Discovery Channel lift the lid on their ambitions for Fifth Gear TV

When Discovery poached Channel 5’s flagship series Fifth Gear back in January, it was part of a big push to increase the channel’s investment in the UK, with the promise of “terrestrial-sized” budgets for original programme commissions.

But what does this mean?

Well for a start the promo ads are a whole heap sexier. Discovery has teamed up with London-based visual effects and post production agency, Smoke & Mirrors and Creative Director Ceri Payne, to create the show reel that will hopefully draw the punters in.

The 30-second spot, called ‘JUMP’, features Vicki and Jonny performing a surreal jump in an Audi R8 towards a huge concrete discovery ‘D’ suspended in the middle of a warehouse, while Tiff and Jason watch from below.

Discovery Channel – Fifth Gear Pre-Vis from Smoke & Mirrors

The slowed-down reaction shots of the cast are reminiscent of a scene from the film, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and capture the inherent sense of adventure and play of the close-knitted team.

The scene was filmed on a green screen stage, after the team had pre-vised the jump to get an idea of camera heights and angles.

Everything else about the scene, apart from the interior of the R8, was created using computer graphics (CG) during post-production.

It’s a measure of Discovery’s ambitions for the show that they’ve gone to such lengths in its promotion. What do you think? Has it whetted your appetite for the new series?

The Show

North One Television will continue to produce Fifth Gear, with All3Media (which owns North One) managing the show’s pay-TV rights after nearly 10 years of being available as a free-to-air programme.

The show’s popular team of presenters remain intact in the move to Discovery, including Tiff Needell (@tiff_tv), Jason Plato (@jasonplato), Jonny Smith (@Carpervert) and Vicki Butler-Henderson.

But the content gets a big push to reflect its wider reach, with more on-location trips – coverage of rallying in the Nordics, Formula 1 in Italy and Germany, driving Dakar race trucks in the Netherlands, alongside greater exposure for local faces, such as in Episode 2 where Jonny joins local rally legend Stig Blomqvist on a frozen lake in Sweden, riding shotgun in an Audi A1 Quattro.

Two 9 x 60-minute series have initially been ordered, while Discovery has also acquired past series of the show from Channel 5.

With its move to Discovery Channel, Fifth Gear aims to become a global experience for viewers and fans, which is likely to include live events, shareable digital content and merchandise.

Series 21 of Fifth Gear begins on the Discovery HD channel at 8pm, Monday 3rd September, but if you really can’t wait that long there are a selection of 60-second clips from the news series available on Discovery’s website.

Images: DCL, Smoke & Mirrors