Nobody does motoring mayhem like the BBC. If you’re not 100% sure about that, look no further than “Mud, Sweat and Gears” premiering January 26, 2015 at 10:00pm EST on BBC America following after an all-new Top Gear. I confess to rolling my eyes at the thought of another competition-based TV show but was pleasantly surprised by this one. Each episode centres around two American pairs of gearheads led by the British co-hosts in a head-to-head build-off, transforming a street car into an ultimate version of a purpose-built vehicle.

The hosts in question are Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford and Jonny Smith. Both are long time motoring journalists and tv presenters. (Fifth Gear fans, represent!) In Monday night’s episode, Cops, Tom and Jonny meet up in Los Angeles where the challenge is to build the ultimate police car. The guests are brothers/hot rod enthusiasts, Steve and Todd Perkins from Detroit; and best friends, Keith Kramer and Rob Krider of Krider Racing Motorsports from California. They only have one day to convert the chosen cars and then must compete in three stunt-filled challenges to see which car is best.

In case you’re wondering six mechanics are named in the end credits. They’re probably there to make sure the guys don’t accidentally blow themselves up and stay on schedule. The final products aren’t so elaborate that the original cars are unrecognizable and they don’t do anything too complex like engine overhauls. However the guests do put a lot of sweat into those gears and as a result are very, very competitive. The hosts are equal parts cheeky, nerdy and cool; and somehow manage to avoid overshadowing the guest builders. You can expect high production values as is typical of BBC motoring shows (Shout out to Director of Photography, Dan de Castro) and a surprising display of pyrotechnics. Lots of pyrotechnics. The show’s initial nine episode run ends in March but don’t wait so long to tell us what you think about it. Do you love it, hate it or want to appear on it? Let’s hear you, My Life at Speeders!


From BBC Worldwide:


BBC AMERICA’s New Original Competitive Car Show Mud, Sweat and Gears Premieres Monday, January 26

Hosted by Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford and Jonny Smith, two best mates and UK car journalists, BBC AMERICA launches its biggest ever original unscripted series 

New York – December 10, 2014 – BBC AMERICA’s Mud, Sweat and Gears is a brand new competitive car show which hurtles onto screens in the New Year. Each week hosts Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford and Jonny Smith captain a team of two car nuts and go head-to-head to transform everyday vehicles. They have 24 hours to mutate, supersize and reconstruct – once transformed, the vehicles are raced in three extreme missions involving head-to-head sprints, timed challenges and stunts, lots of stunts. The missions are daring, adventurous, fun, and competitive – and all tied to different episode themes rolling out each week. Mud, Sweat and Gears premieres Monday, January 26 at 10:00pm ET on BBC AMERICA.

The first episode is filmed in an almost abandoned, decaying LA cityscape. The series opens with the two teams making the ultimate cop cars. Jonny is joined by two hot-rodding brothers from Detroit and, in a possibly foolhardy homage to 1970’s British police dramas, Jonny chooses to start with a Jaguar. Wookie picks a Pontiac Firebird – like the model used in the movie Smokey & The Bandit – for his team, as they turn the ultimate outlaw car into a cop car. The teams get to work, welding, adding air rams, battering rams and mobile jail cells, before competing in three crazy cops and robbers challenges of increasing scale and difficulty, putting their creations to the ultimate test. Once the winner is declared, the loser’s car gets annihilated.

From here episodes go on to explore creating video game cars, trucks of war, cars fit for our very own Olympics, high-speed delivery vehicles, off-road machines, spy cars full of gadgets, end of the world survival vehicles, and mightily destructive demolition vehicles.

Nathaniel Grouille is executive producer and showrunner for the series and Trice Barto is executive producer. Ricky Kelehar is executive producer for BBC AMERICA, Michael Brooks and Jane Tranter are executive producers for BBC Worldwide Productions and Julie Swanston for BBC Worldwide. The production was filmed in California.

Mud, Sweat and Gears is a BBC AMERICA original production co-produced by BBC Worldwide Productions and BBC Worldwide, distributed by BBC Worldwide. The series was ordered by Perry Simon, General Manager, BBC AMERICA and Tracy Forsyth, VP Commissioning, Original Content for BBC Worldwide.

Mud, Sweat and Gears will also launch across the BBC’s international channels and is the first original commission to be announced for BBC Brit – the new male-skewing factual entertainment channel due to launch in several worldwide markets outside of the US in 2014.



Host                                                     Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford
Host                                                     Jonny Smith
Executive Producer & Showrunner      Nathaniel Grouille (Junkyard Wars)
Executive Producer                              Trice Barto
Executive Producer                              Ricky Kelehar (BBC AMERICA)
Executive Producer                              Michael Brooks (BBC Worldwide Productions)
Executive Producer                              Jane Tranter (BBC Worldwide Productions)
Executive Producer                              Julie Swanston (BBC Worldwide)

Mud, Sweat and Gears is a BBC AMERICA original production co-produced by BBC Worldwide Productions and BBC Worldwide.



TOM ‘WOOKIE’ FORD is an award-winning motoring journalist and television presenter with a penchant for adventure. He is currently the Associate Editor of Top Gear Magazine which is one of the world’s biggest car magazines, has previously been the Road Test Editor of Car Magazine and regularly writes for the Sunday Times motoring section.

Adventure writing is his passion, having raced a train across the USA in a convertible Bentley, driven the world’s fastest car – the Bugatti Veyron SS – the length of Europe (for a bet), wandered Range Rovers across Iceland simply to go swimming, driven a Fiat Panda city car up an erupting volcano – Mount Etna in Sicily, and taken a dedicated track car to the Arctic Circle.

In previous lives he worked as a delivery driver in a glue factory and spent several years involved in the circus.

JONNY SMITH is a motoring journalist and television presenter.  He currently presents on Fifth Gear in the UK and has hosted his own documentary television series Industrial Junkie. He has written for various car and motoring publications including custom and vintage VW magazine (becoming the editor after three years), Max Power, Car, Classic Cars, Loaded, The Sunday Times, Autocar and Auto Express amongst others.

Jonny has owned over 130 cars and still has the first car he bought at 16-years old – a 1967 Beetle 1500.

He once crashed the only Dodge SRT10 in England after a one mile drive, and then bought an old Nissan Laurel to get home in because the train was delayed. He also tried to re-enact a 76-foot The Dukes of Hazzard jump in a home-made General Lee and his neck has never been the same since.