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by George Skentzos

SBS has today officially announced that Top Gear Australia host Charlie Cox would be leaving the show due to other media commitments.

He will be replaced by long-time CarAdvice favourite and jazz musician James Morrison, best known for his previous role in Behind the Wheel executive produced by our very own Anthony Crawford.

Cox has said that it was a difficult decision to leave the show, however his role as director of local and British companies as well as a broadcaster for the BBC have left little time for Top Gear.

“My time on Top Gear Australia was very special and it was a fantastic opportunity to be part of launching an extraordinary series. It seems best to leave the show and I wish James all the best in joining the two best blokes in Australian television – Warren Brown and Steve Pizzati,” Cox said.

Morrison is more than qualified for his new role, having headlined the 1994 show Behind the Wheel which was the first motoring show in the world that could be called entertainment – five years ahead of the UK series Top Gear.

His presence will no doubt transform the controversial Australian version, adding some much needed enthusiasm and originality.

The original Behind the Wheel series was a huge success, launching with an audience of 2.1 million viewers and running for 18 episodes.

Anthony Crawford had this to say about the enigmatic trumpeter on his role in the original car program.

“James was brilliant. One take every time and he knew how to entertain the television audience. He is a passionate car nut and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of anything with either four or two wheels.

I just hope that they call in producer Tim Kupsch and camerman Andy Wallace, who contributed hugely to the series”

For a taste of what’s to come, why not take a look at the original 1994 pilot episode with James Morrison, Dick Johnson, Kevin Bartlett and Monica Trapaga – exclusive to CarAdvice.

  • Cupid Stunt

    So the second series is definitely confirmed. Seems a lot of folk didn’t take to Coxie and wanted him out. Next to go should be the weasel Pizzati, he’s too nurdy for the show. He seemed the sort of bloke who could tell you what tyres you’re running from 100 meters away.
    It’ll be interesting to see what SBS come up with next season.

  • http://navelcontemplation.blogspot.com/ SuperCujo

    Cox, you are the weakest link. Goodbye.

    I wonder what happens to James’ Power Lap time? Does it still count?

  • Aleks

    Thank god that guy left, he use to boil my blood I just couldn’t watch him, he was so annoying and such a try hard.

  • Martin

    I agree with Cupid Stunt.

  • BJ

    Good riddance!

  • Tom

    They listened to what fans had to say, and this it the outcome.

  • Frontman

    It is refreshing to see that the producers have actually listened to the audience. This move will actually make the second series more appealing.

  • acfsambo

    At least they put someone with real world experience with cars (not saying current and previous hosts don’t) rather than a celebrity to boost rating for a season.

  • Reckless1

    Bring back Monica, add Dieter Karsnitz, and ditch the other 2 awful wankers.

    Then we’ll be rockin!

  • Wheelnut

    Charlie Cox can’t host the show due to media commitments.. what media comitments..? Surely after seeing how much of a Tool Cox is no-one else would be game enough to hire him – not even as a host of the weekly Lotto draw as he would most likely make a balls up of that as well.

    Cox said it was ha hard decision to make to leave the show.. i don’t think it would have been that hard not after he had just been pushed off the cliff.

    No matter; I think James will be a definite improvement to the show [they can’t get much worse] as he has competed in several celebrity challenges at the Australian F1.. and as he said on the show has had quite a number of impressive cars.

    His Lap should count as Clarksons lap is on the TGUK board

    Pizza-boy should be the next to go they could replace him with Grant Denyer or even Mark Skaife

  • Wheelnut

    The second season is confirmed. However; given the reported damage they did to a range of cars in the first season [$30K damage to a Lamborghini] it will be interesting to see if they have any cars for comparisons etc.

  • Simon

    Finally a reason to watch TG Australia. James Morrison knows cars, is intelligent and obviously talented to boot!

  • wenthworth

    Yes please axe steve too!!!!!!!!!!
    Warren is Ok though, if steve left I would watch my 2nd episode.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au/19950/james-morrison-to-lead-top-gear-australia/ Bucce

    Wow could it get any worse?

  • Falcodore

    Its a shame Charlie didnt work out as he is a very talented race car driver but in saying that, JM is also talented and a car nut so hopefully he will work out well.
    As for replacing Steve, it would need to be someone who has racing or a lot of driving experience cause they need to have a professional driver on the show
    Actually, when Warren was geeing up the croud to say boo all the time that really annoyed me but otherwise i think hes preety good. Dont really have a problem with Steve either TBH.

  • Alex

    Well, apart from anything, at least it will make people tune into the second series if they spread the word. I still hate the other two though, anybody else get sick of Steve Pizzati saying “in the poop”? And I cant stand the other guys voice, and the fact that he has a cartoon to show people every now and then.

  • Peter

    I remember watching some of ‘Behind the Wheel’ as a kid. Looking forward to this!

  • Fasthonda

    I can’t stand Pizzati!aka the rat boy,seeing him reviewing the Nissan GTR would’ve been enough for me to throw something at him.If he was ever involved in a road rage incident I believe even the “little old lady” would take a swing at him!
    The show needs a woman.Surely there are Australian women involved in racing or have a strong interest in cars that could contribute to the show?As long as there’re not influenced by the “pretty door handles” and such,it would be a refreshing change to the show.
    And….the woman doesn’t have to be a super model but reasonably attractive….it could help with the male audience:)

  • Devil’s Advocate

    I think he may be just what the doctor ordered. He seems very comfortable and natural in the “behind the wheel” footage. Will be interesting to see, as long as he doesn’t start waving his arms around!!!! On a side note, I think the Stig in the photo with him is a double and not the one for the first series. The one driving the ‘hot laps’ looked to be a bit more generous in girth!!!

