Top Gear (2002) s15e06 Episode Script

Old British Roadsters

Stasera, Richard indossa un asciugamano.
James e io mangiamo alcune patatine.
E la mosca è nelle nostre auto a prezzi ragionevoli.
INCORAGGIANTE Hello! Hello! Thank you.
Thank you so much.
Thank you very much.
Now, there's a new Ferrari that has come out and the obvious person to test it is, of course, James May, because he actually owns a Ferrari.
Um He does.
He doesn't like to tell people.
Oh no, I have, I just told everyone.
OK, anyway.
Because he likes to keep it a secret, someone else had to do it.
DRAMATIC MUSIC ENGINE REVS This is all a bit strange.
Because the 458 has a paddle-operated gearbox, someone obviously thought that life back here would be a bit complicated if there were traditional indicator and wiper stalks as well, so they've got rid of them.
The buttons which control these things are now on the steering wheel, along with other buttons for the headlights, the suspension settings, the dim dip, the sidelights, the traction control, and the starter motor.
And you don't have to drive very far to realise the problem this creates.
The thing about a steering wheel is, it moves.
So none of the buttons are ever where you left them.
I mean, if I want to turn left now, I have to push this one on the right.
There, that's the left-hand indicator.
And if I want to turn on the lights er No, that's not it.
This isn't like driving.
It's like playing Pelmanism.
And there's more.
You see, there are two screens on either side of the rev counter, so the one on the left tells me all sorts of things I'm not really very interested in and the one on the right is a speedo or a satnav screen.
You can't have both at the same time, so, you know where you are, you just don't know how fast you're going.
This is likely to make life a bit botty-clenching when you go past a speed camera.
Still, at least when you do, and they send you a snap, you'll be able to pin it on the wall, and that will be nice, because my God, this car is pretty.
Of course, you probably think all Ferraris are pretty.
But truth be told, the majority aren't, not really.
Striking, yes.
But pretty? No.
This one, for example, is just vulgar.
And even James's Ferrari, the 430, was a bit wrong.
That smiling front end - it looked like a simpleton.
It should have been called the 430 Speciale Needs.
This, though I think this is the first properly pretty Ferrari since the 308 came along back in 1975.
Interestingly, though, Ferrari say it isn't art.
They say it's science.
For example, they say that when a wheel is turning, it forces air to move around in here, creating a high pressure, so, they fitted these vents here which channel air along here, pushing the car back down again.
They say, too, that these veins here on the front are forced down when the car is going quickly by 20mm and that channels more air underneath the car, creating more downforce.
All that may be true, but I still maintain that those chiselled front wings, the way they go They're like Kristin Scott Thomas's cheekbones.
And it isn't just looks where it leaps ahead of the old 430.
That car produced 483 horsepower, so, of course, you'd expect this to produce a bit more.
Maybe 495.
But you'd be wrong.
Because this produces a stratospheric 562 horsepower.
It would be interesting, therefore, to see how much faster this is then the now defunct 430, but there's a problem.
You see, this is James's actual car.
The car in which he keeps a little brush for cleaning the air vents.
And he said we could borrow it providing we didn't fiddle with any of the settings or make it dirty in any way.
These chocolate bars just go everywhere.
Um anyway, he also said I wasn't to drive it quickly.
He made me promise that I wouldn't, for instance, do a drag race with it and I said, "James, I give you my word, I will not drive your car fast at all.
" I didn't, however, say anything about him.
OK, we're both going to use launch control.
Push that button there.
That absolutely knackers the clutch in a 430.
It will be OK in this, cos it has a double-clutch system.
Whoa! That is nought to 60 in 3.
4 seconds.
James's car is gone! It's just a humiliation! I have no idea how fast I'm going now.
I just know I'm somewhere near Guildford.
So, the new car doesn't just beat the old one, it humiliates it.
Destroys it.
Crushes it.
I think if I'd just bought a 430, I'd be feeling suicidal now.
That sense that you could never drive it again, that you'd just look like such an idiot.
But now it's time to answer the big one.
What's the 458 like as a driver's car? What's it like when you show that glorious, finely-boned nose a whiff of track? You probably think it'll be brilliant.
You probably imagine all Ferraris are magnificent when you put the hammer down, but again, the truth is, they aren't.
The 348, for example, felt like it had tyres made from wood.
The 275 had milk-bottle tops for brakes.
The engine in an F50 felt like it was bolted directly to your spine.
And the 400 was simply awful in every way.
So, the 458, then.
All face and no trousers? Let's find out.
ENGINE ROARS Oh, my God! This is incredible! It just feels so light.
HE CHORTLES I've never used a light, flappy-panel gearbox, but this is just sensational.
What an astonishing car! Because the rear of the car is so planted, thanks to its new suspension system, they've been able to fit super-fast steering.
Bang! The nose just darts in.
Ahhh! What a machine! This is beyond anything.
And listen to that noise.
ENGINE ROARS It sounds like a bear, a burning bear.
I know this is L170,000, and that's a lot even by Ferrari standards .
but I don't care.
