MEDIA: Top Gear mag to appoint consumer editor

BBC Top Gear magazine, the 168,000-selling monthly, is to appoint

its first consumer editor.



The move, which follows the magazine's summer relaunch, heralds changes

to the BBC's long-running motoring franchise in print and on screen.



A revamp for the 22-year-old TV programme, plus two consumer-focused

spin-off shows, are also planned for 2002.



According to publisher Adam Waddell: 'The new post is in keeping with

the shift of balance on the magazine, which is focused on consumer and

car-buying issues.'



The new recruit, who BBC Worldwide hopes to appoint by January, will

report to editor Kevin Blick and will have responsibility for the Data

section of the magazine. This includes Buying, Running, Selling, a new

section featuring 'nitty-gritty' information, Waddell said.



The increased focus on car-buying is reflected in the publication of a

one-shot on 17 December, Top Gear New Car Buyers Guide. The main title,

which launched in 1993, publishes its 100th issue on 5 December.



The rest of the magazine will continue to comprise roadtests, columns,

news and lifestyle features, Waddell said.



Both of next year's spin-off TV programmes have working titles at

present and no confirmed transmission dates.



Panic Mechanics will be presented by Radio 1 DJ Trevor Nelson, while Top

Gear Car Jack is fronted by Jason Barlow and used car dealer Dominic

Littlewood.



The main programme will feature a new format and new presenters when it

returns for a series in 2002, Waddell added. All three will be produced

from BBC Birmingham at Pebble Mill.



The magazine and TV shows are conducting joint research into car buying

experiences, to produce what the BBC said will be the biggest motoring

consumer survey by spring 2002.



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