The Getaway Car



Dermot O'Leary


BBC Entertainment for BBC One, 16 January to 3 September 2016 (12 episodes in 1 series)


Five couples test their driving skills on specially-made courses. The best couple races The Stig from Top Gear for money.

Each show features the same challenges. Hazard Highway is the first, an obstacle course where the drivers go over a high bridge, get blinded by car wash foam, and play car football. Their co-driver navigates them around a roadworks site while the driver is blindfolded.

After all five pairs have completed the course, the two slowest co-drivers are taken for a spin by Red Stig and Blue Stig, two professional drivers hidden behind coloured suits. On their flying laps, the co-drivers name things in a category, such as "countries ending in A". Worst at this task is off the road.

Blasting through your Saturday night.

Four pairs go through to Off-Road Rage, a dirt course. The driver tries to avoid hitting some polystyrene figures dotting the track. Two slowest go for another drive with Blue and Red, fewest correct answers leaves.

Three pairs remain for The Drive Thru (sic). Dermot O'Leary asks some either-or questions, illustrated by paper sheets at the end of a twisty track. The object: drive down the track and through the paper with the right answer. Slowest pair to give the wrong answer loses a life (or slowest overall, if everyone's right). Two lives for each team, so we're going to see this four or five times.

Eventually, one pair remains for The Getaway Chase. Given a headstart against a professional driver (in character as The Stig), the team attempts to complete two laps before being passed. There's money at various parts of the course, so the champs will win something, but rarely the full £10,000.

Customised cars add to the spectacle.

Dermot keeps saying how The Getaway Car is "the ultimate relationship test". We don't see this - we do see lots of people getting somewhat stressed with each other, and very little else.

Filmed on location in South Africa, it's clear the BBC wants this show to be the new Total Wipeout, sold around the world. Embedding "The Stig" - a character from Top Gear - might help to anchor the show.

An entertaining programme, but with flaws. The quiz laps are less spectacular than the driving challenges, and the Drive Thru round is particularly out of place. We are assured a spectacular finish, and champions who have earned their reward.

Success for the Blues; no comment from Stig.


Devised by Charlotte Freinberg and Ross McCarthy, and developed by Leon Wilde.

Theme music

Richard Jacques and Marc Sylvan composed a full score.


David Baddiel's brother Ivor served as the show's writer.

Nominated for the Rose d'Or as Best Game Show, but beaten by Pick Me!.

The show's viewing figures were not good. A decent 4.1m (overnights; 4.5m consolidated over a week) fell to 3.6m the following two episodes. A two-week break for Six Nations rugby interrupted any momentum the show had, and it didn't return after the fifth episode on 5 March. The remaining episodes were burned off from 2 July to 3 September, around the Olympics.

Web links

BBC programme page

Wikipedia entry

See also

Weaver's Week review

Stars in Fast Cars, another Top Gear spinoff.


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