On tonight’s Top Gear on BBC2, Jeremy Clarkson compared driving a certain car to sitting in a bucket of wallpaper paste while reading a Jane Austen novel. The implication being that Jane Austen is boring. Well, I’m sorry to have to break it to you, Mr Clarkson, but Jane Austen’s novels will be read and enjoyed long after your puerile effusions have been pulped.
Then I got to thinking, what would happen if we transported the Top Gear team into the fictional setting of Jane Austen’s novels? Which characters would they be?
For my money, Jeremy Clarkson would be John Thorpe, the loudmouth buck in Northanger Abbey who drives too recklessly and is only interested in fast horses, carriages and women. Richard Hammond might be Mr Parker from Sanditon , the lovable enthusiast for all things new, who dashes about the countryside.
James May is more tricky. ‘Captain Slow’ has more wit and charm than Mr Clarkson. Perhaps a younger version of him could be Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey…