For all of its negatives and controversy, let’s get one thing clear – the BBC’s Top Gear has quite possibly the largest viewing audience of any TV show on the planet, an estimated 350 million people in 170 of the 190-odd countries on the map.
Which makes it rather odd that Australia’s capital of tourism, the Gold Coast, an area renowned for its beaches and surfing, would reject the kind of global publicity that comes with a Top Gear episode filming. But that’s just what the Gold Coast City Council did in a move that Paul Morris, head of the Holden Driving Center, called “bureaucracy gone mad.”
According to Perth Now, Jeremy Clarkson was set to drive the Xbox One-sponsored Holden Commodore V8 Supercar at the Holden Driving Center in Norwell, about 27 miles outside the city center and in an area that mainly consists of sugar cane farmers. Still, the Driving Center needed to apply for a relaxation of its noise restrictions, which the Gold Coast City Council blocked, claiming the one-day notice wasn’t enough time to get approval. Devil’s advocate here, but who expects any city government to move that quickly, regardless of who or what it’s for?
With the filming happening further inland in Warwick now, Morris has taken the opportunity to verbally lambast the City Council over its decision, telling Perth Now, “We are talking about the world’s biggest TV show and the council, which is always banging on about how the Gold Coast is open for business, can’t even facilitate it. Clarkson was going to drive the car himself. It’s bureaucracy gone mad. The pen-pushers are strangling this town with red tape.” Speaking of the noise issue, Morris added, “The guy cutting cane next door makes more noise with his harvester than the V8 car.”
For what it’s worth, the Gold Coast Deputy Mayor, Donna Gates, told the Aussie publication, “I’m disappointed in any opportunity like this that we miss. Top Gear obviously has a really big viewing audience and it would have been great promotion for the city.”