Top Gear (2002) s21e02 Episode Script

Alfa 4C vs. Quadski

Two swans move their heads about I eat a shoe and James says he's not fat.
I'm not fat.
Welcome, everybody.
Hello, good evening.
Thank you so much.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Now Thank you.
Now, our deep and profound love on this show for Alfa Romeo is a triumph of hope over reality.
We always pray that their new models will be brilliant but sort of know they won't be and then they never are.
But what about this? The new and very pretty 4C.
Well, Richard Hammond has been to Northern Italy, in the sunshine, to find out all about it.
Jammy little bu Right, let's get this straight - I'm in a mid-engined, two-seater Alfa Romeo.
The first proper Alfa sports car for 20 years.
And I'm driving it in Northern Italy, on a lovely day.
In theory, things don't get much better.
But, predictably, there are one or two problems.
First of all, it's going to cost around £45,000.
And that's a fair bit, especially as you don't get a V8, or even V6.
What you do get is a turbo-charged, reworked version of the 1.
7 litre, four-cylinder engine from a Giulietta hatchback.
And under here Well, I don't know what's under here cos the bonnet is bolted shut.
It's bolted shut for the same reason this car has no power steering, and no proper climate control - to save weight.
That's why it has the same sort of carbon-fibre chassis as a Formula 1 car.
It's why there's almost no metal in the body at all.
The upshot is, the 4C weighs just 925kg.
That's about half what a Mercedes SLK weighs.
And on a road like this, that really pays dividends.
Oh, come on! Lovely.
Because it's light, it's unbelievably agile.
It changes direction like a kitten chasing a spider.
And because there's no power steering, I can feel far more at the steering wheel and know what the wheels are doing.
It grips .
It doesn't need a massive engine - it's got 237 brake horsepower.
Do you know what? That is enough.
More than enough.
The top speed is 160.
And yet, because of the lightness, it'll do 40 miles to the gallon.
Drop a window, sample the noise.
Oh! Lovely little crackle on the up-shift.
Oh, it's great.
This little Alfa is growing on me with a speed and ferocity that I've never before encountered.
It's just getting under my skin.
Because it's not like anything else Oh, my God! What? What are you doing here? As you well know, Hammond, we receive thousands of letters every single week from viewers and they all say the same thing.
"Dear Top so-called Gear, the Alfa 4C, "is it better than quad bike?" Well, I can clear than one up straight away - yes, it is because quad bikes are slow, ugly, noisy, stupid and incredibly dangerous.
And I don't mean dangerous like you might fall off, I mean like they want to kill you.
Everybody I know, pretty much, who's ever tried one, has been killed by it at some point.
That's as maybe, but we need to settle this, so we're going to have a race.
We're going to race? Yeah.
You on that, presumably? Yeah.
Me in that? Yeah.
Jeremy's proposal was a race from the top of Lake Como to a hotel terrace at the bottom.
I would take the 43-mile lakeside route, whilst he would attempt to go as the crow flies.
Good, you're going to be killed and last.
And so, at exactly 10.
37am, the race began.
Here we go.
Let me talk you through my quad.
It's called a Gibbs Quadski, designed and engineered in Britain, built just outside Detroit and the engine is German - a 1.
3 from a BMW motorcycle.
And you have 40 horsepower.
Doesn't sound like much but like the Alfa, it's light.
Apparently it has the same power-to-weight ratio as a helicopter.
He's mad.
I mean, he doesn't stand a chance.
I know what he's thinking - he's imagining he'll be crashing off-road and cutting corners.
He won't - he'll be bumbling through the woods on little tracks, he'll get stuck, fall off, break a leg - maybe two.
Hammond was wrong.
My legs were fine, but I had got into a bit of a pickle trying to find a shortcut.
Totally lost.
Literally no idea which No idea.
I'm just in weeds Oh, now which way? With Jeremy stuck in the undergrowth, I had time to admire one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Ah! Mountains, pretty village - all present and correct.
Coming through.
See, this scooter rider will not mind me whizzing past in my Alfa Romeo, because I know he loves Alfa Romeo just as much, if not more, than I do.
We have to love Alfa, it's the law.
Meanwhile Oh.
