Gadget Man (2012) s01e01 Episode Script

Super Commuter

1 Hello, I'm Stephen Fry, and I have adored gadgets ever since I was knee-high to a space hopper.
My obsession runs deep.
When I was 15, I laid out a fortune on the first new Polaroid camera.
40 years later, I still have a desperate need to have the latest phone, alarm clock, egg timer, as soon as they are launched, if not before.
Gadgets entertain us.
They connect us.
They educate us.
They impress us, and of course, sometimes they frustrate us, but whichever way you look at them, they make the world a much, much better and, dare I say, happier place.
So, come into my world as I, along with some of my friends, reveal a feast of magnificent gadgets that will provide for a fun and stress-free existence.
I could certainly fall asleep.
Some will be from the future.
Oh, my God! Some from the past.
This here is the first iPod.
Really?! Some are gadgets you can only dream of owning.
Completely silent, it's electric.
And simple gizmos you can buy today that will change the way you live your life tomorrow.
Oh, I see! - It's vibrating.
- Tickly.
And every week, I'm going to be creating my very own super gadget, the ultimate gadget of its kind.
Well, I'll be giving it a go.
Oh, no! Consider me your humble servant, your knight in crumpled corduroy.
Your Gadget Man.
Tonight, I'll be looking at how gadgets can take the misery out of your daily commute.
Aw! It's taking me to a happy place.
Jonathan Ross will help me test some of the more imaginative modes of transport that could help you weave your way to work.
No-one will forget seeing us in this though, Stephen.
They won't.
And I'll be attempting to create a super taxi, something that will never be caught in a traffic jam again.
The four coms of daily life - dotcom, compete, compute and, worst of all, commute.
The daily grind from home to work, finding somewhere to park through streets crammed with traffic, jostling through pavements crammed with pedestrians, and then having to make the same journey back to home.
There must be a better solution.
Something like this electric bike, maybe? This is the YikeBike, so-called because you keep saying "Yikes!" It comes from New Zealand, has a radius of about six miles, and it's rather good fun, once you get used to it.
It takes about 15 minutes of pra-a-ctice! If you're brave enough, it has a top speed of 14mph, it's made from carbon fibre, but it isn't exactly cheap to buy.
At least it's cheap to run, at about a penny per mile.
The great thing about the YikeBike is that once you get a fit of the wobbles, you just have to stand up.
It's a great safety feature.
And talking of safety, you might wonder why I'm not wearing a Bradley Wiggins-approved cycle helmet.
Well, I'm wearing this collar instead.
It's not just something to keep me warm.
If you get an accident like that Oh, my God! Are you all right? How do you feel? I'm fine! There was a loud bang, but it's good, my head is protected.
We're both wearing the Hovding inflatable helmet.
It deploys in just a tenth of a second, rather like a car airbag, when it detects sudden movements, but you can only use it once.
It seems pretty expensive, but surely a small price to pay for avoiding the disaster of helmet hair? Would you recommend one of these? I would, yes, it's very effective.
It's a peculiar look, I have to say! As much as I have enjoyed the YikeBike, it doesn't exactly represent the blissful state of nirvana that I would like to achieve on my commute.
Whoa! But I am not convinced that any of the inventions from the past designed to help commuters have cracked it either, from this American scooter - driven by a model aircraft engine - to the poor old Sinclair C5, an awkward-looking battery-powered tricycle that was the butt of many a joke.
I have the urge to invent a better way of travelling to work myself, but there are some obvious hurdles to negotiate.
Whatever you choose, you're going to run into the terrible snarl-up that is a city's traffic at commuting time.
It occurred to me that some other conveyance might be more appropriate.
I happen to drive a London taxicab.
I adore it.
And taxi drivers, as we know, are always very reluctant to go over the river, but I wondered if they might not be more willing to go on the river! How about pimping a taxicab, such that it becomes an amphibious vehicle? My crack team of Gadget Man boffins are beavering away in their shed as I speak, trying to turn a 2.
5-ton taxi into a boat.
Something capable of dodging all the traffic jams, by simply taking to the nearest river.
If they can make it work, it will be the ultimate gadget commuting vehicle.
Drivers are not the only victims of rush-hour.
I am now going to turn my attention to another form of commuting used by three million of us every day.
The train.
Travelling by train in busy periods is painful in every way.
The first is the temperature.
Cramped carriages can be stiflingly hot, which is where this air-conditioned jacket from Japan comes in.
Inside is a switch, which you turn on.
Can you feel it? Yeah.
I feel cold air blowing down the bottom half of my body.
Its built-in fans expel 20 litres of sweaty commuting air a second.
It looks a bit North Korean dictator style, but it's actually not bad.
If you like it so much, I'll give it to you.
Oh, wow! Thank you so much.
That's the oppressive heat dealt with, then.
My next bugbear on this carriage is noise, bracket din.
(Through headphones) I hate you so much right now Yes, this is one of the curses of commuting, having to sit next to someone who has tish-tish leaking earphones.
Grr! .
I hate you so much right now Thankfully, I have a wonderful gadget that completely transports you away from the hells of commuting, making the journey the most enjoyable hour of your day.
