The Fifth Gear logo (since 2005)
|Directed by||Phil Hawkins
|Presented by||Tiff Needell
|Opening theme||Prize Fight by
John F Calone
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||21|
|No. of episodes||204 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Richard Pearson|
|Location(s)||Ace Cafe (Series 10–13)
Millbrook Proving Ground (Series 14–16)
Various locations (since Series 17)
|Running time||30 minutes
(Series 1-7, 17-20)
(Series 9-16, 21-)
|Production company(s)||North One|
|Original channel||Channel 5 (2002–2011)
Discovery (since 2012)
|Original run||8 April 2002 – present|
Fifth Gear is a British motoring television magazine series. Originally shown on Channel 5 from 2002 to 2011 and Discovery since 2012, the show is currently presented by Tiff Needell, Vicki Butler-Henderson, Jason Plato and Jonny Smith. Fifth Gear's rival show is BBC Two's Top Gear.
Fifth Gear was first broadcast on 8 April 2002 as 5th Gear, and as a continuation of the original incarnation of the BBC show Top Gear, which was cancelled in 2001. Top Gear was relaunched later that year; Channel 5 originally wanted to carry on using the Top Gear name, but the BBC refused. Several of Top Gear's ex-presenters, including Quentin Willson, Tiff Needell, and Vicki Butler-Henderson were hired by Channel 5 to present Fifth Gear. The show was renamed as Fifth Gear in 2005.
Show format 
The first seven series consisted of a 23 minute programme, not including approximately 7 minutes of adverts. The eighth series returned in the autumn of 2005 in a longer format of 45 minutes, and the ninth series (which went to a 13-week run) was increased to a one hour airtime slot (approximately 46 minutes excluding adverts). For series 17, the show has reverted to the original format of 23 minutes, which including adverts, takes the show to half an hour. In Series 21, the show reverted back to the previous one hour airtime slot.
At the start of series 10, the show introduced between-feature links filmed at the Ace Cafe in London. In previous series, these links were filmed at the production company offices in Birmingham. Originally produced by Chrysalis Television, the Birmingham offices were situated on the top floor of the headquarters of 100.7 Heart FM (also, at that time, a Chrysalis Radio company), near Birmingham's Five Ways area. The team moved out when Chrysalis sold their Television Division to All3Media in September 2003 (the section which currently produces Fifth Gear is now known as North One Television, part of the All3Media group).
In series 14, a location change from the Ace Cafe meant link sequences were filmed instead at the Millbrook Proving Ground, along with some of the vehicle testing features.
Presenter line-up 
- Tiff Needell (2002-)
- Vicki Butler-Henderson (2002-)
- Tom Ford (2002-2009)
- Adrian Simpson (2002-2006)
- Quentin Willson (2002-2005)
- Jason Plato (2004-)
- Jonny Smith (2006-)
- Short-lived former presenters
In 2005, the show's producer, Jon Bentley, also became a part-time presenter. Bentley later stopped being a presenter and went back to being the producer. Tim Lovejoy was hired in September 2006 for series 10. In August 2008, Tim Shaw became a presenter on the show for series 14. In October 2010, Ben Collins, formerly The Stig on BBC's Top Gear, came to Fifth Gear for series 18.
International airings 
Fifth Gear started Canadian broadcast on Discovery Channel Canada in 2008, began with 2006 series. This version ran in half-hour format.
2009 cancellation and return 
On 18 October 2009, the Mail Online reported that the show had been cancelled. Up to then there had been no official announcement or confirmation. Although, Channel 5 executives had been quoted as saying, "Five is proud of Fifth Gear's contribution to the channel but after 16 series, feels it's time to try something new."
In late December 2009, however, presenter Jonny Smith suggested via Twitter that the show could return for another series early in 2010. On 8 January 2010, Smith tweeted: "Fifth Gear IS coming back!", and in his next tweet, he said "Wow, such quick responses! Basically, we all know there's room for 2 car TV shows. FG will simply be a reviews based visual car magazine." Tiff Needell also tweeted saying "Home to the news that, after much negotiating Fifth Gear looks like it will after all be returning to your screens sometime in the Spring!" and also hinted the show will have a new format in his next tweet "Glad so many of you are delighted by the Fifth Gear news — and, yes the format will be moving away from the stupid ... but still having fun!".
