Ben Oliver

And On That Bombshell

Inside the madness and genius of Top Gear
26 September 2020

A memoir from the script editor of Top Gear.

I watched a lot of old Top Gear as a kid, and like many people got hooked on the new format when it came on. It always felt like the stars aligned to make something special that had never been seen before, and would not last forever.

And On That Bombshell gives us a look into how the show came about from a unique perspective of someone on the inside—not running the show, but there from day 1 (and at the end of old Top Gear) and key to its success.

For the most part it’s a collection of interesting anecdotes that hang together to provide insight into how the show came about, and how it was produced day-to-day. Porter shares Clarkson’s way with words, funny and easy to read.

As it wears on it starts to get a bit disjointed and haphazard. It’s like being with your mate in the pub—fun and enjoyable, but after a few pints the stories seem to come from nowhere. When you look at the timeline of Top Gear, this book was released really close to the end of the show, and it does feel a tad slap-dash.

A short and sweet treat for fans of the show, if a little hampered by the need to get it published while people were still interested. This is a shame because the most interesting stuff is at the show’s inception, not at its demise.