Top Gear's tiresomely controversial Patagonia Special is evidence the show was ready to die

Top Gear

The BBC may have lost its golden goose, but Jeremy Clarkson will still be furnishing the corporation with politically incorrect eggs as long as there are hundreds of old Top Gear episodes to drip-release on DVD.

Though the remainder of the show’s 22nd series was put on hold last month after Clarkson assaulted producer Oisin Tymon at a hotel, a home-entertainment release of last Christmas’s Patagonia Special has gone ahead as planned this week. Hopefully it’ll be enough to pacify the 1,050,531 individuals who scrolled past change.org petitions against FGM, police brutality and animal cruelty to sign one demanding the reinstatement of a violent, entitled TV presenter.

The filming of the special, in which Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond drive 1,600 miles from Bariloche to Ushuaia in a supposed effort to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the small-block V8 engine, was ignominiously cut short after protesters took to the streets of Argentina in response to reports that the presenters were travelling in a Porsche bearing the number plate H982 FLK, a possible allusion to the Falklands conflict of 1982.

The plate was almost certainly accidental, but you can hardly blame the Argentinians for assuming the worst given how tightly controlled every aspect of Top Gear’s production otherwise is. Thirteen years since it was relaunched with Clarkson at the helm, the programme has reached a level of stylistic singularity that renders it almost indecipherable to the casual viewer. Scripted interplays straight out of Made In Chelsea mingle with Sky Travel-esque tourist guides and Wacky Races-style visual gags, while soaring drone-shot sequences and an overbearing use of filters lend even the most perfunctory of scenes the feel of a late-90s John Woo film. If they’ve any sense, the producers will be glad to see the back of Clarkson: his deeply conservative brand of comedy is a poor match for a show so formally adventurous.

Top Gear: The Patagonia Special is out now on DVD

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Charlie Lyne, for The Guardian on Saturday 4th April 2015 09.00 Europe/London

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