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Mike Stevens | Nov 11, 2009

THOSE LUCKY ENOUGH to live in the UK will get an all-new dose of Top Gear this weekend as the show returns for its 14th series.

To build anticipation, the BBC has released a new teaser video starring the Top Gear kids with a brief look at the stunts and challenges that lay ahead.

Despite talk of budget cuts and tamer stunts, the new season of Top Gear looks to be more of the same idiocy that has made it one of the world's most popular shows.

Racing delivery vans, flaming junkers, sewer racing and hand-built armoured vehicles - Season 14 has it all, as the trailer below shows.

Australia's Nine Network recently purchased broadcast rights to both the original Top Gear and Top Gear Australia, meaning that when the new UK series airs in Australia, it will likely be on Channel Nine.

The Nine Network could not be reached for comment on scheduling of either Top Gear UK or Top Gear Australia.

 

Trouble Brews Over Scirocco Suicide Spoof

TOP GEAR'S PRODUCERS have landed in hot water over a spoof "TV commercial" for the Volkswagen Scirocco, that suggests people considering suicide might think again once they drive the new Volkswagen sportscar.

The spoof piece introduces a man whose poor financial and relationship decisions lead him to commit suicide, before transitioning to footage of the Scirocco and the narrator proposing "if only he'd waited for the new Scirocco TDI to go on sale."

According to the UK's television watchdog Ofcom, fifty viewers complained about the graphic depiction of suicide and the man's body lying in a pool of blood.

This latest controversy isn't a first for Top Gear, with a comment last year by host Jeremy Clarkson - referring to truck drivers as prostitute murderers - leading to 339 complaints to Ofcom.

Regarding the Scirocco parody, Ofcom said today: "In Ofcom’s view it was precisely because Top Gear is an established entertainment programme which features a typical sort of humour that many viewers — including some adults watching with children — would not have expected such a violent scene to appear."

“Ofcom noted there was no information before the spoof advertisement which would have prepared viewers for its potentially disturbing nature and alerted adult viewers to the fact that it may be unsuitable for younger viewers."

“These factors taken together meant that the scene exceeded audience expectations for the programme and led Ofcom, on balance, to conclude that there was no editorial justification for its inclusion.”

With the show set to return this week, the BBC commented only that it had noted Ofcom's finding.

The spoof commercial can be viewed below, but we must warn that it does visually depict the act of suicide.

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