A TD HAS invited the BBC to film an episode of Top Gear on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Fine Gael’s Brendan Griffin raised the issue at a recent meeting of the Oireachtas Transport Committee.
This morning Griffin told TheJournal.ie that he had had received an acknowledgement from the BBC and was pursuing the idea with the support of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland.
“Top Gear is one of the most-viewed TV shows in the world: it’s a massive opportunity to showcase the Wild Atlantic Way.”
Griffin noted that the UK is Ireland’s biggest tourism market and an appearance on the programme could lead to a surge in visitors.
Any place I’ve ever seen on Top Gear, I’ve certainly felt the urge to go there. They always portray places as interesting. They might take a novelty approach, like driving a three-wheeler, or a tractor or a super car … The Stig could do a time trial of the Ring of Kerry.
When completed, the 2,500km route will encompass 159 different attractions along Ireland’s coast.
Sinéad Grace from Tourism Ireland said that the group have publicity teams all over the world who engage with TV and radio stations.
She noted that Top Gear was one of the shows on their “hit list”, adding she was hopeful the BBC might take them up on the offer.
TV and film are recognised as strong influencers for prospective holidaymakers, so Tourism Ireland regularly works with TV and film production companies, to facilitate the making of travel and lifestyle programmes and films in Ireland.
‘Acting the maggot’
Griffin said that he didn’t think an increased number of drivers on the route would lead to road safety issues.
“If some fella wants to act the maggot in his car he can do it down the road in Sheffield or Manchester, he doesn’t have to come to Ireland for that.”
He added that the racism controversies surrounding presenter Jeremy Clarkson shouldn’t prevent Top Gear from filming in Ireland, as the impact of the show is bigger than any one personality.
“People in the public eye, all they have to say is one word and they mightn’t mean it and it’s taken the wrong way … Obviously I don’t condone any form of racism.”