Top Gear heads to Australia

BBC's popular motoring show to be screened Down Under from next year.
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The BBC has signed its first international licensing deal for Top Gear, which will see Australia get its own version of the popular show.

State-owned SBS will screen the programme from next year with a planned eight episodes. The hunt is now on for presenters to host the Australian version.

The UK version of Top Gear will continue to be screened in the territory. SBS has signed a new deal for the lifetime of the programme, which has aired on the channel since 2005 and is its highest rating non-sport show.

"In making it, we won't simply replicate the UK series with an Australian version of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond or James May," said Matt Campbell, SBS director of content. "SBS plans to make a programme that is uniquely and quintessentially Australian."

The production will be the first by Sydney-based Freehand Productions since BBC Worldwide bought a minority stake in January.

According to The Guardian Online, BBC Worldwide is actively seeking to spin off international versions of drama, comedy and entertainment programmes. It has already successfully down it with Strictly Come Dancing, known as Dancing with the Stars in the US.

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