...almost as much as that surrounding Top Gear Australia’s launch. I am not going to directly compare the two but there is no denying the similarity. A UK formula, tweaked for the Australian audience, to mixed reviews.
The live event gave a great run through the pattern this high-octane show has established on it's way to becoming a television juggernaut -- with a studio audience waiting list of 19 years.
And 'show' is the pertinent word. TG Live was stuffed full of fanfare including the product placement for GPS systems and reasonably priced cars involving pyrotechnics and precision driving right from the start.
Massive screens gave the audience a great view of Clarkson, Hammond and their super toys as well as the token Australian presenter Steve Pizzati.
The Colonial ring-in was -- rightly so -- the brunt of Clarkson's jokes, and vehicular torture techniques right from the start. A fitting punishment for Top Gear Australia’s first season, perhaps.
Some of the most successful and entertaining segments of the small-screen TG are combined in the live version ... a few quite horribly, including the virtual helicopter gunship.
But some were amazingly successful, such as the Soccer In A Reasonably Priced Car. It was stunning seeing both Hammond and Pizzati manage to keep their cars generally unscathed in a match that went 6-5 to the UK team.
Putting aside the UK vs Australia rivalry jokes through the night, the performance left thefans on a high. The combination of audience interaction, showmanship and supercars made it a great night out. Better than they do it on the telly though? Not quite.