Top Gear Italy to launch next year

Good news for Italian car fans. An Italian version of the BBC car show Top Gear is set to hit TV screens in Italy from March 2016.

Top Gear Italy to launch next year
Top Gear Italy presenter, Joe Bastianich. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America/AFP

The Italian version of the show, called Top Gear Italia, will be produced by Sky Italia and will be broadcast on the pay TV channel, Sky Uno.

The show will be presented by Italian motoring journalist Guido Meda, alongside the Italian-American restaurant entrepreneur and car enthusiast, Joe Bastianich.

Bastianich is already a well known face on Italian TV screens, being a presenter on both the Italian and American versions of popular cooking show, Masterchef.

Top Gear is currently broadcast in 212 territories around the world, but Italy will become only the sixth country to make its own version of the show following France, China, South Korea, Russia and Australia.

Top Gear is one of the most profitable shows produced by the BBC, and earns around €€70 million a year for BBC Worldwide, the main commercial arm of the BBC.

Both the original BBC version of the show and the magazine are already highly popular in Italy.

The executive vice-president of western Europe for BBC Worldwide, Tobi di Graaff, said that he hoped the new Italian show could build on that success.

““Adding a local version to the mix in a country steeped in motoring history will be great for Italian audiences,”” he told The Guardian.

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Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?