December 10, 2014

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, NY 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.

Hashtags: #MudSweatAndGears

Production Credits

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.

Episode Descriptions

Episode One – Cops – Monday, January 26, 10:00 PM ET
Hold it right there, son! Jonny Smith and Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford lead two teams – the Perkins brothers from Detroit and racers Keith and Rob from California – in building the ultimate cop cars. In 24 hours they transform regular cars into crazy creations, before competing head-to-head in three fast and furious missions. The challenges put their vehicles to the ultimate test and once the winner is declared, the losers’ car gets, well, annihilated.

Episode Two – Demolition – Monday, February 2, 10:00 PM ET
Jonny Smith and Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford lead two teams and build their versions of the ultimate demolition vehicle. Jonny is joined by two auto-obsessed brothers from LA, while Wookie enlists the help of two mustachioed car tuners from Wisconsin. Things get tense as they race their creations head-to-head in three dangerously destructive missions, the last of which ends in the mother of all crashes.

Episode – Delivery – Monday, February 9, 10:00 PM ET
The mail must get through! Jonny Smith and Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford lead two teams and transform regular cars into high-speed delivery vehicles. Kim and Rich, two car lovers from Michigan, join Wookie, while Jonny is joined by father-and-son car restoration experts from North Hollywood, Julian Junior and Julian Senior. They compete head-to-head in three over-the-top missions – both teams almost wipe out twice, Wookie claims it’s the most scared he’s been in his life.

Episode Four – Truck o’ War – Monday, February 16, 10:00 PM ET
What makes a Truck O’ War? Why guns and armor, naturally. Jonny Smith and Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford compete to transform regular trucks into trucks of war. Jonny’s team is made up of the pride of the South, custom car builders PJ ‘The PJ’ Burchett and his trusty sidekick Brett Melancon. Wookie’s helpers are performance tuners from Detroit, best friends Abhinav and Sujeesh. Things come to a head when vehicles collide and an argument brews that pushes Jonny and Wookie’s friendship to the limit.

Episode Five – Car-Lympics – Monday, February 23, 10:00 PM ET
Cars that jump, wrestle and roll! Jonny Smith and Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford lead two teams and renovate regular cars into vehicular athletes. Jonny’s team consists of Chris and Sean from Houston, a couple of car enthusiasts barely out of college, while Wookie has a team of auto mechanics, PA and Jesse from San Diego. Head-to-head challenges include a car-sumo ring, a car steeplechase and car gymnastics. Both teams may be going for gold, but every race only has one winner.

Episode Six – Off-Road – Monday, March 2, 10:00 PM ET
Jonny Smith and Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford lead two teams and build their versions of the ultimate off-road vehicle from regular cars. Jonny is joined by John and Luccia from Colorado, a couple of lovers who love cars. Wookie’s team is made up of best buds Benny and Darren from California. They race them head-to-head in three bone-shaking, off-road missions including the Bog of Doom, which is a bog, only doomier.

Episode Seven – Spy – Monday, March 9, 10:00 PM ET
Jonny Smith and Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford lead two teams and build their visions of the ultimate spy cars. Jonny, joined by car-crazy fabricators Tino and Aaron from Colorado, is all about the style, power and mystique. Wookie, however, thinks that gadgets rule, which is perfect for his team of high-tech brainiacs Erica and Jeff from San Francisco. They race in three intense spy-themed missions, where Jonny takes the disguise and ambush theme to the extreme!

Episode Eight – Carmageddon – Monday, March 16, 10:00 PM ET
What will you drive when the world ends?  Jonny Smith and Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford reinvent regular cars into their visions of the ultimate survival vehicle. Wookie’s team, Ilya and Rob from LA, bend the rules creating their supposedly indestructible beast, while Jonny and his team, Rob and Mason from San Francisco, transform America’s least successful car, the Pontiac Aztec. They compete in three apocalyptic missions which end with a fiery finish.

Episode Nine – Carcade – Monday, March 23, 10:00 PM ET
Imagine a video game come to life. Jonny Smith and Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford lead two teams and transform regular cars into real-world arcade cars. Jonny is joined by two car-dealing brothers from the East Coast, Adam and Craig. Wookie’s team is VW-racing brothers from Utah, Trent and Eric. They compete in three zany missions inspired by games such as Donkey Kong, Pong and Frogger – the racetracks are littered with hazards.


BBC AMERICA delivers U.S. audiences high-quality, innovative and intelligent programming. Established in 1998, it has been the launch pad for talent embraced by American mainstream pop culture, including Ricky Gervais, Gordon Ramsay, Graham Norton, and successful programming formats including ground-breaking non-scripted television like Top Gear and top-rated science-fiction like Doctor Who. A joint venture between BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, and AMC Networks, BBC AMERICA has attracted both critical acclaim and major awards including four Emmy® Awards, five Golden Globes® and 12 Peabody Awards. The channel attracts one of cable’s most affluent and educated audiences and is available on cable and satellite TV in 80 million homes. It broadcasts in both standard and high-definition, with content available On Demand across all major digital platforms. Online, is the place to go to dig deeper into pop culture with a British twist. Find out more by visiting or follow us on

BBC Worldwide Productions

BBC Worldwide Productions is a key business under BBC Worldwide North America, the U.S. division of the main commercial arm and wholly-owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), BBC Worldwide. Led by Jane Tranter, BBC Worldwide Productions is based in Los Angeles and develops and produces scripted and non-scripted projects for U.S. cable and broadcast networks, as well as digital platforms. The production company is responsible for various titles including the upcoming limited series, Crime (HBO) as well as Intruders (BBC AMERICA), Getting On (HBO), Top Gear (HISTORY), What Not to Wear (TLC) and the cultural phenomenon, Dancing with the Stars (ABC).