Jason Barlow

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Jason Barlow
Jason Barlow.jpgBarlow in 2001.
Full Name Jason Barlow
Nationality Flaguk.png Great Britain
Sex Male
Occupation Presenter of Driven
Presenter of Top Gear (1977 TV series)
Presenter of Wrong Car, Right Car
Editor of Car (magazine)
Writer of Top Gear Magazine (UK)
On-screen debut Driven: Series 1, Episode 1 (1998)
Final appearance WCRC: Blowout (2003)

Jason Barlow was a Northern Irish motoring journalist who presented for Top Gear from 2000 until 2002. He also won 'Spectacle Wearer of the Year' in 2001[1].

Career[edit | edit source]

Born in 1971[2] in Newtownards[3], County Down, before moving to Bangor, Jason Barlow would study law at Manchester University before obtaining a post-graduate diploma in periodical journalism from Cardiff University in 1993. Barlow would present Channel 4's Driven from its inception in 1998 until 2000[4], when he was picked up by the BBC for Top Gear, following in the footsteps of fellow former Driven alumnus James May.

On Top Gear[edit | edit source]

Barlow would make his inaugural appearance on Top Gear in September 2000 for the programme's 44th series, which had recently seen the joint departures of Quentin Willson and Kate Humble. He would go on to make 53 appearances in total, and very briefly become Top Gear's lead host from December 2001 until March 2002, presenting one episode in this capacity, the 2002 Awards Special. This happened after previous lead host Tiff Needell, along with co-hosts Vicki Butler-Henderson and Adrian Simpson all left[5] Top Gear to present Channel 5's Fifth Gear at the behest of former editor Richard Pearson. Barlow did not have this luxury, as his contract with the BBC kept him locked to the station until 2003. He would present Wrong Car, Right Car with Dominic Littlewood for two series[6] until April 2003 as the programme's "specialist". He had first been introduced to Littlewood as part of the BBC's final motor show special in October 2002, alongside Suzi Perry, which was the last in a line of programmes that had been running uninterrupted on the network for 50 years.

Termination and post-Top Gear years[edit | edit source]

Though expected to continue as Top Gear host due to his commitment to working for the BBC, Barlow's role on the show would be unexpectedly terminated by Jeremy Clarkson not long after the latter's return[7] to Top Gear in March 2002. Despite a meeting[8] at a restaurant in Notting Hill in addition to a screen-test which seemed to go well, Clarkson and Barlow did not get along well with each other, and his role on the show would be replaced by Richard Hammond. Barlow would make the decision to retire from television in 2007, after presenting a pair of car-themed documentaries for Sky One in August of 2005 and December the year prior, a role in which he was ironically also replaced by Hammond for the "series" third-installment, Greatest Ever Screen Chases[9], in December 2005. Barlow would then return to his old employers at Channel 4 to present an episode of Dispatches, as well as interviewing famed movie director David Lynch[10] following his 2007 BAFTA win.

Starting from July 2004, Barlow would be appointed[11] as editor of Car magazine, a role which he would hold[12] until 2006. After that, he would continue to work for the BBC and its associated Top Gear-themed magazine thereafter, and occasionally present videos for its website, including an interview of Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher in 2009. In August 2021, he would make an appearance[13] for RMS Motoring's "Sold As Seen" podcast, where he talked about his career. That same year, Barlow would also briefly make a return to television after a fourteen-year hiatus by appearing in three episodes of ex-colleague Vicki Butler-Henderson's second series of her Car Years TV programme as a judge.

References[edit | edit source]

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