Aw! It's taking me to a happy place.
A much nicer environment than the rather sprawling suburbs of South London.
And what's more, I can even take off these visors here and now you can see nothing of what I can see.
Everybody else is having to look at South London, I have the joy of a little film here.
It is rather sweet.
It's a sheepdog trial.
Oh, bless you.
So I'm in my own little bubble.
Not only do these specs play video, but they can also connect to the internet via wi-fi.
They run on the Android operating system, so you can choose from thousands of apps to download to while away the drudgery of the 7:42 from Clapham Junction.
I have to say, this is rather fun.
I don't know if one looks anything other than a supreme twit in it, but does that matter? But I must say, I'm rather tempted.
Hello, real world.
Another way of making commuting more bearable is to share the pain with a friend, and I can't think of anyone more suitable than my techno-savvy chum Jonathan Ross.
Well met, Jonathan.
Gadget Man.
Gadget Man? You're sporting the beard, I notice, now as well.
Yes, I copied that from you.
This makes us an even better team.
Gadget Man and Bobbin.
This is my first gadget.
An umbrella? See if you can break it.
It's an unbreakable umbrella.
I bet yours isn't! Mine is broken.
Look at this.
There you are! Already, this bit has come off here.
This one is used by the Philippines Secret Service as a weapon.
It is completely unbreakable.
I very much doubt that's true.
I know! But have a go! Look, it's got a hole in it already! I didn't say that part of it would be unbreakable.
Let's get amongst this, then.
Oh, Christ! Well, look at this! This is the worst gadget I have ever been given, and I have been given some terrible gadgets.
All right.
I have got some other things for you to try.
I should hope so.
Or this is going to be a very short career as Gadget Man, if that's the best you can do.
He really is incorrigible! But he will be useful for testing my next rush-hour buster, a new fully electric vehicle that claims to always find a way through traffic.
It also claims to be a two-seater.
I like the look of this.
Would you like to be my passenger? I would love to be your passenger.
It's incredible, isn't it? It's like a little concept car.
It is the Renault Twizy.
Where shall I sit, in the back? In the back, I am afraid.
Are you going to be able to get in there? I can try.
That's not the first time you've said that to me! LAUGHTER The Twizy doesn't have any windows.
In parts of Europe, that means it's classified as a glorified moped and can be driven by 16 year olds.
In the UK, it just means you get wet.
You almost feel like with cars like this, I think they should have a ramp so you can drive down into the back compartment of tube trains to get you into town, and then drive out.
Because it is small enough.
Just a separate ramp.
We got looked at there.
Hello! Electric! Not polluting.
Yes, as with all electric vehicles, there is no internal combustion chucking out any fumes.
No-one will forget seeing us in this.
It will be like a Kinder Surprise when we come out.
(LAUGHS) The Twizy runs on lithium-ion battery, basically a larger version of what is in your mobile phone, and it takes 3.
5 hours to recharge.
Hello, ever seen one of these before? What do you reckon? Yeah, it's pretty good.
It can go 50.
Would you like a race? (LAUGHS) He's shut his window on us.
He shut his window on us.
One of its great benefits is that it is road-tax exempt, but Jonathan has spotted a fatal flaw.
Here is a problem with this car.
We are still stuck in traffic.
We are, very much.
It does not help.
Sure, we're not polluting, but we are not really getting anywhere any faster.
There we go.
I am impressed.
I've got it.
You've got it.
I am sort of I'm afraid I've come over all John Wayne.
Look at the size of it.
This is how you plug it in, you see.
Look at that.
That is fabulous.
It's as simple as that.
That is a proper English plug, as well.
None of your American or European rubbish.
Three prongs.
There you go.
It was a fun ride, though.
If you are still up for it, we've a couple of other things to test.
I was born for testing.
Let's go.
Join us in a moment, when Jonathan and I will be trying out more ways to put the fun into commuting.
Right, I'm going through the fountain.
No, I really wouldn't.
I'm going through the fountain.
And I will find out if my ultimate traffic-busting vehicle actually works.
Oh, my goodness.
Welcome back.
I'm looking at how technology can make the rush hour more bearable.
My boffins are making me the perfect commuting vehicle which I will be testing later on, but now, let's get back to more enjoyable ways to whizz to work, with Jonathan Ross.
We start with these motorised roller skates, Lord help us.
They're not that much smaller than the car both of us just managed to get into.
Dare you? I'll give it a try.
There's a helmet here.
I might need some assistance.
They self tie.
It's very clever, isn't it? Yes.
OK, helmet on.
I might need a bit of assistance.
Well done, well done.
Let's try go round this loop.
So, one in front of the other, I guess.
That's right.
Let's see what happens.
Let's see what happens.
Turn this on.
Oh, yes! Check it out.
I've got a brand new pair of roller-skates You got a brand new key I'm not feeling any weight on my arm.
You look as if you're almost controlling it on your own.
You're really doing this.
I could let go now.
No, you're not going to let go now! I'm not going to.
If we got married, in our later years, this is what we'd be like! I'm going through the fountain.
I really wouldn't recommend that.
I'm going through the fountain.
