Motoring TV guru Richard Porter is getting ready to be called a bastard again as The Car Years returns to our screens.
The former Top Gear and Grand Tour writer and script editor will be one of the eight expert judges involved with the popular ITV4 show when its second series starts on Monday July 12th at 8pm.
Three appear on each of the eight episodes which feature a classic motoring year with presenters Vicki Butler-Henderson and Alex Riley each picking a car they think is worthy of being crowned the best. The all-important decision of which car wins comes down to the trio of judges on that show.
“I’m old friends with plenty of people involved but I’ve never talked about the show with anyone because I don’t want to feel like my vote has been influenced,” said the 46-year-old.
“There was one show in the first series where I was a judge and Alex called me a bastard afterwards because I voted against him. He was like: ‘Aaah mate, I thought you’d be on my side for that one’ and I had to go ‘I’m really sorry Alex, it was a hard decision’. It could get a bit awkward but it’s all been kept quite civil.
“They don’t bend our ear as I think they know I and the other judges generally try and play it with a straight bat. In terms of competitiveness, Alex and Vicki are both in it to win it – there’s no question about that, hence Alex calling me a rude word when I voted for Vicki’s choice in one show. I’m sure there’ll be a bit of friendly chatter again.
“Vicki is extremely competitive, she’s a racing driver, it’s in her blood and she’s programmed to win. In a polite way, it’s very competitive. They can be as persuasive as they like but as a card-carrying car nerd who makes a living writing about cars I’m concentrating on the cars, not on ‘well Alex owes me £10 so I’m not giving him the vote this week’. It’s never personal.”
The Sniff and Smith Podcast co-host is a judge on episodes that cover the years 1962, 1975, 1986 and 1978 – the focus of Monday’s show.
He is a judge alongside journalist and broadcaster Jason Barlow as well as Auto Trader editor Erin Baker for the show which features a Mazda RX7 and Porsche 928.
“It’s a beautifully simple idea,” Richard also said in a wide-ranging interview with programme sponsor Adrian Flux where he also talked about his experiences of working with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.
“It’s ingeniously simple to the point that when Jim (Wiseman, producer) told me about it I said: ‘Has that not been done before? It feels like it should have been as it’s a damn good idea’. It’s a talking point, it creates debate in person and probably more so online and it’s got that simplicity of a one-on-one rivalry, there’s nothing better.
“Within it it’s got the layers of information, with the advocacy comes the dispensing of information and trivia – stuff we used to call on Top Gear ‘pub trivia’. Things that you’d hear on the tv and we hoped that the next time you were at the pub with your friends you’d go: ‘You’ll never guess what, did you know…?’ There’s a good smattering of that in The Car Years.
“It looks spectacular as well because they shot it in Northern Ireland on some incredible roads around the coast. It’s going to look really dramatic and the cars will get your heart fluttering if you’re of a certain age. To see them then going along some absolutely gorgeous empty roads is a treat in itself.”
Photo Credits: WISER FILMS