I don't care about the bonkers dash, I wouldn't even care if this thing ate one of my legs.
The 458 is one of the all-time greats and I promise I'm not saying that just to upset James.
It really is absolutely, unbelievably, mesmerisingly brilliant.
CHEERING I think that might have been a bit ambiguous, that's the problem.
I really, genuinely believe this.
I think this is better than an F40.
I never thought I'd say that, but it is unbelievably good.
Let me just get this straight, in evolutionary terms, Ferrari started with, like, an amoeba.
Then they evolved a bit to plankton.
Then some sort of creature that crawled out of the slime, that's where James bought in.
Yeah, he jumped in.
Then they leapt forward, really, and what we ended up with is StephenFry with Keira Knightley's face.
So one massive leap.
One massive leap From where James's was to the next one.
Are you finished?No, you are.
Can never drive your car again.
Not in the hours of daylight anyway,mate, no.
No, you can't.
You ate a chocolate bar in my car.
It doesn't matter, you can't drive it anymore.
Anyway, we must now find out how fast, how much faster, this goes around our track then your useless old car that you can't drive any more.
That, of course, means handing it over to our team racing driver.
Some say that he's recently been releasing pop records under the pseudonym of Lady Gaga.
And that under his race suit, he also wears a red G-string and suspenders.
All we know is, he's called The Stig! And, he's off.
No drama, no fuss, launch control taking care of everything.
Already looking better than a 430, or the "idiot's Ferrari", as it's now known.
Smoothly through the first corner, very nice indeed.
More than a woman Was that "bald-headed woman"? Weird lyric.
Right, OK.
Out of Chicago, still looking pretty tidy and very pretty indeed.
And ahead, will this expose any problems? Not a bit of it.
If I had a criticism, it's this car is almost too technical, too precise.
people so in love like you Still, better than a 430.
Now, follow-through, yeah, lovely, around 570 horsepower working hard.
Quick through the tyres and sounding good.
Two corners left.
Like Tom Cruise in IKEA, this car is so smooth, it makes it look effortless.
Through Gambon on all four wheels.
Across the line! OK.
Now Here's James's car, look, the Ferrari 430.
One month, 22 days, uh and nine hours.
So look at that.
Almost exactly the same time as an Enzo.
Kind of makes the Enzo look a bit silly, doesn't it? Maybe James should get an Enzo now? Could be the right car.
Now, just briefly, has anybody this week seen this in the newspapers? It's the most ridiculous I think it was actually an accent thing, because what she actually said was "revolting", but it came out like "fantastic".
No, I think actually what's happened here is they've had to cut the quote to make it fit on the newspaper and they've had to take out "an imbecile but James May is " No, she didn't say that, James, because you didn't say one word to her when she was here.
Or you! Tom Cruise arrived last week, these two, "Oh, Tom, I've got a motorbike as well, "would you like to buy leather trousers and go off into the countryside any drink orange juice?" We couldn't get near to Cameron because she was entirely surrounded by you.
She hugged me three times.
She's an actress, she was pretending, you Muppet.
Not in my mind, she wasn't.
She was remembering the advice.
"Now, Cameron, hug the big monster and pretend it's not scary".
I'm now on her to-do list.
You're on her restraining order list, it's the only list you're on.
Anyway, the news.
As you probably saw if you were watching the Grand Prix coverage last weekend, the Williams team bought Rubens Barrichello a T-shirt.
Here he is wearing it.
LAUGHTER He looks really happy there.
He is really happy.
He's so happy, he's bought the other Grand Prix drivers who have been down to Top Gear T-shirts.
And here's Jenson Button wearing his.
Aw! I think that demonstrates that somebody in Formula One has got a sense of humour.
Makes you wonder, though.
I wonder what Fernando Alonso's T - shirt would say? "I made Felipe Massa give me this T-shirt.
" Did anyone see the Grand Prix last weekend? Yes.
The controversy, for those of you who didn't, rule 39:1, to be specific, says, "No team is allowed to interfere with the race result.
" What that means is you can't tell one of your drivers to pull over and let the other one go by.
To make sure teams don't cheat, the stewards monitor the radio traffic between the pit and the cars.
So Ferrari needed, last week, for Massa to get out of the way and let Alonso go by, so they use a coded message.
Want to guess what it was? Was it, "Felipe, the rain inParis falls in May?" No, it wasn't.
Was it, "The blue badger flies under the crafty cow?" I don't know.
No, it wasn't that.
What they actually said was, "Fernando is faster than you.
"Can you confirm you understand this message?" It's not much of a code, is it, really? If the German navy had had a code like that in World War II, we'd have beaten them in about a week cos it would have said, "Ze destroyers are to the left.
" The interesting thing is the punishment.
You may remember McLaren were caught looking over somebody's shoulder and copying their homework.
They were fined 100 million and had all their points taken away.
Ferrari, for this infringement, were fined Really? That's all they were fined for completely corrupting the outcome of a World Championship? It's disgusting.
