Love it or hate it, there is no question that the BBC Top Gear programme is the most popular motoring show to have been broadcast to a world audience since TV commenced. And

Richard Hammond 'The Hamster' and Jeremy Clarkson- MPH Top Gear Show
despite complaints, outrage and the senseless wrecking of dozens of cars on a weekly basis, the show, which premiered in October 2002, remains as popular as ever.

DSTV viewers are able to partake in the irreverence of the mad cap presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard (The Hamster) Hammond and James May " and, of course, the as-yet unidentified master driver known as "The Stig". Far more than just a show to review new cars, Top Gear is essential viewing. Not just for petrol heads, it also has a huge following among people with little or no interest in cars - both male and female. This is due to the show's irreverent approach to motoring and the humour and priceless chemistry between the show's presenters.

Both Clarkson and Hammond were in Johannesburg recently to host the MPH show featuring Top Gear Live at the Coca Cola Dome. This new show, which took place from 29 January to 1 February, wowed motoring fans across South Africa. When hosted in London, Birmingham and Dublin, the show was sold out within hours of opening.

Clarkson and Hammond, joined by well known 5fm DJ and motoring enthusiast Sasha Martinengo, plus members of the Top Gear production team, brought to life elements of the TV show as a live motoring theatre experience lasting a breathtaking hour and a half. The drama of theatre and film were incorporated with the thrills and spills of stunts and special effects, taking both cars and drivers to their limit.

Every visitor to the Johannesburg show got a chance to set a time around the Top Gear test track, live in the arena. With commentary from Clarkson and the support of 5 000 fellow audience members, each performance was measured to see how far up the virtual Top Gear Live lap board the audience could get.

Could Johannesburg keep its best time above London? You bet it could!!

In Focus was present at a press conference prior to the show and a somewhat dishevelled Clarkson and Hammond answered questions from members of the press, handing out their normal irreverent responses. It soon became apparent that no questions were to be taken seriously and the discourse was definitely X rated!

For example, in response to the question "With the reduction of budget which has been reported are you still going to be able to launch a Reliant Robin (a small British car) into space?" Hammond's answer: "Yes, we gave that a go, we didn't spend a lot of money on it but we thought it would work. It only cost about a Pound to do, but unfortunately it exploded into a billion pieces!"

When asked "Are you looking forward to your time in South Africa", Clarkson quipped: "I am looking forward to getting more bracelets, but no I am not being silly and I am not going to say this in Australia but I genuinely enjoy it here in Johannesburg. We wouldn't be back for a third year if I didn't. We really have a lot of fun."

The team left for Australia after their South African leg. Good luck to them down under and may Top Gear continue to thrill and entertain its vast audience.

The final verdict? Johannesburg is Lekker!.'