BBC Worldwide had signed a deal with Australian free-to-air network SBS to license the rights to a local version of Top Gear � the first time such a deal has been struck for the brand.
The eight part series will be produced by Freehand Productions, BBC Worldwide’s Australasian partner, for transmission in 2008.
BBC Worldwide says is has identified Top Gear as one of its top priority brands across all platforms.
Top Gear Managing Director at BBC Worldwide, Adam Waddell, said: “This is an incredible step forward for the brand in one of our most important territories. With the UK series viewed in more than 100 countries worldwide, and BBC Top Gear magazine licensed in 19 countries, our focus is very much about expanding the brand through areas such as local production and localised online content.”
As part of the deal SBS has extended its commitment to the UK version for the life of the series.
“It is very exciting for us to have done this deal with SBS”, added Julie Dowding, BBC Worldwide Australasia’s Head of Sales.
SBS Director of Content Matt Campbell said they intended to “make a program that is uniquely and quintessentially Australian” promising fans “we won’t simply replicate the UK series with an Australian version of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond or James May.”
UK Top Gear presenter, Jeremy Clarkson, commented: “I’m delighted that Top Gear is going to Australia. Maybe the first guest could be Jonny Wilkinson.”