The only honourable course of action is for all Ferrari owners all of them, to go outside now and smash their cars up.
I think burn them.
Yeah, and then kill themselves, just because it's the only decent thing to do, all Ferrari owners.
I'm not just saying this because of you've been through, but I think Ferrari were right to do that.
I couldn't agree with you more.
Team orders, they should allow them, no question.
If I ran a team, I'd have one fast car, I'd have me driving around at the back, shooting anyone who tried to lap mewith a BB gun.
That's a team.
Or a paintball gun.
Just fit your second car with a massive wing that nobody can get past at the back.
I'd do that.
Now, Peter Mandelson, you may remember, he introduced the scrappage scheme, the idea being that, if you bought a new car, you could get L2,000 for your old one, irrespective of its actual value.
So many people took him up on his offer, they couldn't crush the cars fast enough.
They were building up on airfields.
We've got a picture of the scale of the problem.
I kid you not.
If you zoom in on the cars here that we are talking about, look at this.
That's a Mercedes A-class.
There's a Mercedes E-class here.
And a nice Freelander there.
I know.
These are just cars.
There's another picture here with some 4x4s.
I'm sorry, but look at that - there are Cherokees and Shoguns.
I know, a Land Rover as well.
The thing is, why didn't they just ring the Taliban and say, "Look, if you stop shooting at us, we'll give you a 1997 Shogun we've got parked.
" We ought to make it clear, that under the scrappage scheme, the cars that were taken off the road have to be scrapped.
They can't be sold.
All these cars HAVE to be scrapped.
All the energy that went into making these cars, now all the energy that's going into crushing them, then the energy that goes into making new cars for people who wouldn't have bought new cars if it wasn't for this scheme.
All true.
The BBC got some stick this week for allegedly over-promoting Peter Mandelson's new book, so let's redress that balance.
Don't buy it.
That's balanced it up a treat.
That's even, it's fair.
APPLAUSE HE MOUTHS WORDS Now, there's a new Nissan Micra out.
And that is the end of the news.
Now, a while back, our producers said to us that we ought to make a film explaining why classic British sports cars like these were so awful and terrible and horrible in every way that people went out and bought hot hatchbacks instead.
But we didn't agree.
We said, "British sports cars weren't horrible.
" And then there was a bit of a row.
Huge row, massive.
What we said to the producers was, "Top Gear is shown all over the world.
"And even if British cars were terrible " Which they're not.
Even if British sports cars were terrible, "we're not rushing around the country saying, "Everything's horrible here.
" Crocodile Dundee never went into the outback and said, "It's too hot and it's full of spiders.
" Jack Bauer doesn't run around America saying, "Don't come, it's full of terrorists", does he? The producers, though, were most insistent.
So they gave each of us L5,000 and told us to buy a classic British sports car with it.
And then we were told to report with our cars to the Lotus factory in Norfolk where, as usual, we would be given some challenges.
'I was the first to arrive in a car from my era - the superb Jensen Healey.
' This is a beauty.
Built by Jensen, designed by the father-and-son team that brought us the Healey 3-litre, styled by the same man who did the Aston Martin Lagonda, and powered by a twin-cam Lotus engine.
You really can think of this, then, as being like one of those old '70s supergroups - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
Will Young, but Oh, hey up.
Here we go.
Speak of the devil.
James, that is magnificent! A TVR-S from your period.
It is.
It's the TVR S2, actually.
S2? Yeah, 170 horsepower, CologneFord V6 from Granada.
No, this was superb.
And the other thing about these Can you open the boot? Yes.
Yes, I can.
You know on the Antiques Roadshow? Yes.
They always look behind the clock face and they can tell who made it.
Yes, the maker's mark.
Yeah, well, normally on a TVR, if you look underneath the carpets or the roof lining or something like that, you often find a clue as to who built the car.
Have you got something?Yes.
There you go.
This was made by a man called Nobby? Nobby, I think.
Yes, Nobby.
You just don't get that on a On a Golf, say.
Or a Ferrari.
'As we admired our wonderful cars, 'Richard arrived in a little gem from his youth - a Lotus Elan.
' Oh, yes! Oh, ho-ho! It's come back, it's come home! Yep, it has.
It's a poetic moment, actually.
The last Elan, here, back at Lotus.
That's terrific.
It is.
I remember when this came out,that square stance it had.
Nobodyhad built a square car before.
No, nobody had done that.
Yeah, there were reasons for that.
The plastic used to shrink and they didn't know that the suppliers had come up with a new plastic that didn't shrink.
So it was wider than expected.
This is ingenuity, making the best of it.
It was the same, the TVR -plastic.
There's something about the plastic body.
The engine in this wasn't Lotus.
No, it's Isuzu.
But that's Japanese - reliable.
When they tested one of these, they ran it round a racetrack for 24 hours straight.
And for 22 of those hours, it didn't break down.
Seriously? 'As we chatted, a challenge arrived.
' You read it, Hammond.
"You will now race around the Lotus test track to see which of your ridiculous cars is best " "Ridiculous"? Steady on.
