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Top Gear Margovya (History of Margovya)

Presented By

Gavrina Kumilyova (2009-2015)
Tanya Kalinina (2009-2015)
Maria Atolova (2009-2015)
Lev Arigov (2013-2015)
Hafimwahlid Talnaev (2016-present)
Mark Vizinsky (2016-present)
Orental Gibitov (2016-present)
Ivan Maryanov (2016-present)
Gennady Elemat (2016-present)
"The Pimp" (2009-present)

Opening

"Jessica (instrumental)"

Executive Producer

Yelizaveta Vulvanova

No. of Series

15

No. of Episodes

154 (+3 TV Specials) (List of episodes)

Running Time

60 minutes

Broadcast

Let's Talk Margovya

Original Run

February 27, 2009 - present

Top Gear Margovya (Russian: Top Gear: Марговская версия, Margovyan: Top Gear: Vercion de Margovia) is the Margovyan adaptation of the popular British car magazine program Top Gear. The show's current presenters are popular Margovyan actors Hafimwahlid Talnaev, Mark Vizinsky, Orental Gibitov, Ivan Maryanov, and Gennady Elemat. It also features a test driver known as the Pimp, the local version of the Stig. The show is estimated to have and average of twenty-six million views per week. The show premiered on February 27, 2009, and has broadcast a total of fifteen series. The show has been approved for a twelve-episode sixteenth series, which is set to premiere on July 14, 2017.

The show has received critical acclaim for its visual style and presentation, and some criticism for its content and the politically incorrect remarks its hosts sometimes make. It is also the first Top Gear spin-off to feature female presenters instead of male ones.

HistoryEdit

Top Gear Margovya is not the first car magazine show produced by Let's Talk Margovya. An earlier program, titled Cars of Margovya, preceded Top Gear Margovya by nineteen years, being first broadcast in 1990. Cars of Margovya ran for fourteen years before ending in 2004, upon the death of its latest and eventually last host Iosef Dimakulanov. Steadily decreasing viewership rates forced Let's Talk Margovya to not renew the program, and it would take four more years before another car magazine show would be produced in Margovya.

Let's Talk Margovya began airing episodes of BBC's Top Gear to fill in the 17.30 to 18.30 spot once occupied by Cars of Margovya, and the network was inspired to create its own version of the show after seeing the high viewership ratings garnered by the original Top Gear. On December 5, 2007, Let's Talk Margovya officially announced the Margovyan version of Top Gear, titled Top Gear Margovya. Let's Talk Margovya was rumored to have chosen from at least a hundred possible candidates before finally settling on Gavrina Kumilyova, Tanya Kalinina, and Maria Atolova of Not So Socialist. Former President Ruma Dumayev was reportedly approached by the network to host the show, but turned down the offer because of concerns that a Margovyan version may not be as well-liked as the original British version. The studio segments of the pilot episode were filmed on February 20, 2008 to favorable reviews.

The first Top Gear Margovya trailer was posted on Let's Talk Margovya's website on February 20, 2009, giving fans a preview of what to expect from the new series. In this trailer, hosts Kumilyova, Kalinina, and Atolova were seen driving down the North Margovyan Superhighway in sports cars, Kumilyova tests an Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, and former President Pristina Leonova drives a 2005 model Ford Crown Victoria around the Top Gear Test Track. The first series premiered on February 27, 2009, and its latest series, Series 9, began broadcast on April 19, 2013.

On May 7, 2013, Gavrina Kumilyova was seriously injured when her Yakovich V800 sports car crashed into a Yakovich M91 monster truck. Since the program had already been approved for 12 episodes, the producers signed Lev Arigov, the Margovyan Education Minister, as an "interim presenter" until Kumilyova recovers enough to return to the show. Eventually Arigov was made into a full presenter in series 10, but not before revealing that he was actually the Pimp in the second-to-the-last episode of series 9.

On June 27, 2014, it was revealed that the KLAY Consortium, a group of Margovyan automotive corporations composed of Khristenko, Lubovenko, Andropov, and Yakovich had been paying large sums of money to Let's Talk Margovya and TGM series director Marvik Vulvanov and his charitable foundations in exchange for favorable reviews of their cars being presented on the show. This led to the sudden canceling of series 11 on the same date, and to an unplanned nine-month hiatus.

