I do not watch a huge amount of Saturday night game shows, but after watching The Getaway Car, I am relieved to discover that I am not missing out on much at all. The concept is a fun one, but perhaps promises more than it actually delivers.
Five couples (made up of husbands and wives, friends, or just colleagues) travel to South Africa – presumably to ensure that there is sunshine and to add some sort of gravitas to the show – and compete in a number of driving related challenges. Couples are eliminated after each round, leaving one pairing with the chance to race against the Stig (you know, the white-jumpsuited driver from Top Gear) in a quest to win £10,000.
The first challenge saw them driving round a wacky obstacle course with various challenges along the way: a blind-folded section to test the co-drivers’ direction-giving abilities, a football section where they have to score a goal, and a raised section with a slippery section that they must slide down at the end. The degree of difficulty was both surprisingly high, but at the same time rather frustrating.
The obstacles look impressive, but when you see them in use, it all seems rather safe and tame. Now I understand that this is Saturday evening on the BBC, and I do not want anyone to die, but even Total Wipeout had more risks than this.
Predictably, the fastest times go through, with the slowest two having to take part in a ‘race-off’. Sadly, this is less exciting than it sounds: the two co-drivers are driven round a course by ‘Red Stig’ and ‘Blue Stig’ (obviously the BBC is needing an excuse to use them until Top Gear returns), and have to answer questions under ‘extreme conditions’. It is a bit ‘meh’ and kind of feels like a simple cop-out when the show needs to get rid of its contestants.
The next two rounds are fairly simple affairs: one sees an off-road time trial, followed by another race-off, with the final elimination coming through a combination of drag racing and questions.
When there is just one couple remaining, they are given a fast car and have to drive through as many checkpoints to ‘bank’ their cash, while the Stig chases them in an even faster car.
The anti-climax is palpable, but it is inoffensive and one car hunting down another always appeals to my big-kid side. Dermot O’Leary admirably steers the ship safely out of controversy and everyone leaves with a smile on their face. Sadly, that is about it, there is not much else to take from The Getaway Car.