It actually says "ridiculous".
It goes on.
and then you must put the Stig in a car that wiped your British sports cars off the map - "a Peugeot 205 GTI - and set a time.
" What, he seriously thinks a crummy little French hatchback can beat these purpose-built cars? Have we got to get the Peugeot? It says we've got to put him in it, yes.
'First, though, we did some laps in our classic British sports cars.
' Oh, that this is a stirring scene - three great British sports cars haring across the British landscape.
I love the sound of a twin-cam.
It's engine noise you're hearing.
MECHANICAL GRINDING That's not Oh, deary me.
CLICKThere we go! Yes! I knew there'd be one there if I looked hard enough.
This car is, of course, very light.
It weighs just 987 kilograms because it's made from canoe-building materials.
Sorry, scrap that.
Because it's made from composites.
Critically, the Elan is front-wheel drive because it's just better.
At the same time this car was coming out, Mazda were bringing out the MX-5.
Rear-wheel drive, old-fashioned.
As a result, the MX-5 never REALLY caught on.
I mean it sold in MASSIVE numbers for decades, but it didn't have the same exclusivity that the Elan did, which never sold in the same vulgar, brash numbers.
Sometimes with this engine, you do notice that the oil pressure could drop alarmingly in a fast corner.
It's OK, the engine would never blow up because normally the water pump would go first.
A very useful feature, that.
When you press the throttle in the TVR, there is a slight delay before anything happens.
A lot of people thought this was a fault, but actually it's a very innovative safety feature.
I'll demonstrate.
You're driving along, you press the throttle, the car says, "Are you sure? ENGINE REVS "Oh, all right, then.
" Look at that TVR in my mirror.
And that Jensen, cornering so flat.
A little bit of history for you.
After the Second World War, which we won, Britain was littered with disused airfields, and many of them - like this one, in fact - were converted into racetracks.
And it was on these twisting, turning racetracks that the lightweight, nimble British sports car was sort of developed and honed.
HE LAUGHS 'We could have gone round all day.
'But the producers said we must pull in and post our lap times.
' The time has come, Hammond.
Would you reveal your fastest lap? My fastest lap in my Lotus Elan was 2:09.
That is.
There's no other word.
It felt right here.
TVR S2, my fastest lap time was 2:15.
As you'd expect from the British sports car industry.
That's very good, That's even better The cars have come on, decade by decade.
And now it's time to find out how fast the Stig can go round in this Peugeot 205 GTI.
It doesn't look like a GTI.
No, no, I couldn't geta GTI, so I got a diesel.
And they're basically the same.
Yeah, same thing, pretty much.
OK, Stig, start it up.
ENGINE REVS TYRES SCREECH 'The Stig wound up the Peugeot and began his flying lap.
'Here we go, and Timing!.
go! OK, we're off.
I think the reason I couldn't get a GTI, I suspect, is because they've all rusted away or been crashed or fallen to pieces.
The handling was terrible on those.
They were crashed a lot.
Any faults with your car? No.
Any faults with yours? No.
Did you know, in the whole history of TVR, there is no recorded incident of one ever breaking down? I've heard that.
And here he comes Yes! 2:09, 2:15, 2:17 for us.
RICHARD LAUGHS Well, we seem to have another challenge.
I don't know what it can possibly say.
"You will drive from the Lotus factory, now owned by the Malaysians "because the Britishmade such a mess of everything whenthey were in charge " Come on! That's not strictly true.
to the grave of TVR in Blackpool, via the site of the long-gone Jensen factory in the West Midlands.
"This is a journey of 280 miles " And that, in kilometres, is 5,000.
Just over.
which is impossiblein your cars, but no problem at allfor the Stig, "who will be shadowing you in a practical, well-made, much-faster Vauxhall Astra GSi.
" 'We lined up on the start line 'for our trip across Britain's historic and beautiful Midlands.
' I've never looked forward to a journey more.
We do have a magnificent flag in Britain.
I mean, that one's on upside-down, but beautiful flag.
OK, let the journey commence.
Oh, Lord! Oh, dear! Is that the Astra? That was a known fault,that they would blow up sometimes.
Don't you remember that? Yeah.
I had two friends who had those and they blew up.
Annoying, because if you're late and you think, "I'll get in the car.
" Bang! Oh, dear.
So there we are.
What we can deduce here is the GERMAN-made hatchback - the GERMAN-made hatchback - has exploded.
And all the BRITISH-made sports cars are working perfectly.
Hang on.
What? It won't start.
Oh! 'In a jiffy, though, we got the fabulous TVR going again and set off.
' It is extraordinary, when you look at the British car industry today, to think what it was like in the past.
I mean, in 1913, there were 140 different car makers in Britain.
In 1946, we exported 98,000 cars and imported 63.
Not 63,000- 63 in total.
It just beggars belief that it's all gone so wrong so fast.
Yeah, that's one of the clips that holds the roof on at the front.
Fallen off.
Here's the thing, Lotus has always been about lightness, and by shedding parts like this roof clip that's proven to be extraneous - it can survive perfectly well with just one on this side - it's making itself lighter.