I'm taking you with me! You bugger, you damn nearly did.
Shall we go for a seat? Let's do that.
'My stuntman didn't really do these justice - they can do 10 miles 'an hour, so could actually speed up your walk to work by three times.
' Well, I feel you earned at least 30% of the praise there.
That was quite something.
This is fun though.
It's fun, if you could get some real speed on them, I could imagine it would be like a sport.
A fun experience.
Like so many things you've shown me over the years, something I would not have done on my own.
(CHUCKLES) I'm glad to hear you say that.
You lead the nation in strange pursuits.
Well, are you prepared to try one more mode of transport? I am, absolutely.
Now, what can you possibly have picked that won't be fun? Let's go for it.
These electric scooters are called Trikkes.
As you can see, they are basically tricycles.
They're balanced enough to stand up on their own, they have power packs.
And you just stand on it, press the green button for power, there's a little throttle here, and, as long as you keep your weight slightly forward, the front wheel won't skid too much, especially on these leaves.
So it's just like a scooter? Oh, blimey.
We're off.
Wait for me! Follow.
The Trikkes are designed in California, and can go as fast as 18 miles an hour.
I'll ride this one home, these are fun.
The frames cleverly flex in corners to stop you toppling over.
It's a bit like skiing slalom.
Not that I know.
A huge benefit is that, unlike a bike, you don't arrive to work hot and sweaty.
Well, hello there.
It's lunchtime.
Here you are, stable our horses, Patrick, if you would.
So, what do you reckon to that? I loved it.
I love them.
That's the best thing you had me do today.
Actually, they fold up, so they make a perfect commuter vehicle, don't they? Pop it in your office, get it out, put it in the boot of your car.
Really good fun.
You go and have lunch, and I'm off to drive a cab into the water.
Has it come to that? Truly amphibious.
A truly amphibious cab.
Well, I wish you the very best of luck.
I'll have a chip in your honour.
Thank you.
Lovely to see you.
This isn't just my idea of the perfect commuting vehicle, but it is a world first, too.
A London taxi made seaworthy.
I hope.
I don't mind telling you I'm more than a little apprehensive as to how it's all going to turn out.
If it goes wrong, I shall be mildly moist, to say the least.
Time for my team to unveil the beast.
I just hope they haven't turned my plans for a super commuter into some foul-looking dinghy.
Oh, my God, I'm so nervous.
I love this thing like a baby.
Are you ready? Just about.
OK? Oh, it's still a cab.
Still a cab.
But with many additional benefits.
It's extraordinary.
'The body has been completely sealed to waterproof it, 'and running boards full of foam have been attached to add buoyancy 'and stop it from rocking side to side in the water.
'The usual engine remains upfront to drive the wheels, 'but now poking out the boot is a propeller attached 'to a 10 horsepower electric outboard motor 'controlled by a hand throttle inside.
' See you, boys.
None of the modifications stop it being road legal, although the extras have added weight and put the suspension under rather a lot of strain.
GRATING The noises! It's not actually anything serious, it's the foam and an aluminium base on those slants.
So that's causing a slightly noisier and bumpier ride than I'm used to.
A little unnerving considering I'm about to turn off the traffic-clogged roads and see if my amphi-cab will let me take a short cut down the Thames.
It's hard to imagine how this is going to float, I have to say.
Takes all my faith in technologists and engineers to entrust myself to this.
On water! I feel like Chuck Yeager must've felt before he first broke the speed of sound in his jets.
'They say you always feel nervous your first time.
'Too blooming right you do.
' Oh, my goodness.
This is extraordinary.
The propeller is going.
I'm afloat in a cab! This is wonderful.
It's not very fast.
There we go.
'Captain Bird's Fry is making steady, graceful progress.
'Nothing can possibly go wrong.
' Should I be worried about the smoke? SPLUTTERING Oh.
It appears the propeller has caught on something as the motor has stopped.
I am stricken.
I'm rather embarrassingly being overtaken by a duck.
Help, help.
The aquatic division of my gadget-man boffins immediately leapt into action to tow me to safety.
I might call Jonathan.
RINGING TONE The magic of Bluetooth.
Hello, Jonathan.
I am in the Thames on a floating amphibious cab.
'It sounds like the most flamboyant end to a stag night ever.
' It does, doesn't it? The Hangover Part III! The London Story.
'I'm now emerald with envy.
' After 25 minutes' repair work, the propeller is fixed.
For hire.
Just marvellous.
With no traffic lights, speed cameras or congestion, I'm free to worry about more important things.
My in-car espresso machine.
That'll stop one falling asleep at the wheel.
Mmm, tasty.
'There is a serious point here that my amphi-cab is making.
'With rush hours crippling much of the country into gridlock, opening 'up a major transportation route like a river, 'something that runs through the heart of most of our cities, 'might not be such a mad concept.
' The idea that I could approach a bank and engage the engine and just drive off is almost incredible.
Just needs a pair of wings and it's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
But maybe I'll save that for another day.
It's all about food.
I'm going to show you how to revolutionise your weekly shop.
That's my boy.
And wow my friends with the incredible gadgets no kitchen should be without.

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