Fifth Gear was first broadcast on 8 April 2002 as 5th Gear, and as a continuation of the original incarnation of the BBC show Top Gear, which was cancelled in 2001. Top Gear was relaunched later that year; Channel 5 originally wanted to carry on using the Top Gear name, but the BBC refused. Several of Top Gear's ex-presenters, including Quentin Willson, Tiff Needell, and Vicki Butler-Henderson were hired by Channel 5 to present Fifth Gear. The show was renamed as Fifth Gear in 2005.
Repeats of Fifth Gear also started being broadcast on UKTV channel, Dave in April 2008 and later on Discovery Turbo.