Yes I agree with you there, it's tried too hard to be like the american version which made me switch off after about the third series. Jeremy Clarkson with the first series I think was the best one.
I agree that the first series was best. I do think Clarkson was good as a presenter, but then Craig Charles isn't too bad. It's just the mangled format that I don't like. When it was a fairly pacey half hour programme with lots of variety in it it was great. As it is now, it's a programme struggling badly to fill out it's overly long 45 minute slot with constant battles and nothing else. Haven't watch RW in quite a while now because of that.
Im not sure of the entire facts and figures, but its getting a budget approaching what was it? 100 million, and an 80% original programming rate. These are just figures off the top my head. Some other members will know more, especially NickyS.