Top Gear Margovya finally returned to television on March 13, 2015, with some significant changes: Vulvanov had been fired as director and replaced with Adam Yaneyev, a former assistant director for TGM who left the show in the tenth series following "personal differences" with the other production staff, especially Vulvanov. Executive producer Yelizaveta Vulvanova also confirmed that the show's presenters (Kumilyova, Kalinina, Atolova and Arigov) have been given even more freedom as to making content for the show. She also dispelled rumors that the new series will be composed of the six unaired episodes of series 11.

On October 22, 2015, after filming only seven episodes of the thirteenth series, executive producer Yelizaveta Vulvanova announced on the Top Gear Margovya official website that Lev Arigov's contract will not be renewed for a fourteenth series following his controversial altercation with producer Darya Parovskaya at the hotel after filming an episode where Arigov allegedly abused her physically, verbally, and sexually. Furthermore, according to Vulvanova, Arigov insisted that he did not assault her, especially sexually, but after she refused to believe his allegations, Arigov told Vulvanova that she was worse than her husband Marvik Vulvanov, who was previously involved in a scandal with the Khristenko, Lubovenko, Andropov and Yakovich automobile companies.

On November 15, 2015, during an interview with Svetlana Lanuva, Kalinina, Kumilyova and Atolova announced that they will not be returning for a fourteenth series without Arigov. "Around the time the fracas scandal of former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson broke out, we made a pact: we told each other that should anyone of us get involved in a similar situation, the other three would do what James May and Richard Hammond did and stick up for girl, or in this case the guy, who would become the Clarkson of TGM," Kumilyova said. "We told everyone that we will never sacrifice the integrity of the group for individual fame or anything; we'll definitely be there for each other for better or for worse." The four presenters filmed their last episode of TGM together, and it aired on December 25, 2015. TGM director Adam Yaneyev, who is a known close friend and collaborator of the group, also announced that he will no longer be part of TGM after series 13. Arigov, Atolova, Kalinina, Kumilyova, and Yaneyev eventually formed their own production company with the intention of creating a separate motoring show.

This resulted into an eight-month hiatus of the series. Let's Talk Margovya decided to renew the show for a fourteenth series, provided that Vulvanova hire at least three new presenters within a year. On December 2, 2015, actor-singer and then-The Real Deal frontman Hafimwahlid Talnaev confirmed that he will be joining the show for a fourteenth series. On December 26, 2015, actor and former Cars of Margovya presenter Mark Vizinsky also confirmed to be joining the show.

On January 18, 2016, actor-singer Orental Gibitov announced that he will also join the fourteenth series of TGM. Auditions for additional presenters were conducted afterwards, and on March 1, 2016, Yelizaveta Vulvanova announced on the TGM website that actors Ivan Maryanov and Gennady Elemat are the latest additions in the show, and that the lineup of presenters is complete.

During an interview on Arigov & Kumilyova Tonight, Mark Vizinsky announced that Top Gear Margovya will be entering a "new era," which includes the replacement of the current Reasonably Priced car with the Toyota Land Cruiser J200; and the reveal of the man behind the gas mask of Pimp 2.0 on the very first episode, and the introduction of a new Pimp 3.0 at the last episode, which according to Vizinsky, will feature the cast of the upcoming forty-fourth season of Paramedics.

Series 14 of Top Gear Margovya aired on August 26, 2016, and on the first episode, the new presenters revealed that giving the benefit of the doubt to Lev Arigov, Let's Talk Margovya announced that if the said producer cries foul once again on one of the new presenters (given that Top Gear Margovya currently has an all-male presenter lineup), it's either Vulvanova will fire that producer, or LTM will cancel TGM altogether.

