The hugely popular and frequently controversial British car show Top Gear is getting revamped for mainland television, state media reported yesterday. Cao Yunjin, Beijing-based comedian and television presenter, told the Global Times he would present with two other male hosts, but said the show would be toned down. 'The boys go crazy with cars in the [British version of the] show, like pushing a Maserati off the top of a three-storey building and smashing it,' he told the paper. 'It may be too much violence for a fun programme in China ... we will do more localised fun stuff.' The paper quoted Cao as saying a pilot episode had been completed that featured a millstone-pushing race between a Cadillac and a donkey. He did not reveal when the programme was due to be aired. Adverts said it was to be filmed by Hunan TV on October 23 last year. The Chinese version of Top Gear would be one of eight new shows lined up for 2011, the Legal Evening News reported last year, citing the station's advertiser prospectus. It said the show would be given a 40-minute slot after midnight on Thursday nights. No one at the BBC, the makers of the original show, was available to comment yesterday. The show would be the latest in a swathe of overseas shows remodelled for Chinese audiences. A Chinese version of the hit United States comedy drama Ugly Betty - itself a remake of a Colombian soap opera - hit local screens in 2008. One of the most successful foreign franchises to be brought to Chinese audiences is China's Got Talent, which is hosted by Shanghai comedian Zhou Libo, following a format developed in Britain. In August there were reports British comedian Ricky Gervais was working with a Beijing company to produce a Chinese version of his cult mockumentary The Office. Top Gear first aired on British screens in 1977, but was relaunched with a new format in 2002 after being cancelled the previous year. Abandoning its serious tone, the show became known for high-testosterone stunts and laddish humour from hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. It has already been franchised for local productions by networks in Australia, Russia and the US. Reaching 350 million viewers worldwide, the programme has courted controversy due to the presenters' tendency for politically incorrect comments. The programme was recently chastised by the Mexican ambassador to Britain for characterising his countrymen as lazy, feckless and flatulent. It is unclear how well that sense of humour will translate into Chinese, but the local title - Zui Gao Dang - does retain the pun.