Top Gear and BBC slip into reverse gear over sat-nav gaffe

13 Oct 2011

The TomTom GO LIVE Top Gear edition

The recently announced tie up between hit BBC motor show Top Gear and TomTom, which saw Top Gear-themed sat-nav devices go on sale, has been scrapped as the deal breaches BBC editorial guidelines. This also calls into question Top Gear’s involvement in the Xbox 360 game Forza Motorsport 4.

BBC Worldwide, the Beeb’s commercial arm, will now donate all proceeds from the sales of the devices to Children in Need.

Under BBC editorial guidelines, BBC presenters and journalists are restricted from endorsing commercial products.

It is understood that some 54,000 of the TomTom GO LIVE Top Gear edition devices were already manufactured and distributed to shops.

Last week, TomTom launched the TomTom GO LIVE Top Gear edition, a sat-nav device with branding and features from the BBC car show.

The sat nav included selected Top Gear-related points of interest, such as race tracks and raceway locations as seen in the show.

Users could have chosen host Jeremy Clarkson’s voice to direct them or The Stig mode, which rendered the device silent.

The question now is what will it mean for Top Gear’s involvement in the latest Forza Motorsport 4 video game for the Xbox 360, which features Kinect capabilities. The game Forza Motorsport 4 includes content involving Top Gear presenters and the collector’s edition comes with a 96-page book written by the Top Gear team.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years