dropped some segments and we’ve actually brought a lot of those back. Probably the only segment that we don’t do on this current version is the News segment. That was a conscious decision because it dates. But we do everything else, Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, we do Power Lap tests. We obviously do a primary story, some secondary stories and then obviously the studio elements, to bring all that together.”

Beau Ryan is also confident this third iteration of the show in Australia differs significantly from previous versions which screened on SBS and Nine.

“We are so different to them, I think that’s what’s going to appeal to the Aussie market at least because we are true to ourselves, and the audience will see that from the very opening scene.”

Top Gear Australia is now screening on Paramount+.

3 Responses

  1. I’ve got to say I just can’t get into this version of Top Gear, I don’t think the three of them mesh very well and the driving/car knowledge is not in Beau’s arena or we just haven’t seen it yet. the set ups for each story just trail off, the coffee one for example, they came back to Sydney to and serve coffee out of a van, really who needs to see that, it was a long sequence or when they took off into the Blue Mountains to the Lost City, what was the point. Even the Jay Leno piece fell flat and his knowledge and collection is huge. they could move to a Grand Tour style where they become adventure stories, think North Pole or Bridge Over the River Kwai but I think it’s time the format is put to rest.

    1. Good feedback. I’d say the Colombian episode was more about the journey than the destination, the coffee van is more a light coda which didn’t strike me as out of kilter. But you’ve watched more than me.

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