On 17 January 2010, Vicki Butler-Henderson and Tiff Needell confirmed at the Autosport International Show that Fifth Gear will be returning in Spring 2010. The pair featured a car shootout in Fifth Gear style in the live arena show and said several times to the audience that the show would be back on air in Spring and to ignore the cancellation rumours.
The series started on 3 June 2010. The series ran for 10 episodes and the first one had Lewis Hamilton as a guest. On 1 October 2010, it was announced that Ben Collins (who played the original White Stig on Top Gear) would join the show as 'The Stag', a race car driver wearing a reindeer suit with antlers.
During Series 12, Episode 7, two accidents took place while on set.
- Tom Ford broke his foot and lost several toes when he crashed a modified Bedford Rascal van. Ford was recording a piece about drifting. He and co-host Jonny Smith were racing each other in a D1 Grand Prix style around a private track. After winning the event, Ford was performing a victory drift that went wrong, put his van (painted to resemble the A-Team GMC Van) up on two wheels and into a safety barrier.
- BTCC driver Jason Plato suffered multiple burns when a Caparo T1 he was driving at Bruntingthorpe proving ground burst into flames. The car, capable of 200 mph (320 km/h), burst into flames at an estimated 150 mph (240 km/h). Plato said: "There was a slight loss of power, I looked in the mirror and saw some smoke, there was a slight smell of oil and then suddenly there was this intense heat. The car spontaneously erupted into a ball of flames and I was sat in the middle of a fireball." The presenter was initially taken to Market Harborough and District Hospital by former BTCC driver Phil Bennett before being treated at Kettering General Hospital. He later received specialist burns treatment at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The incident was mentioned during Top Gear's discussion of the Caparo T1 the next year.
Both accidents happened on the same day of recording.
The Fifth Gear Awards 
Each year, the programme gives out various awards:
- Best small car – BMW 1 series
- Best family car – Ford Focus
- Best fast car – Porsche 911 Carrera S
- Car of the year – Volkswagen Golf GTI
- Best small car – Ford Fiesta ST
- Best family car – Honda Civic
- Best fast car – BMW M5
- Car of the year – Porsche Boxster
- Best small car – Mini Cooper S
- Best family car – Ford S-Max
- Best fast car – Chevrolet Corvette Z06
- Car of the year – Audi TT
- Best small car – Fiat 500
- Best family car – Ford Mondeo
- Best fast car – Audi R8
- Car of the year – Audi R8
Fifth Gear claims to be 'world renowned' for their 'infamous' shoot-outs, between similarly priced, similarly powerful cars, or, recently, cars versus bikes. These shoot outs take place at the Anglesey Circuit on the Isle of Anglesey close to Aberffraw. During the refurbishment of Anglesey, shoot-outs were switched to Castle Combe Circuit.
2002 (Series 1 and 2) 
2003 (Series 3 and 4) 
- BMW Z4 3.0i vs. Porsche Boxster
- Radical SR3 vs. Ariel Atom
- Nissan 350Z vs. Audi TT 3.2 Quattro
- BMW M3 CSL vs. BMW M3
2004 (Series 5 and 6) 
- Citroën C2 GT vs. Ford SportKa
- Ford Transit 125 T280 vs. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 213CDI
- Škoda Fabia vRS TDi vs. Mini Cooper
- Lotus Elise 111R vs. Vauxhall VX220 Turbo
2005 (Series 7 and 8) 
- Ducati 999 vs. Lamborghini Gallardo
- Honda Civic Type-R vs. Renaultsport Clio 182 Cup
- Vauxhall Monaro VXR vs. MG ZT260
- MINI Cooper S Convertible vs. Smart Brabus Roadster Coupe
- Mosler MT900S vs. Ducati 999
- Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG vs. Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG
- BMW X5 4.8is vs. Porsche Cayenne S
- Noble M400 vs. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR FQ-400
- Porsche 911 Carrera S vs. Lotus Exige 240R
- Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI GSR vs. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX FQ-320
- Westfield XTR4 vs. Suzuki GSXR1000
- Ford Fiesta ST150 vs. Mitsubishi Colt CZT
- Mazda RX-8 vs. Alfa Romeo GT 3.2 V6
- Nissan 350Z vs. Audi TT Sport Quattro 240
- Mercedes-Benz CLS55 AMG vs. Jaguar XJR
- Subaru Legacy 3.0 R spec. B Sports Tourer vs. Volvo V50 T5 SE AWD
- Lancia Delta Integrale vs. BMW M3 e30.
