Cao Yunjin, a popular Beijing comedian who will be one of the three hosts of the Chinese version, told state media that he believed the antics of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, the hosts of Top Gear, are too extreme for Chinese censorship requirement. "The boys go crazy in the show, like pushing a Maserati over the top of a three-storey building and smashing it. It may be too much violence for a fun programme in China," he said. Instead, the pilot episode of the Chinese show features a millstone-pushing race between a Cadillac and a donkey, in order to see which would be more useful for farm work.
With a worldwide audience of 350 million, Top Gear has become one of the BBC's most popular exports. Locally-made versions are already shown in Australia, Russia and the US. The Chinese version will be screened on China Central Television, the state broadcaster. The show will be broadcast after midnight when it airs later this year.