Top Gear

Top Gear's automotive exploits are targeted at viewers with a mental age of nine, according to its executive producer.

The BBC show's aim, according to Andy Wilman, is to provide "an hour a week where absolutely nothing is achieved" but which provides a method of escapism for middle aged men.

Having watched the majority of the show's upcoming nine episodes, Wilman found that "almost everything we'd filmed was, once again, aimed at people with a mental age of nine".

"I gave that last point some thought," he added during an interview with the Radio Times magazine. "And quickly realised that it was too important to mess around with.

"If you're actually nine, you need something to watch that isn't a computer screen," he said. "And if you're 29, 39 or 59, part of your brain will most likely still have a mental age of nine, and that part struggles to get nourishment.

"Modern life for adults is, after all, bloody hard. The workplace is not freer, but more regimented by management systems and nonsense enforced by going on "courses". Email hasn't decreased the workload but in fact piled it on.

"The demand to be accountable and produce results hangs heavy over every worker, and by the weekend they need a release valve. That's where we come in – an hour a week where three badly dressed middle-aged men bicker, fall over and catch fire.

"This is an important service we provide, and therefore essential that being nine should remain a massive remit of our films."

Series 21 of Top Gear stars Sunday, 2 February, and Wilman promised that it would not contain any "grown up" content.