Even though I am what many would describe as an ‘unconfident driver’, I have always been a bit of a petrol head.
I don’t really know where it came from – my dad works in the motor trade, listing off parts numbers to 10 year old Audis like I do lyrics to McBusted – but he’s never been overly enthusiastic with his cars. No Sunday Service meets or sitting outside with his box of spanners for a Saturday evening.
I’ve always had a long list of dream cars to adorn my future garage – everything from a pink Range Rover to an orange Audi R8 – but, for the time being, am more than content with my gorgeous little Mini, in pillar box red.
Getting to Mini-driving stage took the most effort of my current motor racing career, after failing my driving test a spectacular 4 times. Over the space of 3 years, I tried, and failed, to gain my licence, and, eventually, the grumpy old man from Redhill did me the honour of making me a driver. Oh yes I do sir.
Because of my fascination of things on four wheels, with an engine and enough power to make your hair stand on end, I find solace in my all time favourite TV show – Top Gear.
I fell madly in love with Richard Hammond. I sent gifts to James May – and his cat. And I watched hour after hour of the show, to the point where I can name which piece of music accompanies which car feature, which numberplate belongs to which of their budget Porsches and even the lap times of their fastest celebrities.
To go to a live studio recording of Top Gear, you have to be 18. So, while I watched my parents and family friends go down to Guildford to watch the great spectacle, I counted down the days to my 18th birthday, and, on the morning of my birthday, signed up to get tickets. I applied for tickets for every single show for the past 4 years. And I haven’t had any. And now I never will.
I’ve always been a media buff, so naturally my career path has always pointed to the world of broadcast. Top of that list was always, and completely genuinely, to be the writer/editor/producer/tea girl of Top Gear. I even saw the job listings come up on the BBC website several times, and printed them out as future inspiration.
If I weren’t to be writing the show, I wanted to be on it – I dreamt of being The Star In The Reasonably Priced Car. I practised the chat show conversations I’d have in my head, talking about my brand new R8 and how I was secretly a much better driver than my car-mad boyfriend. I genuinely and completely passionately dreamt of landing my career topping goal, in the studios of BBC’s Top Gear.
So of course, I’m heartbroken that the show has been cancelled. I am devastated that Jeremy is going to leave and I am completely gutted that the Top Gear we all love is now going to leave a big Stig-shaped hole in our lives.
While Jeremy could be a bit of a cock, James was a bit of a bore and Richard was a bit of a prime-time sell out, they excelled extravagantly in their roles on Top Gear, bringing humour and fun to what can be (and trust me, I’ve been to the 5am car meets to prove it), a very dull hobby.
I will never stand in the audience and watch them film the show. I will never get to write for the number one car show, and the biggest single earner for the BBC in the whole world. I will never get to impress Jezza with my undeniable car skills.
While Top Gear is certainly ‘just a TV show’, like anything else littered across our screens nowadays, it genuinely provided me with inspiration, confidence and happiness. While our obsessions and our interests may take the form in something as simple as a show, or a book, or – RIP Zayn – a band, the joys we gain from these things should never let us to forget what and why we love what we do.