SegmentsEdit

Power LapsEdit

In this segment, the Pimp drives a car around the Top Gear Margovya test track (commonly one that has reviewed earlier by a presenter) to gauge its performance and compare it to various contenders. To be eligible for the Power Lap board, Top Gear Margovya follows the original Top Gear's rules in that the vehicle must be road-legal, and must have sufficient ride height to clear a speed bump (or, as the presenters sometimes call it, a "sleeping policeman"), although sometimes cars that do not meet these requirements are still tested. When this happens, the vehicle's lap time is compared to others on the board and then removed. The fastest car ever tested on Top Gear Margovya was the Pagani Huayra, which posted a lap time of 1:13.8, the same time it posted on the original Top Gear. The Yakovich X5 recorded 1:08.75 in series 10, but its lap time was removed from the power laps board in series 12 following the KLAY-LTM scandal.

On series 14, the power laps board was cleared by the new presenters in welcoming a new era for TGM. According to the presenters, they must be free to re-review the cars that they want to review in the show, even those which were reviewed before by the former presenters, just like in Cars of Margovya. However, the new presenters decided to keep the timed laps of some of the cars on the board, cars that they think are worthy of staying at the Power Laps board. Some of these cars include the Yakovich M57, the Pagani Zonda, the Huayra, the Yakovich U-Shut Up, the Lubovenko Fallopia, the Khristenko A1, the Audi A1 and the Yakovich U2.

Star in a Reasonably Priced CarEdit

In each episode, one of the hosts (alternating between Gavrina, Tanya, and Maria) interviews a celebrity (usually, but not always, from Margovya), and then they and the audience watch the star's lap around the Top Gear test track. The time is then recorded on a leader board. For the show's first four series, the Reasonably Priced Car was a 2005 model Ford Crown Victoria.

At the beginning of the fifth series, in 2011, the Crown Victoria was replaced by the Toyota Innova, which Toyota first began selling in Margovya the same year. Since the Innova's performance was different from the Crown Victoria, the leader board was wiped clean, allowing celebrities to return and record new lap times.

The format for setting a lap time is the same one used on the original Top Gear: the star is allowed five practice laps, and then a final timed lap. No allowance is made for errors committed on the final lap. There are rumors that the Innova may be replaced by a new car upon the end of the ninth series.

President Viktoriya Vegova (then the Vice President of Margovya) set the fastest lap time in the Crown Victoria, with a time of 1:39.9. The fastest lap time in the Innova thus far is the Pimp's 1:41.89, followed closely by Chris Masters, who achieved a time of 1:41.91 on May 3, 2013.

Former President Baba Filitov went around the final corner of the track on two wheels, prompting the presenters to call the corner "Filitov Corner." Gregoriy Umalin lost a wheel during his lap, and Anatoly Baychenko destroyed the clutches of both the main and back-up cars. Current Vice President Mstislav Pankavuranov shattered the Innova's third gear during his lap, necessitating the use of the backup car.

The Innova was officially replaced in series 11 with the 2007 series Fiat 500 as the new Reasonably Priced Car. Currently the fastest star in the Fiat is Jason Wade, who posted a lap time of 1:38.65. Former president Gennady Elemat failed to beat Wade's time by just 0.02 seconds with a lap time of 1:38.67.

Upon entering the "new era" of Top Gear Margovya in its fourteenth series, the Fiat 500 was officially replaced with the Toyota Land Cruiser J200 as the new Reasonably Priced Car. So far, no star has ever surpassed the set record of the fastest presenter in the Land Cruiser, which is Mark Vizinsky with a lap time of 1:40.5. As of Series 14, the star who came the closest was actor-producer Mark Politov with 1:41.0.

ChallengesEdit

Occasionally, the show would feature novelty challenges and short stunt films, typically based on absurd premises such as a bus jumping over thirty motorcycles (instead of the other way around), or creating amphibious cars that can go from Margovya to the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil.

Starting in series five, at least one episode per series featured a "Cheap Car" challenge, in which the presenters are given a budget (typically around five thousand margots, but ranges between five hundred margots and fifty thousand margots, depending on the type of car) to buy a car that conforms to certain criteria. Once purchased, the presenters compete against each other in a series of challenges to establish who has bought the best car. The presenters have no prior knowledge of what the tests will be, although they typically involve long journeys to evaluate the cars' reliability and fuel economy, and a race track event to determine performance.

