South African viewers will be able to watch the new series of Top Gear on the BBC Entertainment channel just minutes after its UK premiere.

It marks a shift in BBC Worldwide’s distribution policy that has often seen viewers wait several weeks before new episodes of top shows make it onto the international channels. Some movement has already been seen with the launch of mini-pay channel BBC First in Australia and BBC America.

Kully Kaur-Bains, Head of Programming Africa, BBC Worldwide comments: “We know how much our audience loves Top Gear and we’re excited to be bringing them even closer to the action by airing the very latest series at the same time as the UK.”

In the show presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May attempt to reinvent the ambulance, investigate the strange world of classic car ownership, take part in a nail-biting race across St Petersburg and set off on an epic road trip through the wilds of Australia.

The new series of the lighthearted motoring magazine will premiere at 20:00 on January 25.