Top Gear: Netflix could air new series in global battle with Amazon's Clarkson

Streaming giant understood to be in talks with BBC for rights to revamped car show – after it passed on ex-Top Gear trio as ‘not worth the money’

Netflix is in talks with the BBC to air the revamped Top Gear in a deal that could see the show go head to head globally with Jeremy Clarkson’s new Amazon Prime show.

Driven by Chris Evans, with co-hosts including Matt Le Blanc and Eddie Jordan, the BBC show is understood to have gone down well with overseas buyers when a clip was aired at a showcase in Liverpool last month.

They included executives from Netflix, which already airs old episodes of the hit BBC2 show and has 75 million subscribers around the world. The talks are understood to be in early stages.

Netflix’s interest is likely to cause some concern at rival Amazon, which spent a reported £160m hiring the original Top Gear trio of Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May and their executive producer Andy Wilman to make a new car show.

Before the quartet signed with Amazon, Netflix ran the rule over a deal but concluded it was too expensive.

At the time Netflix’s chief product officer Neil Hunt told Digital Spy that his rivals had paid too much: “We have past episodes of Top Gear, so we have a pretty good gauge of what audiences like. Our buying decisions tend to be somewhat data-driven. We have a lot of data to get the deals we want, so there we go.

“Clearly it wasn’t worth the money to make the deal ... I think they sold themselves for way more money [than they’re worth].”

Netflix subsequently backtracked on these comments.

It is not known what kind of deal Netflix might strike with the BBC but last year it struck an innovative agreement to air the reboot of hit children’s series Danger Mouse, which is a co-production between the corporation and FremantleMedia.

While Danger Mouse aired on conventional TV in the UK, the rodent secret agent is being streamed in North and Latin America, Nordic territories, Benelux and Japan.

The BBC’s rights kept the series off the subscription-based streaming service in the UK initially but Netflix said it would launch in all territories “at a later date”.

If Netflix bought the new Top Gear (which is due to begin on BBC2 towards the end of May) it could be streamed in the autumn, which is when Clarkson, Hammond and May’s new series is due to begin.

According to sources a number of international broadcasters are keen to buy the show having seen Evans’s performance in Liverpool, including the key markets including Australia and Germany.

The old Top Gear was sold to more than 200 territories.

The BBC and Netflix declined to comment.


Tara Conlan

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Final Top Gear broadcast to give Clarkson, Hammond and May closure
The show’s former executive producer says he will join the team after their final show has aired to work out a next move, with ITV, Amazon and Netflix waiting in the wings

John Plunkett

26, Jun, 2015 @12:48 PM

Article image
Top Gear Live event firm pushed to loss after Clarkson rebrand
Global tour, which rebranded as Clarkson, Hammond and May Live after Clarkson left the BBC, reports £1.7m loss

Mark Sweney

23, Dec, 2016 @1:51 PM

Article image
Chris Evans' Top Gear 'is bigger global hit than Jeremy Clarkson version'
BBC’s commercial arm says revamped show sold to more countries than before, despite being a ratings flop in the UK

Mark Sweney

12, Jul, 2016 @2:13 PM

Article image
Lukewarm reception greets Chris Evans's revamped Top Gear
New incarnation of BBC2 show attracts mixed reviews and fewer viewers than hoped as airs on bank holiday weekend

Jasper Jackson

30, May, 2016 @5:50 PM

Article image
Top Gear's Clarkson, Hammond and May sign Amazon deal
Former BBC stars opt for online giant rather than ITV and Netflix for new motoring show to launch next year

John Plunkett

30, Jul, 2015 @9:59 AM

Article image
Jeremy Clarkson's Amazon show won't get a big UK audience, says Piers Morgan
Former Top Gear trio ‘won’t be getting mobbed’ in their home country after their move to ‘Amazon Past Their Prime’, claims journalist and ex-CNN presenter

Dugald Baird

25, Aug, 2015 @11:38 AM

Article image
Jeremy Clarkson's 'secret Top Gear film' part of Chris Evans' TFI Friday special
Presenter to make first TV appearance since being dropped from his BBC show, taking part in Channel 4 talkshow’s one-off 20th anniversary celebrations

John Plunkett

08, Jun, 2015 @2:32 PM

Article image
Top Gear row: Tesla loses appeal over Jeremy Clarkson review
Appeal court dismisses claim that show damaged car's sales, after manufacturer gets into online spat with New York Times. By Josh Halliday

Josh Halliday

05, Mar, 2013 @1:13 PM

Article image
Jeremy Clarkson and Co ‘are worth big money’, says Amazon’s Jay Marine
Amazon’s European TV boss on the ex-Top Gear team’s new show, why he’s not worried about Jeremy, and taking on Netflix

Mark Sweney

17, Apr, 2016 @12:00 PM

Article image
Top Gear driven from Argentina after Jeremy Clarkson number plate row
Cast and crew had to abandon cars at roadside after being pelted with stones due to row over ‘Falklands’ number plate. By John Plunkett

John Plunkett

03, Oct, 2014 @10:54 AM