Look at England.
It's beautiful.
I'll just wipe the windscreen so you can have a better look at it.
It's marvellous.
I've just noticed Richard Hammond's number plate, it's an anagram of "liar".
Which today is very appropriate.
Oh, and James's, look.
That's an anagram of "gosh".
That fits as well.
A lot of anagrams going on here.
This is very clever.
The neat venting system around the driver's window here that allows the cooling, refreshing breeze in to keep you alert also allows just enough rain to come in, just to splash gently against your face and let you know, "It's raining, be careful.
" That's a safety feature.
'Another safety feature were the fantastically uncomfortable seats 'fitted to a Jensen, which meant you couldn't drive too far without taking a break.
' Ah! Yep, yep, yep.
There you go.
We've done about 20 miles which, if you're watching abroad, is about 700 or 800 kilometres.
Oh, do come on! And my back I mean, after a distance like that, your back is going to suffer a bit.
a mobile phone fitted.
I imagine it was enormous.
L37, L38 to fill it up.
That's about 50 US cents to fill it.
Just pop that shut.
While they attempt to close my petrol filler cap, I'm going to choose some music for the next leg of the journey.
And a good thing about having an eight-track is that you can't gets N-Dubz in this format, or Basement Jaxx.
It's just good stuff - Blue Oyster Cult, Elton John, Bowie.
They call them the diamond dogs Young girl 'We ploughed on and soon we reached the beautiful city of Birmingham.
' There are more shopping trolleys in the canals here than there are in Venice.
This is right in the heart of car-building territory.
I mean, my grandfather was in the car-building business, everybody was.
'Eventually, we arrived in the beauty spot that is Carters Green, West Bromwich.
'And it was here in this very factory that Jeremy's Jensen was born.
' Think of all the people you've got ramming through doors, full of optimism, "I've got a brilliant idea!" Through there.
'They also made the Interceptor FF here, the first ever four-wheel drive production car.
'It was the brainchild of this man, Major Tony Rolt, 'one of the team behind the glider that was built in Colditz.
' I wonder what he'd actually feel if he could see this place now? He'd probably wonder why he ever bothered trying to escape from Colditz, to be honest.
In the mid-1970s, 26% of the British workforce was employed in some way by the manufacturing sector.
Today, it's 9%.
It's not that we don't make sports cars any more .
we don't make anything.
'As darkness fell, we headed on to our overnight stop.
' I've just realised something, it probably looks as though I'm driving along huddled in a towel to keep warm and dry because the window won't shut and it's raining in, but that's not the case.
The window's open because it's so warm, and the little bit of drizzle - let's not call it rain - is keeping me cool.
'Eventually I became so hot I decided I had to pull over to try to seal the gap.
' Hammond, why are we stopping here? 'Fearful the producers might be listening, Hammond had to think fast.
' Picnic! I fancied a picnic.
Just soak it in, enjoy the view.
Do you want some crisps?Yes, please.
Cornish pasty? Lovely.
See that church? Mmm? That was built in the Italian Renaissance.
Really?You should see the frescoes inside.
HE SIGHS LAUGHTER TAPE DECK CLICKS # All night longYou've been looking at me # 'Picnic over, we cruised to our overnight halt with our cars still running beautifully.
' Oh, well now MECHANICAL GRINDING 'Have you just run something over?' Just a warning noise to tell you you're on full lock.
'That's a safety feature.
' Edit that out.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE We'll pick that up later on.
But now it's time to put a star in our reasonably-priced car.
A couple of weeks ago we had Andy Garcia, last week, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, so we were thinking, "Well, there's no way we'll be able to get a big Hollywood name this week.
" But then we remembered, "Hang on, Jonathan Ross isn't on any more.
" So, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome - star of two of the highest-grossing films of all time - Jeff Goldblum! CHEERING What an honour! Another hug.
Not as good as Cameron's.
Jeff Goldblum, everybody, is here! On our poky motoring show!Thank you.
Thank you.
Wow! What an absolute honour to find someone who's the right size.
Now, obviously we had Tom Cruise last week Yes, sir.
Spoke about fighter planes.
I'm thinking we won't be doing that with you?Fighter planes? No.
Although I was in The Right Stuff Of course you were! I had a little part, I wasn't a fighter pilot You were the man that ran into the room and said "Here comes Sputnik!"Or something.
"It's called Sputnik!" "It's called Sputnik!"That's right.
That was your line.
But of course the films we know you best for - well, there are three big ones, obviously, The Fly and Jurassic Park and Independence Day - you play a boffin.
A what? A boffin, how do we say boffin in American? That must be British speak.
But not really don't say geek.
You can't bring Jeff Goldblum on and call him a geek.
But boffin, that's the British term for Boffin often means Techno person? Mathematician.
I have to ask this, you know Independence Day, you get up there, you insert the virus, how did you have the right lead? Cos I never have the right lead for my computer, and yet you're in this alien spaceship, and I thought that was pretty bloody clever.