2006 (Series 9 and 10) 
- Mazda MX-5 vs. Mazda MX-5 mk. I
- Subaru Impreza WRX STi Type-UK vs. Subaru Forester STi
- Vauxhall Astra VXR vs. Ford Focus ST
- Mercedes-Benz A200T vs. Toyota Corolla Verso T180
- BMW M6 vs. BMW M5
- Škoda Octavia vRS vs. Volkswagen Golf GTI
- Volkswagen Golf R32 vs. BMW 130i M Sport
- Nissan Navara vs. Mitsubishi L200
- Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR FQ-360 vs. Stunt Plane
2007 (Series 11) 
- Week 5: Renaultsport Clio 197 vs. Vauxhall Corsa VXR
- Week 6: Mini Cooper vs. Suzuki Swift Sport
- Week 9: White van Megane shoot-out: Renaultsport Megane 230 F1 Team R26 vs. Ford Transit Connect X-press
- Week 10: Hire car shoot-out: Vauxhall Astra 1.6 vs. Ford Focus 1.6 Zetec
2007 (Series 12) 
- Week 1: BMW 335i vs. Audi S5
- Week 3: Honda Civic Type R (UK 198 bhp (148 kW) specification) vs. Honda Civic Type R (Japanese 222 bhp (166 kW) specification)
- Week 5: Audi TT 2.0T S-tronic vs. Audi TT 2.0T manual
- Week 7: Ford Gran Torino vs. Dodge Charger
2008 (Series 13) 
- Week 1: Lotus Exige S 240 vs. Caterham CSR 260 Superlight
- Week 2: Renaultsport Clio 197 vs. Rage Buggy R180RT
- Week 3: Vauxhall VXR8 vs. Lotus Carlton
- Week 4: VW Transporter Sportline vs. Mercedes-Benz Vito X
- Week 5: Fiat Panda 100HP vs. Renault Twingo GT
- Week 6: Mini One vs. Fiat 500 1.4
- Week 7: Ford Fiesta ST vs. Vauxhall Corsa SRi
- Week 8: Porsche Cayenne GTS vs. BMW X5 4.8i
- Week 9: Volkswagen GTI vs. Subaru Impreza WRX
- Week 10: Ford Escort RS Cosworth vs. Ford Focus RS
2009 (Series 14) 
- Week 1:Mitsubishi Evo X FQ300 vs Subaru Impreza WRX STi
- Week 2: Mazda RX-8 vs Nissan 350Z
- Week 3: Volkswagen Passat R36 vs Audi A4 3.0 TDI
- Week 4: Honda Civic Mugen RR vs Honda S2000
- Week 5: Vauxhall Astra Nurburgring vs Ford Focus ST
2010 (Series 17) 
- Week 1: Ford Focus RS vs Renault Mégane Renault Sport vs VW Scirocco R
- Week 3: Citroën DS3 DSport vs. Alfa Romeo MiTo Cloverleaf
- Week 4: Nissan 370Z Roadster vs. BMW Z4
- Week 6: Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG (525 hp) vs. Audi RS6
- Week 8: Peugeot RCZ vs. Volkswagen Scirocco
- Week 9: Volkswagen Golf R vs. SEAT León Cupra R
2010 (Series 18) 
- Week 1: BMW M3 vs. Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
- Week 2: Porsche Cayman vs. Lotus Evora
- Week 4: BMW 320d vs. Alpina D3 BiTurbo
- Week 6: Audi S4 vs. Vauxhall Insignia VXR
- Week 9: Honda CR-Z vs. Citroen DS3 HDi
2011 (Series 19) 
- Week 1: BMW 535d M Sport vs. Jaguar XF diesel S
- Week 2: Aston Martin Virage BMW M3 GTS Citroen DS3 Tiff tries to break a record in a 911. Jason reviews a Saab 9-5.
- Week 3: Ferrari FF BMW 535D M-Sport Jaguar XF D S Nissan Micra Jason goes drag racing in Abu Dhabi.
