While the hosts of Top Gear may have changed, the celebrity guest section remains. But just who is Himesh Patel and where have we seen him before?

The new series of the BBC’s Top Gear looks to be a step in the right direction with new hosts, Paddy McGuinness and Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff who join now veteran Chris Harris, the only remnant from the Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc eras of the show.

The format of the show remains largely the same but with the added personality of Paddy McGuinness, in particular, seems to have revitalised the show somewhat.

One area of Top Gear that remains are the celebrity guests and their lap time-setting antics at the Top Gear track. This week’s episode saw film director Danny Boyle and actor Himesh Patel take to the track. But just where have we seen Himesh Patel before?

Where have we seen Himesh Patel before?

Himesh Patel (or Imesh, according to the very northern accents of Paddy McGuinness and Andrew Flintoff) is almost certainly best known for his work on the BBC soap EastEnders. Patel appeared on over 550 episodes of the show between 2007 and 2016 as Tamwar Masood. 

Since leaving EastEnders three years ago, Patel has appeared in several TV shows, the most prominent being Damned, where Patel appeared alongside Jo Brand, the show’s creator, and Alan Davies.

However, in recent months, Himesh Patel’s standing in the world of acting picked up a few notches as he earned the starring role in the Danny Boyle-directed and Richard Curtis-written Yesterday. 

Yesterday tells the story of a struggling musician who, after a freak accident involving a power outage and a bus, ends up being the only person on Earth who remembers The Beatles.

It’s certainly a brilliant introduction to Himesh Patel for film fans as he really shines in the film.

His driving on Top Gear though leaves a fair bit to be desired.

Thoughts on the new series of Top Gear

Since the acrimonious departure of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May from the motoring show, Top Gear has gone through several different iterations to re-kindle the spark that made it one of the most-watched TV shows on the planet.

Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc have both fallen by the wayside since the 2016 reboot of the show.

In their place come Boltonian Paddy McGuinness and cricket legend Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff who join Chris Harris, the only remnant from the previous reshuffles.

Two episodes into the new series and it’s a definite step in the right direction for the BBC motoring show.

Paddy McGuinness, unbelievably, is the bonafide star of the show, if you can understand his thick Bolton accent, as he brings a much more down-to-earth feel to the show. 

Flintoff is an interesting choice for the series as his cricketing credentials don’t seem to lend themselves to driving cars quickly but he has quickly formed a bond with McGuinness that brings a degree of rivalry back to the show, even if he’s terrible at the actual presenting bit. 

Chris Harris is definitely the brain of the series now. While McGuinness and Flintoff are there for their loud, brash and at times ‘laddish’ personalities, Chris Harris is very much there for the car enthusiast audience.

However, despite the promising start to the new series, there is still that lingering feeling that Clarkson, Hammond and May’s Top Gear, and their new Amazon show – The Grand Tour – are still the far superior series. 

Regardless of that, Series 27 of Top Gear continues next Sunday on BBC Two at 8pm.


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