Ethiopia Shines as Highlight of The New Series for BBC’s Top Gear Team
Top Gear executive producers and new presenters Paddy McGuinness and Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff revealed that filming in Ethiopia was the “highlight” of making the latest series. Ethiopian Airlines flew the whole team out to Gondar in April to film their first adventure together which showcased Ethiopia’s beauty to an audience of 2.5 million viewers on Sunday night.
After flying into Addis Ababa and connecting onto Gondar with Ethiopian Airlines, the Top Gear team set out to travel a staggering 500kms across some of Ethiopia’s most spectacular scenery. Starting in Gondar, their journey took them through the stunning Simien Mountains and across desert plains to the finishing point at the Danakil depression the hottest and most inhospitable place on earth.
The shows presenters were blown away by the “beautiful country” which provided a stunning backdrop for filming the team who were driving cars like the ones they first owned. In an interview, Paddy McGuinness described Ethiopia’s scenery as “unbelievable” and went on to say “The roads are a pleasure to drive on, the views are beautiful, and the locals are fantastic. It’s a stunning country.”
Fellow new presenter Freddie Flintoff was equally impressed saying “We went to Ethiopia, and that was amazing. I’ve been to quite a lot of parts of Africa, but nothing prepared me for how beautiful Ethiopia is. Unbelievable place. It’s absolutely stunning.”
Executive Producer Alex Renton described filming in Ethiopia as a “big highlight” for him. “Having worked on the show for the last 14 years, I am lucky to say that I have seen much of the world and Ethiopia was a true eye opener.” Clare Pizey, another Executive Producer for the show said, “Ethiopia was a standout film this season.”
Famed for crazy stunts and competition among presenters, the producers asked Ethiopian Airlines to arrange the temporary closure of Shire Airport in the Tigray region to shoot a stunt which saw the presenters drive their cars blindfolded down the runway. Ethiopian Airlines UK Country Manager, Michael Yohannes said “It was a pleasure to work with the BBC Top Gear team and I am delighted that they chose Ethiopia as a place to shoot their first film of the new series. We knew the team would love Ethiopia, it has historic natural wonders and very hospitable people. The mountains and huge vistas provide the perfect scenery for the show.”
This is the second BBC program to showcase the wonders of Ethiopia this month, after The Travel Show produced two special films following Tony Giles, an independent blind backpacker, as he explores the length of the country.
Ethiopia’s tourism and travel sector are on the rise. The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual review, in 2018 saw Ethiopia have the highest tourism growth in the world (48.6%), over ten times the global growth rate of 3.9%. Its excellent air connectivity and wealth of cultural and historical tourist attractions is said to be driving this upward momentum.
View the program here https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m00062sq/top-gear-series-27-episode-1
View Ethiopia program clip Here