- Week 4: Nissan GTR vs. Porsche 911 Turbo S
- Week 5: Porsche 911 Carrera vs. Lotus Evora S
- Week 6: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Lexus CT200h Tiff and Jasion race in hovercraft.
- Week 7: BMW 1 M Ford Focus Titanium Jaguar E-Type Allard J2X
- Week 8: McLaren MP4-12C vs. Ferrari 458 Italia
- Week 9: Lamborghini Gallardo Performante VW Phaeton Porsche Cayman R
- Week 10: BMW M3 GTS Porsche 911 GT3 RS Piaggio MP3 yourban (three wheeled scooter) Highlights from the last 10 years.
2011 (Series 20) 
- Week 1: The presenters conduct a 120 mph (190 km/h) crash test. They also compare two of the most powerful Jaguars ever made. They also take a look at the Range Rover Evoque.
- Week 2: Tiff chats to British rally legend Mark Higgins. The presenters take a look at a new Mercedes convertible. Vicki races a new Ford Mustang around Le Mans. Jonny begins a journey of a lifetime in a very unlikely car.
- Week 3: Tiff test drives the Lamborghini's new Aventador hypercar. Vicki makes her way through Italy's snowy mountain roads in Mini's brand new Coupe. Jonny finds out about car culture's biggest phenomenon, vehicle wrapping.
- Week 4: Vicki nakes her way to Italy to drive a new convertible version of the Ferrari 458. Tiff takes part in a shootout between two ultra-powerful coupes. The team test drive the most economical car available.
- Week 5: Tiff takes a look at the last ever Porsche 911. Vicki travels to Portugal where she takes on the role of a beach lifeguard in a brand new VW pick-up truck. Jonny attempts to make Renault's battery powered car go as far as possible on one charge.
- Week 6: Jonny finds the best driving road in the world. Vicki takes the new VW Amarok pick-up for a test drive on a beach in Portugal. The driving skills of Roy Keane are tested by Tiff at the Nurburgring. The presenters take a look at the new Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet.
- Week 7: Tiff takes a drive through France's Champagne region in Aston Martin's newest convertible. Vicki is the umpire in a race between two England cricket stars. Jonny takes a look at two off-road bargains to help see us through the winter.
- Week 8: The presenters get the chance to drive the latest version of the Jeep. Cricket legend Jimmy Anderson is put through his paces around the gruelling Nurburgring race track by Tiff.
- Week 9: Vicki drives through the Pyrenees in the new BMW M5. Jonny travels to Barcelona to take a look at the SEAT's new city car. Tiff is joined by rally ace Mark Higgins to test drive Renault's new hatchback.
- Week 10: Jonny takes a look at some exciting cars at the LA motorshow. Ian Botham is taught how to drive around the legendary Nurburgring racing track. Vicki learns some evasive driving techniques from the police who chauffeur the Royal Family.
2012 (Series 21) 
- Week 1: Tiff tested the Porsche 911 carrera S. Jonny gets a high speed truck rally driving lesson and the team also test a Volkswagen Beetle. Jason invite Suzi Perry to test, if you tweak ECU, change tires etc have better time. Vicky is on a mission to refill during driving.
- Week 2: Track tested convertible Mercedes SLS AMG against Aston Martin, Jaguar and Bentley. Johnny goes to Sweden to drive new Audi A1 quattro with Stig Blomqvist.
- Week 3: Vicki tests the Dynamic Performance Management sysytem in the Lotus Exige S against Ex Lotus F1 driver Karun Chandhok. Tiff conducts an investigation into the advantages of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Jonny recommends some used cars with ESC fitted as standard. Team test of the Suzuki Swift Sport. Jonny tests sat-navs at three price levels. Vicki attends the Monaco Motor Show and drives the Fisker Karma on the grand-prix track as well as a Hunton XRS 43 powerboat.
- Week 4: Tiff Needell takes to the Italian F1 circuit in the hope of qualifying for the Lamborghini Series, and the team reports whether different types of petrol affect a car's performance
- Week 5: Team test: Mini Cooper convertible. Tiff tries drifting with new Bentley Continental GT. Vicky goes to Gordon Murray home to see his history of designing. And present his first electric car T27. Jason goes to Iceland to drive formula offroad with 2009 champion Hafsteinn Thorvaldsson aka Haf. Jonny learn how to wash Rolls-Royce Ghost EWB.