I was supposed to be very smart.
You were really smart.
Figuring things out that youdidn't even know I was figuring out.
I was very impressed with that.
So you are over here in London appearing in A lovely play by the great Neil Simon, called The Prisoner Of Second Avenue at the Vaudeville Theatre eight times a week, And ticket prices? Comfortable seats available? Well within their reach.
And we do it until the end of September.
One of the things I'm absolutely fascinated by is, you are a big name, OK? You have appeared in, as I've said, two of the highest-grossing films of all time.
What is it that causes you to say, "I'm going to appear in a play in London?" Why do you want to do that?Well, the theatre in London London is, first of all, one of the great cities of the world, it's just a thrill to be here, and the theatre here has a tradition and a standard of excellence that is the highest anywhere.
And so this isthe height for me.
So it's acting is what we're talking about here, because you have a great love of acting? I do.
Now, cars.
What do you drive now? I've got an SUV Mercedes M-Class.
It's an interesting not so interesting, but here's the story.
In 1990 Whenever the second Jurassic Park came out The Lost World.
The Lost World.
they introduced the M-class, that SUV, Mercedes, in that film.
They were camouflaged and we took them on the adventure.
They told me a few months later, when the film came out, "Hey, if you show up at one of our international sales meetings "and say hello to everybody, we'll give you one.
" I said, "Oh, OK.
" I did like that.
They gave me one and that's the car I'm still driving.
So you just get a free car and then thought, "Just stick with it?" That's correct.
In the meantime I know you have strong feelings about this, but I got a Prius several years ago No, no, no I want to make this quite Since Cameron came here last week, and she's very much in love with me, she's converted me to environmentalism, and I like the Prius now because she's got one.
Sweet, sweet.
Just because she didn't fancy you lot! But I want a new car maybe, and I'm open-minded to what is the most environmental -because I like that idea As do I.
You know? But I want a fun car, too.
Let's see if we can't work out what this car should be.
What should Jeff drive? AUDIENCE SHOUT OVER EACH OTHER A Bugatti Veyron, I'm not sure that fulfils the environmental side of it.
I see you and something Italian.
My older brother had a love affair with the Lancia Aurelia years ago, and had one.
He was a car fanatic, and he was restoring it and tinkering with it every day.
"Tinkering with it" when you have a Lancia is another way of saying "trying to make it start.
" You go to a Lancia and "I'd better just tinker with it and see if I can coax some life into it!" Has anyone else got any more thoughts? An Evo?! Do you How stupid do you think he looks?! An Evo, what? An Evo, It's a car driven by people who look like this.
When you say to them, "What do you drive?," they go, "Got an Evo.
" "Evo.
" "Evo.
" That's it.
You could have one, actually, you're very good at that.
Anyway, we get onto the whole business of the day here.
You arrived and you had, like Christopher Eccleston, the actor, the former Dr Who who came down, he could not drive a manual car.
So we found an automatic.
You say itbroke down? Here's what happened.
They didn't tell me that the automatic, even at its best, would be slower.
Did you not feel that? It's onesecond slower to 60.
I didn't know.
I hadn't done the other one.
But anyway, luckily it broke down and I thought, "Oh, no, what do I do now?" I had to learn the thing, and they told me, "This is going to be a little faster car anyway," so I said, "Oh, that's good.
" So you went to the manual.
Here's what a little bird has told me, you did the entire lap, apart from the start, in third gear? Well, this is the first I've heard that that might not be advisable.
I said I was The great teacher Yeah.
The wizard said The Stig, you mean? Yes! Is he a wizard as well? He can do anything, he's a magical, magical man.
He got me through the first "Here's first, second.
" And I said, "And third?" He said, "Stay in third.
" Now why would the Stig do that? I'm sure he had his reasons.
He was masterful and I adore him, but what happened? It was not good to stay in third? No.
Really no, no, no.
Coming down the back straight, you need to be in fourth and even fifth because the car will go to 100 mph, but not in third.
Well, it will, but valves will come out.
I'm very upset, cos I was thinking I was enjoying it no end, and once I, you know, got the hang of what to do, when you're really pressing it and you're going on, I went, "Jeez, "I wish there was more car under me, I wish it would do more.
" Is it something you've done beforeever, driving around a track?No, no, never.
Never in your life? Never in my life, no.
So who would like to see Jeff's lap, bearing in mind he's never driven round a track before, and was in third the entire way? Yeah! Come on, let's have a look here.
ENGINE REVS AND TYRES SCREECH 'You see there's first and second and third.
' 'I understand.
"That's second, I saw it change.
' All right, baby.
Feeling better with that, er, stick.
'Stick, that's gear lever.
'Oh, late brake.
'Still in third.
' 'Yes.
' 'OK, well, there we are.
'Got round nicely,' very nicely, actually.
Really? Yup.
Can you believe that? Now, watch this! 'Don't say "watch this".
It's the precursor 'to all big crashes when a man says, "Watch this!"' 'Really?' 'But you DIDN'T crash.
' I wish it was faster right here.