  • Wheelnut

    Quote [Alex]: “..at least it will make people tune into the second series”

    Ha ha People will TUNE in to see James Morrison – Nice one Alex.. he’s a musician.. very gunny

    I like your sense of humour – First telling us that Alfa Romeos and the Maserati Quattroporte Sedan are good looking cars and now this.

  • Alex

    Wheelnut, most people think that Alfa Romeos are beautiful cars, so actually, you’re obviously the one making jokes, although following previous suit, they’re not funny. You seem to have something against Italian cars. The Maserati Quattroporte is a good looking car and that too is widely acknowledged. Go read some reviews for it and you’ll see how many people think it’s beautiful. Maybe you’re wrong? Many people on this website think you’re wrong quite often. Shocking thought for you I’m sure.

    You are right though about one thing, in my previous comment, “will” was too stronger word. I should have said might. The reason why I said people might tune in if there’s a new name is because it will change the whole show. Yes, he may be a musician but he’s not there to talk about music is he? He must know a reasonable amount about cars to be selected. I don’t really remember hearing James May’s name in the UK before he was on Top gear and people responded well to him. Maybe Charlie was just Australia’s Jason Dawe (the boring fat guy that was in the first series of TG UK) and the show will go well from here. Only time will tell.

  • Alex

    Oh, Wheelnut, just to hopefully further ruin your credibility with other commenters and also prove a problem with Italian cars, you wrote the other week about the Maserati GranTurismo,
    Quote “Further proof that Aston Martin still make the S-E-X-iest performance coupes in the world.
    As it appears everyone is copying them in some form or an other particularly in relation to the grille taillights headlights etc… this is obviously Maseratis half a–ed attempt… Close but no cigar!”

    I agree that Aston Martin’s are incredibly beautiful, but the Maserati GranTurismo doesn’t look a thing a think like an Aston Martin, unless you’re taking of the general shape, “Coupe” I believe it’s called. Apart from your comment being quite misguided, it also proves that you do not have a good eye from a design point of view and if you’re going to be commenting on the looks of a car, you do kind of need one.

  • pious

    when I wished for a presenter with big tits, Morrison wasnt exactly who I had in mind…

  • http://. Naughtyius Maximus

    LMAO…………..your last comment wreaks of Mr Bean. Give up! Iam on Nutters side. Who cares he comments on a car and relevance is it that he needs to own a car to comment on its design…..mega simple basic wallie!

  • MisterTwo

    Behind the Wheel five years before TGUK? Oz seems to forget that Top Gear has been around since the 1970’s. It has only been around in the current format since 1999, and Jeremy Clarkson has been on it since the mid nineties.

  • Simon

    I might be in the minority here but if a host had to go then Cox is the last one I would have tipped.

    It’s Warren and his bad jokes that really need to go.

    However since I did’nt really like the first series much at all any change might help.

  • Myke

    ^I agree with you Simon, I didn’t mind Charlie, he knew what he was talking about. Warren was consistently getting facts wrong and I don’t think he knew enough about cars, to be on a car program.

  • Wheelnut

    Quote [Pious]: “when I wished for a presenter with big tits, Morrison wasnt exactly who I had in mind.”

    I think that Warren Brown and Steve Pizzati are Boobs… Charlie is just a Cox!

  • BarryScott

    I’m with fasthonda.The show needs a woman. My wife thinks a chick called Juliet Potter who has a website for women and cars would be good. I’d be happy with that too.

  • MisterTwo

    Top Gear used to have Vicki Butler-Henderson (now on Fifth Gear) who was a rally driver and there was a UK Channel Four show called Driven who also had a female rally driver. Certainly a good idea, I just can’t think of any Aussie female tv presenters I would want to see on there. They are all silly melodramatic bints.


    Guys and Girls, We are lucky to have a version of Top Gear,thanks to the BBC, SBS and Freehand.
    Let us not deviate from that, whoever hosts the show doesn’t matter because we have the show, for awhile anyway.
    Charlie Cox, whilst having an ego, and why wouldn’t you driving Porche’s all day, did a good job in an envoiroment that he was not used to, same with Warren and Steve.they are people just like you and I.
    It takes time to adapt to television, when you have not had experience in it before. The producers have decided, that feedback from the viewers called for a change. Good on them. Before we crucify anybody, look at the show that we have, it’s a bonus, and I for one, am rapt that we have an informative motoring show, that by the way, is entertaining.
    Bring on James, as a talanted and humerous car nut. We are all different and the way we express ourselves is what makes us Australins. Good luck to all the presenters as I know we all want the show.

  • Fantomas

    I like this James Morrison = http://www.discoogle.com/wiki/Morrison%2C_James
    have a nice day

  • Zorro

    Thank goodness Charlie Cox is gone. He was painful, grating, out of his depth and not at all suited to the role. Even though he made the show almost unbearable to watch I hung there as I do agree with EELES that we are lucky to have TGAUS and should support it always. Bring on Season 2 and James, it’ll be a huge improvement.

  • Phill

    Eric Bana would be perfect for this show

  • Halo

    Excellent spin-doctoring from Cox, SBS and their PR hacks.

    He was pushed, people. Sheeesssh!

    Bring on James Morrison. Yay!