- Week 6: Tiff Needell celebrates the Ferrari F40's 25th birthday, Jason Plato pits the Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series against its BMW rival and Vicki Butler-Henderson drives a new Land Rover.
- Week 7: Jonny Smith takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Isle of Man TT motorbike race with John McGuinness, and the Subaru BRZ sports car is tested around the circuit
- Week 8: Jonny Smith examines the new Ferrari California, while Vicki Butler-Henderson explores the world of motorbike speedway in Denmark
- Week 9: Jonny Smith heads to Sweden for an American car show, Tiff Needell tests the KTM X-Bow R trackday car, and Jason Plato explores affordable ways to upgrade a car stereo
2013 (Series 22) 
- Week 1: Vicky in new Porsche Boxter S against a Jet plane, Tiff tested the difference between used and new tires. Jonny goes to Trollstigen to test Ford Focus ST. Jason tests Audi S8.
Team Test 
In Series 19, a new segment was introduced, called the Team Test. This is where Tiff, Jason, Jonny and Vicki all do a group test on an important new car. They all score the car out of 10, and add it together to get the score for the car.
- BMW X3 F25 – 29/40
- Nissan Micra K13 – 13/40
- Peugeot 508 – 27.5/40
- Audi A7 Sportback – 31.5/40
- Lexus CT200h – 23/40
- Ford Focus Mk.3 – 32/40
- Mercedes-Benz CLS350 CDI – 34.5/40
- Volkswagen Phaeton – 18/40
Series 20 (Without Jason Plato)
- Range Rover Evoque - 27.5/30
- Mercedes SLK - 16/30
- Porsche Panamera Diesel - 11/30
- Kia Rio(1.1 l 3 cylinder diesel) – 12/30
- Hyundai i40 Tourer - 14/30
- BMW 1 Series - 22/30
- Volkswagen Golf 6 Cabriolet - 24/30
- Jeep Grand Cherokee - 21/30
- Volkswagen Beetle 2012 – 23,5/40
- Kia Optima (diesel) – 26,6/40
- Suzuki Swift Sport – 33/40
- Fiat Panda 2012 – 24/40
- Mini Roadster – 17/40
- Vauxhall Ampera - 31.5/40
- Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost – 32/40
- Peugeot 208 - 27/40
- Vauxhall Astra VXR - 30.5/40
- Lexus GS 450h - 30/40
- Chrysler 300C - 11/40
- Volvo V40 - 31/40
- BMW Active Hybrid 5 - 25.5/40
- Audi S7 - 31/40
- Hyundai i30 - 25/40
- BMW 3 Series (F30) 320d Efficient Dynamics - 34/40
See also 
- Timms, Dominic (15 November 2001). "Top Gear drives over to C5". Broadcast (Emap Media).
- "Top Gear team switch lanes". BBC News Online. 15 November 2001.
- Gallagher, William (9 April 2002). "Top Gear finds a new home". BBC News Online.
- Sweney, Mark (10-01-2010). "'The Stig' joins Channel 5's Fifth Gear". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
- Goslett, Miles (18 October 2009). "Vicki's career stalls as Five's Fifth Gear is driven off television". Mail Online (Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 7 January 2010. "Fifth Gear host Vicki Butler-Henderson has been forced into the pits, with TV bosses confirming the show [Fifth Gear] has been axed."
- AUSmotive.com "Fifth Gear cancelled — CONFIRMED". AUSmotive.com. 19 October 2009.
- "Fifth Gear looks set for 2010 comeback". AUSmotive.com. 29 December 2009.
- "Breaking news: Fifth Gear is coming back". AUSmotive.com. 8 January 2010.
- "Fifth Gear: Web TV — Behind the Scenes at Autosport International". youtube.com/fifthgear. 26 January 2010.
- Fifth Gear: Behind the scenes Accessed 28 May 2008
- Fifth Gear star Tom Ford hurt in crash Autotrader.co.uk News — Accessed 10 October 2007
- Plato injured as Caparo T1 bursts into flames Crash.net News — Accessed 10 October 2007