Wrong Car, Right Car (lost BBC Two television series; 2002-2003)
During the time in which the channel's flagship automotive program, Top Gear, was undergoing a hiatus before its reboot into the highly-successful version presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, BBC Two commissioned two series to take the show's place. The first of these, Panic Mechanics, was a car-themed game show. The other, originally named Top Gear: Car Jack but changed to its eventual name in light of the 2002 carjacking murder of Tim Robinson, aired two series in 2002 and 2003 to little fanfare. Even its page on the BFI is lacking in content.
No footage of Wrong Car, Right Car survives, and only a single screenshot of Jason Barlow as "The Specialist" was made available by Pebble Mill fan Ian Collins.
Wrong Car, Right Car was developed as a show primarily to fulfill presenter Jason Barlow's contract, as he had originally been planned to remain as host of Top Gear until 2003. However, with the Top Gear's cancellation and the return of renowned host Jeremy Clarkson in March of 2002, Barlow would be removed from his role by Clarkson who felt the pair did not gel. Barlow was joined by Dominic Littlewood, as the pair helped a show participant to buy the new car they wanted using the tricks of the trade. An example of this is divorcee Lynn Spalding having £9,000 to spend from her settlement and the dilemma being whether she'd go for bargain or image, which is where the pair of presenters would come in. Each participant would also be given the chance to drive their dream car, which in Spalding's case was a Noble M12. According to PassionFord member In The Pit, Littlewood's catchphrase was "get the mats and flaps."
Wrong Car, Right Car was originally announced on August 8th, 2001, alongside Panic Mechanic, which would later have an "S" added to its name before making it to air. In August 2002, the BBC requested members of the public to sign up for the show's second series, which began broadcasting in 2003. Each episode was directed by Dave Smith and produced by Karen MacKinder for the BBC's Pebble Mill studio in Birmingham, which was formerly the base for Top Gear.
It appears that the show was nominated for an award in late 2002, but was beaten by another program entitled Follow That Tomato, which cost its production team just £6,000.
According to the Radio Times, 21 episodes of Wrong Car, Right Car aired; 6 in 2002 (including a pilot in February of that year), and 15 in 2003. Only the latter of these have episode names.
|1||01/07/2003||The Smack on the Bum|
|3||01/21/2003||Make Some Noise, Baby|
|4||01/28/2003||Go Go Granny|
|7||02/17/2003||Do I Look Good in This?|
|8||02/24/2003||The Farmer's Wife Wants a 4X4|
|9||03/03/2003||Releasing The Dinosaur|
|10||03/10/2003||Chic or Geek?|
|11||03/17/2003||A Load of Blarney!|
|13||03/31/2003||More Bangs For Your Bucks|
- BBC News article stating Top Gear's cancellation. Retrieved 17 Apr '20
- Pebble Mill website talking about Wrong Car, Right Car Retrieved 17 Apr '20
- Roach, M., 2011. The Top Gear Story. 2nd ed. London: John Blake Publishing Ltd.
- British Film Institute page for Wrong Car, Right Car. Retrieved 26 Apr '20
- BBC News article on Jeremy Clarkson's return. Retrieved 26 Apr '20
- Belfast Telegraph - Jason Barlow on his meeting with Jeremy Clarkson. Retrieved 26 Apr '20
- The Standard - TV critic briefly mentions Wrong Car, Right Car, in addition to a low-resolution promotional photo. Retrieved 26 Apr '20
- Wales Online article on Wrong Car, Right Car episode. Retrieved 26 Apr '20
- Pistonheads forum thread on Lynn Spalding's episode. Retrieved 26 Apr '20
- PassionFord post on Dominic Littlewood's catchphrase Retrieved 26 Apr '20
- York Press - Searching for participants. Retrieved 26 Apr '20
- BFI page for the show's second series premiere. Retrieved 26 Apr '20
- The Telegraph - Jason Barlow talks about Automotive and TV awards. Retrieved 26 Apr '20
- BBC Genome listings for Wrong Car, Right Car. Retrieved 26 Apr '20