Alanah Eriksen

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

Driving dogs heading for Top Gear slot

The BBC car show Top Gear is coming to New Zealand to film our world-famous driving dogs.

It is understood presenter Jeremy Clarkson, James May and The Stig will travel to the country during the show's trip Downunder for the Top Gear Festival on March 9 and 10 at Eastern Creek, on the outskirts of Sydney.

May let it slip in an interview this week that a segment would be filmed here, but not in Australia.

"I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but we are going to film a little bit but it's going to be in New Zealand," he told AAP.

"I can tell you the word Australia is written on a big whiteboard in the office where we jot down things we'd like to do. It's a fairly obvious one to do for a big road trip."

The SPCA said last month it had received an email from Top Gear after Porter, a 10-month-old beardie cross, and Monty, a giant schnauzer cross, got behind the wheel of a Mini Countryman and drove down an Auckland racetrack for the TV cameras.

The pair and another dog, Ginny, a year-old beardie whippet, had an eight-week driving course as part of a campaign by the SPCA to show rescued dogs were as intelligent as any other pets.

The dogs made headlines and a video of them was the most-watched on the BBC website for days.

SPCA chief executive Christine Kalin said yesterday the organisation was working with Top Gear researchers and the final details of filming were yet to be confirmed.

"We are flattered that Top Gear has recognised the efforts by all involved to show just how intelligent SPCA dogs are and we hope that even more people consider adopting one of their own as a result." The Australian branch of the BBC was not forthcoming about the segment.

"They don't reveal details of where they're filming so unfortunately I can't help you any more," said a spokeswoman.

Top Gear has visited New Zealand a handful of times. Clarkson and Hammond came for the theatre show Top Gear Live in 2009 and Clarkson and May returned for the 2010 show.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 03 Sep 2014 09:56:14 Processing Time: 462ms