I'm putting it to the floor but I wish I had more car.
'That's what I said.
"Go into fourth! 'Second gear here, or are you in third?' 'Third.
I didn't know fourth.
'LAUGHTER I did not know fourth or fifth would give me more power.
'Up to third.
You need to go in second and that would go a bit more.
' I wish I had more speed right now.
LAUGHTER 'The stick, pull the stick! Listen to it! 'Valves are bouncing out through the bonnet.
'Third gear, listen to the little thing! 'You must have been sitting with the revs right on the red line.
'That's a good run through that corner.
That is third.
'And here we go, all four wheels? 'Yes! Very un-Tom Cruise-like and there we are, 'across the line, everybody!' CHEERING It's a whole new thing.
Here are the people who have been around so far.
We have got the 1:44.
2 sitting at the top with Mr Cruise.
And then 1:49.
9 was the slowest we've ever had round here, who is a man called Nick Robinson.
So, where do you think you have come? I mean, I must come last.
I must be in last.
You, yeah, you, yeah.
LAUGHTER Oh, this is a bitter pill.
Because on the track they were saying, as I was doing another lap or two, they were saying, "Jeez, and you just learned.
"This may be a very happy ending.
"Just fix another thing or two " I thought I was breaking records or something.
You were breaking records.
No, no, no, you did it in third gear in one forty- nine dead.
Thank you very much.
Are you pleased, are you proud? Yes.
I'm happy as a clam.
Ladies and gentlemen and what a huge pleasure to have you here, good luck with the play, Jeff Goldblum! CHEERING Excellent.
Now, tonight, we are on a quest to prove that old British sports cars were brilliant.
Meanwhile, our producers are on a quest to prove that the reason they were killed off by hot hatchbacks is because they were better.
So, we now rejoin the action for a safety test at the top-secret Prodrive test track, just off the A 4177 between Honiley and Baddesley Clinton.
It's on the left.
'To try and show us that hot hatchbacks are safer than our cars, 'the producers asked The Stig to get into a Citroen AX GT, 'which would then be dragged by a special cable into the side of a lorry at 50 miles an hour.
' Didn't do well at all, did it? Well, there it is.
That's the benchmark and that is a fail, isn't it? That's a fail, yes.
'We then decided that because we are a team, only one of us actually needed to do this test.
' Should I wear a crash helmet?If anything goes wrong here, a crash helmet will make NO difference, mate.
It'll make it easierto find his head.
It will keep the bits in one place.
This is the safest thing anyone has ever done.
Look at the inertia reel seat belt you get in a Jenson.
Could you just make that go a bit further in the back.
I don't want you to ever say that to me again! You see, how cheerful amI about what I am about to do? Yeah.
Sunrise This is the last day I've got Tony Christie on my eight-track.
The seat belt is on, good, strong, dependable seat belt Oh, I'm off! Bye! I see a mean Oh, I'd better concentrate because I'm going into the lorry.
Brace! Brace! How safe is this car? That's a pass.
That is a pass.
Thank God he wasn't in that little Citroen.
'Having proved, as a team, that our cars are safer than hot hatches, 'we continued onwards and soon, we were in a very special place.
' This is where Richard Hammond was actually born.
This is a beautiful town, Richard.
You are very lucky to have been born here, Hammond.
Am I ever? Fond memories.
Usmania, "complete home furnishings".
That's where the Queen buys all her furniture.
Happy communities.
Man cleaning windows, or is he breaking in? No, he is cleaning them.
'Sadly, my trip down memory lane was interrupted by the producers, 'who said we must go to a petrol station where they would test our cars' waterproof-ness.
' Shakespeare country, this.
I know.
I noticed Shakespeare'sEstate Agents.
Yes, very much.
I presume we're having to do the test of the waterproofing of the cars at a car wash because it so rarely rains in Britain.
When would it happen? So we need to do that, yes.
OK! What is that? Nothing, nothing.
I've parked over an oil spill.
Can I just check that? Is it? Yeah.
You've parked over a bit of hanging-off bodywork as well.
'To try and stop the producers endlessly filming the boring oil spill, James started the test.
' Do your worst.
A lot of people do like to turn up and watch cars being washed around Solihull and Shirley.
Edit that out.
'The TVR passed with flying colours.
' Death Valley.
'And so did the Jensen.
' Nuclear submarines have more leaks than this does.
'So, then, I lined up the Lotus.
' There is a bit coming in, I'll be honest - yeah, some.
Let's have a look.
I'll be staggered if he's dry.
No, It's fine.
I spilt my drink.
Not again? Was it just water? Yes, water and a bit of soap.
'To then prove, again, to the producers why hot hatchbacks were so poor, we asked The Stig 'to take a Ford Escort XR3i through the same car wash.
' Has The Stig ever been to a car wash before? No, it'll bea whole new experience for him.
What do you think? Well, it's got a solid roof.
What is that coming out of the sky now? That's a bit of over-spray from the car wash.
He's coming now, gentlemen.
Here he comes now.
