I love Top Gear. Easily my favorite show. But, I also accept that most of it is set up/scripted. That’s how they maintain such high level of quality.

I thought the American roadtrip episode was a bit much. They played to their audience a bit too heavily with every tired cliche they could fit in. Anyone else notice that James May’s heart didn’t seem to be in that one?

I decided to research and prove the redneck thing was staged. I live in north Mississippi near Memphis and on a business trip to Destin FL, I went right past their route. On the way back through Alabama I found the gas station in question and spoke with the owner. He was suspicious at first but after finding out I was a fan and not looking to quote him he admitted he was contacted weeks before the filming.

I contacted the BBC and the TG office next. The calls weren’t cheap, but I just had to ask them directly. When they found out I was looking to authenticate that episode they tried to fob me off with some free t-shirts and then refused to comment.

Sorry guys. I know you really really want to believe it’s all spontaneous, (and some of you still will) but on a top rated prime time show- nothing is left to chance.

For a more realistic example of an American road trip, watch Oz Clark and James May’s California Wine Adventure.