The final episodes of Top Gear starring Jeremy Clarkson will “likely” air in the northern Summer, the BBC has confirmed.
While Clarkson has already been given permission to see out the remainder of his Top Gear Live event hosting duties, a question mark has hovered over the three unaired episodes in the TV show’s 22nd season.
This week, however, BBC2 Controller Kim Shillinglaw told the UK’s Radio Times that the episodes will likely hit screens as soon as the northern Summer - which means anytime between late June and late September.
“There is no way I would not want the available material to be seen by viewers,” Shillinglaw told the website.
“Top Gear is a show that I love, I genuinely watch it and I always have done.”
An unnamed BBC source is also quoted, adding that the footage was filmed with a budget drawn from licence fees (British households must pay an annual fee of £145.50 (AU$282) for television broadcasts), and that “payers have a right to see it”.
It’s unclear precisely how the episodes will be formatted, however.
While most of the feature content is filmed well ahead of screening, the studio and news segments are filmed closer to the air date.
This likely means that the remaining episodes will be reformatted around the feature content: car reviews, travel and adventure footage, and challenge projects.
The report adds that the BBC has not yet decided whether Clarkson’s former co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond will be asked to provide additional material to round out the episodes.
According to Wikipedia, episode 8 includes reviews of the new WRX STI and Golf R, along with a countryside jaunt in the classic Fiat 124 Spider, MGB GT and Peugeot 304 Cabriolet. English footballer Gary Lineker was to be the ‘star in a reasonably priced car’.
Episode 9 lists no reviews, but describes a challenge to find the best deal in the used SUV market, along with track ‘testing’ of large prestige cars. Superman actor Henry Cavill was scheduled to take on the celebrity lap time board.
Footage for the celebrity challenges may also appear in the reformatted eighth and ninth episodes.
There are no known details for the 10th and unexpectedly final episode in the Clarkson era.
Top Gear’s New Format Due In 2016
Shillinglaw also confirmed that new Top Gear episodes will air in 2016, debuting a new format.
Details of the new series have not been offered, although the recent departure of showrunner Andy Wilman will likely mean an all-new creative direction.
Shillinglaw also revealed that female presenters will be considered, but would not comment on whether May and Hammond will return.
“It’s not been an easy year but it’s kind of creatively exciting - what we are going to do, what we have to do,” she said.
“We have got to move the show on. That’s what we are going to do.”
Clarkson Planning New Motoring Show
While it appears we will never see Clarkson on TV again under the Top Gear banner, the outspoken Brit has revealed this week that he is already planning a new motoring show.
Writing in The Sunday Times, Clarkson said that while he is in the early stages, he will be back.
"I have lost my baby but I shall create another. I don't know who the other parent will be or what the baby will be like, but I cannot sit around any more organising my photograph albums," he wrote.