Here is a screen grab of Angela Rippon presenting the first ever episode of the motoring magazine show, Top Gear, stood outside BBC Pebble Mill, from 1977. An excerpt of this episode is included in the following BBC show, Back in Time for the Weekend, episode 3, The 70s: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b071c07m/back-in-time-for-the-weekend-3-the-70s
Here is the Radio Times entry for an early episode of Top Gear, from July 1978, courtesy of the BBC Genome project: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/53d7caaca2db42e9af4b102cb6bb061b. You’ll see from the text that the programme was much more consumer and safety conscious than the current iteration of Top Gear:
“Top Gear with Angela Rippon and Barrie Gill
Rippon on the Road
The big holiday rush begins this weekend and many drivers plan to travel through Friday night. How dangerous is this practice? What are the stress factors and what are the signs of fatigue? Angela finds out for herself by night driving to the West Country. Twenty people are killed and over 200 seriously injured each week yet these figures could be cut to one tenth if we used our seat belts. Should we leave it to persuasion or is compulsion the final answer?
Director PHIL FRANKLlN Producer DEREK SMITH BBC Birmingham