Fifth Gear

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission











This photo shows Vicki Butler-Henderson presenting on Fifth Gear. Female racing driver, Vicki, was a presenter on Top Gear, until the show was cancelled by the BBC in its original form in 2001, when she, Tiff Needell and Quentin Wilson went on to present Fifth Gear for Channel 5 in 2001. The series was made by ex-BBC Birmingham staff, and hired some of the facilities, such as post production.

Thanks to Ian Collins for making this screen grab available.

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook Page:

Jonathan Relf: ‘Did a Motor Show shoot with Vicki, assisting the camera crew. The press day and the first day of opening.
Also remember the opening shot of one series at Goodwood racing circuit where they attempted to get one of every car available on the UK forecourts but can’t remember if she was there for that. Top Gear was fun to work on as a change from the studio stuff.’

Darren Cox: ‘I wasn’t BBC staff and I think I shot that actual item. It’s at Brands and Tiff was driving. To be fair I was a BBC contractor for a while.’

Murray Clarke: ‘Vicki B-H was an excellent presenter on Top Gear. Great to work with. She was bit of a ‘lad’, but at the same time, managed to be very feminine!’





Top Gear Live


Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission













Here is a titles grab from the show: Top Gear Live.

There are two editions of Top Gear Live included on the BBC Genome project, which lists Radio Times entries. One edition of the motor show at Silverstone went out on BBC 2 in May 1998, and here is the entry for the first one in 20 July 1996:

“Last Thursday, the world’s first interactive motor show, Top Gear Live, opened at Silverstone, giving the public the chance to go for a test drive on the circuit that recently staged the British Grand Prix. The team from BBC2’s Top Gear programme reports from the five-day event whose attractions include motorcycle stunts, monster trucks, new cars, classic designs, karts and off-road vehicles. Presented by Jeremy Clarkson , Quentin Willson , Tiff Needell , Michele Newman , Tony Mason and Steve Berry.
Producers Jon Bentley and John Wilcox
Presented By: Jeremy Clarkson
Presented By: Quentin Willson
Presented By: Tiff Needell
Presented By: Michele Newman
Presented By: Tony Mason
Presented By: Steve Berry.
Producers: Jon Bentley
Producers: John Wilcox”

Thanks to Ian Collins for making the still available.


Top Gear Motorsport













Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

Thanks to Ian Collins for sharing this titles grab from Top Gear Motorsport, which was a spin off series from the popular BBC2 motoring magazine show, which focused on all types of motorsport and went out between 1995-8.

Here is the entry from the Radio Times for the first episode of the series from autumn 1995, courtesy of the BBC Genome project:

“In the first of a 17-part series, John Cleland , recently crowned British
Touring Car Champion, reviews his season. Plus, there’s a look at Alister McRae ‘s bid for glory in the Scottish round of the Top Gear British Rally Championship, and a review of the career of five times world champion
Juan Manuel Fangio , who died earlier this year. Presented by Tiff Needell , Tony Mason and Steve Berry.
Series producer Ken Pollock ; Executive producer
Dennis Adams”


Top Gear: Waterworld














Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

Waterworld was a Top Gear spin-off series. There were five episodes in all, transmitted between 20th July and 20th August 1998. It was presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Tiff Needell and Julia Bradbury. It was a magazine show which covered motorised water vehicles of various sorts.

Thanks to VT editor Ian Collins for making this titles grab available.

Top Gear – Gail Herbert’s photos

Photos copyright of Gail Herbert, no reproduction without permission.

Top Gear, now known as ‘old Top Gear’, was produced at BBC Pebble Mill from 1977-2001.  It was a 30 min magazine show about cars and motor transport.  The presenters included Noel Edmunds, Angela Rippon, Jeremy Clarkson, Tiff Needell, William Woollard, Michelle Newman, Chris Goffey, Vicki Butler-Henderson, Jason Barlow, Tony Mason and Quentin Willson.

When production of Top Gear moved to London in 2002 some of the Birmingham production team, and presenters (Vicki Butler-Henderson, Adrian Simpson, Tiff Needell) moved to Fifth Gear on Channel 5.

Thanks to Gail Herbert, who was a production assistant on Top Gear for making her photos available.  The photos date from around 1990 and include shots of presenters William Woollard and Tiff Needell, producer Ken Pollock, directors Dennis Jarvis and David Wheeler, cameraman John Williams, sound men Tony Wass and Alex Christison, and production assistants Gail Herbert and Sophie Marsh.

David Wheeler, who is featured in these photos, sitting on a donkey, makes the following comment:

Tony Mason thought it would be amusing to do a PTC from a “4×4” for use on the sand at Weston-Super-Mere. But when I called his bluff he requested that I test drive the thoroughbred before he risked his rally-bred bottom on the beast! After some reassurance he delivered the PTC… ending: “… but I don’t think Nellie here is quite up to it, so I’ll have to find some better transport”. I seem to remember tracking from an open land rover and editing the piece to Echo Beach (Martha and the Muffins) which has a great intro and fab sax solo! Great memories.. enhanced by my trip home in the Astra 2litre, 16valve GTE… “space rocket” as I recall Gail called it!

Gail test driving a Porsche