Oh, it's not gone well! Oh, my God! Now I come to think of it, this is the main reason I didn't buy an XR3.
I lost a couple of friends like this.
It's one of the reasons the insurance premiums were so high, it's because of this leaking issue.
'Buoyed by yet another victory, we rolled on up our equivalent of Highway 1 towards Blackpool.
' Oh, God.
Now, this is something, if you're watching this abroad, it's something I have never seen before, roadworks on a British motorway.
That is unusual.
'But then, we were made to turn off Highway 1.
' I don't know why the producers have made us come THROUGH Stoke rather than round it.
But I'm mighty glad they did.
We three can count ourselves amongst the four million tourists visiting Stoke every year.
The car is beginning to smell like I need a picnic again.
What do you fancy? Oil - er, sorry, biscuits? No, I'm fine.
One of the more popular placesin England, this, for a picnic.
The reason is, that house there, you see the lilac one, four along, can you see that? Robbie Williams lives there.
Have you admired it for long enough? Yes, it's a good idea when you stopto check your engine is still there.
Just having a look, it's nice.
Better for seeing that.
Have you had your picnic?I have had a lovely picnic.
I am absolutely full again.
Would you be needing a picnic again? Another hour or so and I'll want a quick picnic before Blackpool.
'Blackpool was just 15 miles away but the producers, infuriated by our good progress, 'ordered us to pull over at a garden centre for yet another challenge.
' JEREMY CLEARS THROAT "One of the main reasons people switched from British sports cars "to European hot hatchbacks, apart from reliability, price, comfort, speed, handling " I don't think so, as we have proved.
is practicality.
"To prove this point, you will load up a Golf GTI with items "from the garden centre and then you will see how much you can get in YOUR cars.
" 'This is a MkI GTI, the first of the breed, the breed that killed the British sports car.
'So, let's see what we can get into that boot.
' Whoa, careful.
I shall open the boot.
We'll just You need to take The parcel shelf down.
There it is.
There we are.
No, you see.
If you can't get a rose arch intoa Golf GTI What can you get in? Exactly.
'After a quick shop, we hit the road and made our point.
' Here's the thing.
If you had gone to the garden centre with a hot hatchback, the biggest thing you could have brought home is a pansy.
I'm going home with a bamboo and a conifer.
TVR, the car that came out of the shed, now, underneath one.
This is awkward.
Her bottom is quite close to my face.
'There was, however, a serious point to be made here.
' We were all rather dazzled by the XR3i and the Golf GTI and so on, but really, it was a bit of a fad.
Nobody these days is saying, "Oh, I'd love an old XR3.
" But a Jensen Healey, a Lotus, a TVR, yes.
'As we neared journey's end, Richard became a bit emotional.
' I think driving to a British seaside resort, Blackpool, in a funny little British sports car with a naked lady statue and a giant urn on the seat next to me, is, above all else, fun.
And for all our serious side, the British have always been rather good at fun.
The whole experience is tinged at all times with the knowledge that we are doing something that has ended.
And finally, we end with James's TVR coming home.
'This is the home in question.
'The factory where it was made.
' This one, I remember.
I remember this.
Because they made them everywhere, didn't they? They were in that one and that one and this one and this one.
It was busy.
Everything got moved It wasn't efficient.
No, but busy and they made stuff.
Oh, my God, look at that.
Ooh, I remember those.
They were Tamsins.
And the grey one was a 3-litre.
That was the Taimar.
Because it wasn't a little burst, was it? It was a few decades.
Same as Land Rover.
That is actually a part of the manufacturing process there dumped on the floor.
A huge amount of work went into making that.
Isn't that the mould for the bonnet of your car? There's nothing quieter than a no-longer-functioning factory, is there? It's particularly noticeable quiet.
I hate it.
My car was in here once, though.
Going through here, being built.
And it was all new and somebody was very excited about it somewhere.
My TVR is coming next week, it's an S2.
What have you found? Some more Nobby work? Yeah! Oh, really? I'll lean on that bit.
JAMES LAUGHS Oh, that's really sad.
Let me just see what the word was? I thought so! 'It was horrible to walk round this industrial wilderness.
'There were so many memories, 'so many thoughts of what might have been.
'There are, of course, good reasons why almost all these great names are gone.
'But after our journey across the width of Britain, 'we really couldn't remember what they were.
' CHEERING AND APPLAUSE The weird thing is, I think, when you drive a car like that, you actually can't help becoming a bit misty-eyed and wistful.
You drive them really with rose-tinted spectacles on.
Exactly, and there was a little piece of music in the first part of the film that summed it up perfectly, they are diamond dogs.
You are exactly right.
And I have to say, this hurts, but, Richard, I think yours was the best.
No, I think James's was the best.
No, I have to disagreewith both of you.
Your car was definitely the best.
It was superb.
Why don't we just say that they wereall the best? Let's agree on that.
And on that unusually harmonious bombshell, it is time to end, not just the programme, but the whole series.
Thank you so much for watching.
Take care.
See you soon.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE E- mail subtitling@bbc.