"Harassing Tanya's Guitar"Edit

Not a real segment but a sort-of running gag in the program, "Harassing Tanya's Guitar" is a time in the show in which Kumilyova and/or Atolova take Kalinina's personalized guitar (built by Shevchenko Custom Instruments) and think of various ways of destroying it, and then Kalinina shouting her now famous quote, "My guitar!" once it is destroyed. This gag first came up in the series three episode, "The Budget Episode," in which the show was "forced to operate on a very small budget due to the Margovyan recession". Kalinina used her guitar to play her version of the opening theme "Jessica," but then Kumilyova declared that she didn't like it (the guitar, not Kalinina's rendition), and proceeded to kick the guitar out of Kalinina's hands and use it as a football.

By the presenters' estimate, Tanya's guitar has been "harassed" for a total of fifty-seven episodes, and since the ninth series is in production, it is expected that the guitar will be destroyed at least a few more times.

Notable instances of the guitar's destruction include it being on the landing ramp during the "bus over thirty motorcycles" challenge, being blown up during Kalinina's birthday in the series eight opener, and Chris Masters running over the guitar during his lap around the Top Gear test track in his Yakovich WWE sports car.

Critics believe that this is quickly becoming one of the biggest factors why people love watching Top Gear Margovya. However, starting from the beginning of series 12, it was announced that this segment would no longer be in any episodes since it detracted from the actual reviewing of cars in the series, according to executive producer Yelizaveta Vulvanova. Tanya Kalinina also said in a recent interview that this segment was conceived by Marvik Vulvanov back before he was director of the series to distract viewers from the fact that the show may not be as factual as it claimed to be.

SpecialsEdit

Starting from the show's third series in 2010, a series of specials have featured the presenters traveling in different places of the world and going through extreme challenges in various objectives and missions.

Month and Year Episode Title Tanya's car Gavrina's car Maria's car Lev's car Mission
January 2010 Series 3, Episode 2-3 Philippine Special 8th Generation Honda Civic Toyota Revo Chevrolet Cruze N/A Learn the "Philippine way of driving," and travel to Baguio City
May 2012 Series 7, Episode 4-5 Battle of the Cars 2005 Yakovich U-Shut Up Pagani Zonda Bugatti Veyron N/A Undergo through a series of tests to prove which car is "the best of the best"
January 2013 Series 8, Episode 9 Russian Far East Special Moskvitch 2141 Aleko Audi 100 ZAZ Tavria N/A Travel from Asia to North America through the Bering Strait Bridge
July/August 2013 Series 9, Episode 13; Series 10, Episode 1 Pan-American Special Maserati Quattroporte Bentley Arnage Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Declasse Voodoo Travel from Argentina to Alaska through the Pan-American Highway
December 2013 Series 10, Episode 5-6 The Run Special Nissan 370Z Pagani Huayra Audi A1 Lubovenko Desperation Compete against 746 professional racers and local/international celebrities in a massive street race from Calais, France to Anadyr, Russia for a grand prize of $50 million
May 2014 Series 11, Episode 3 Margovya Drift Yakovich XXX Andropov K-Drift Lubovenko Beauty Joylong Majestic Mountain drift down Mt. Arbatskaya through Sta. Radoslava highway

EpisodesEdit

Main Article: List of Top Gear Margovya episodes

CriticismEdit

Top Gear Margovya has earned its fair share of criticisms from Margovyan media and sometimes South American media as well. However, its biggest controversy came in June 27, 2014 when it was discovered that a group of Margovyan automotive companies called the KLAY Consortium (for Khristenko, Lubovenko, Andropov, and Yakovich) had been sending large amounts of money to Let's Talk Margovya and TGM series director Marvik Vulvanov in exchange for showing their cars on the series and giving favorable reviews to the cars. This resulted on TGM being cancelled mid-series, and the show is only making a return to television on March 13, 2015 following shakeups within the show's production staff, chief of which was the replacement of Vulvanov with former TGM assistant director Adam Yaneyev, who had left the show in 2013 following "personal differences" with Vulvanov.

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