No, wait.
Many nettles.
This may have a top speed of 40 but I'm not doing that now, really.
Happily, however, Hammond was about to discover one of the Alfa's drawbacks - its girth.
Oh, no! Oh, my God, this is narrow! Oh! That's This car is wide.
That's a problem.
So what were they thinking when they've got streets like this? I mean Oh! Still, could be worse.
Oh, no! Now look what I've done.
I've accidentally crashed into Lake Como.
But it's OK, because if I push this little button here .
the wheels have folded up and now I'm on a jet ski.
Oh, and it gets better because, on land, it has 40 horsepower, but here on water it has 140.
I know exactly what music we have to play right now.
We are sailing No, not that! Cue the Bond! MUSIC: "James Bond Theme" by John Barry Here we go - 45 miles an hour! Hammond, wherever you are, you can't beat this.
Really narrow.
Really wide car.
I'd like to be driving something narrower now, like a bus.
Right, clear of town, press on.
So let's just get this straight - I'm wearing a wet white shirt and I'm in a lake - I'm Mr Darcy! Come on! There is Richard Hammond.
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! I'll slow down a bit.
'Hello? Hello?' Er, hello.
Where are you? 'To your left, mate, to your left.
' You can't be to my left.
How can you be to my left? What? 'Have you ever seen anything like this?' What are you on? Is that the same quad? It certainly is.
And I'm afraid I must now say goodbye.
See you soon.
' Cheating sod! He can just go straight across the lake now.
I've got to go all the way down the bottom here and back up the other side.
I'm going to lose this and he's going to do his stupid smug face.
Spurred on by the horror of his face .
I put the hammer down.
Come on, little Alfa.
We were neck and neck, but then Jeremy got distracted by an Italian ferry.
Look at that! What a machine.
I'm sorry I'm hearing the Bond music again now.
You want a race? I'll give you a race.
Oh, come on, I can't lose this! By this stage, I'd disentangled myself from the hydrofoil, but had run into another problem - Lake Como's weird winds.
Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! I think we've got some chop.
Wow! I've lost ten miles.
Aw! Ow, my back bottom! Wow! Wow! They slow you down a bit.
Oh, my That was a big one.
I'm now down to 15 miles an hour, and I can't realistically go any faster, cos I can't see where I'm bloody going.
The vicious chop had put Hammond back in the lead.
We have to beat him.
Thankfully, on the lake, I'd found calmer water.
We are back in this race.
There he is.
There is Richard Hammond.
Oh, no! Oh, no! Oh, no! Oh, no! Goodbye, Hammond.
He is history.
It certainly seemed that way, because pretty soon the hotel was in sight.
There it is, there's the finishing line.
So, I was definitely going to win this.
But then I realised the victory would be a bit hollow.
Obviously, I want to beat Hammond, of course I do.
But I don't want to beat that Alfa Romeo, because, to me, Alfas are special.
They're really special.
This is a bit like having a running race with your four-year-old son - yes, of course you can win, but you don't really want to.
It's not far now.
Little Alfa, I think we have to accept the inevitable.
He's not there, is he? In a few minutes, Hammond would arrive and see my Quadski moored alongside the hotel's jetty.
Damn and blast, I'm going to win this.
Nothing I can do.
But then I spotted a hidey-hole.
Yes! Sometimes I stagger even myself with my genius.
Oh, no.
Oh, no.
I'm so sorry.
Right, where is he? This is the terrace.
Up here maybe.
Do you know what? He no here.
I don't know how.
What I've done is win .
in that little Alfa.
Hammond! Mate.
Well done.
You beat me fair and square.
I did.
In the Alfa.
Do you know? I would have bet £1 million when I overtook you, I was going to win.
Your question is answered.
The Alfa 4C is better than the quad bike.
Yes, but we saw you lose on purpose.
A bit, just a bit.
Did you not like the jet ski, Quadski thing? Yes, it's brilliant.
Do you know, the best thing about it is its reliability.
It performed faultlessly all day and then it performed faultlessly all the next day when we had to rerun the race because an American knocked the camera with all the film it into the lake.
Really? I was on this thing for two days, two days.
By the time we finished, my sausage looked like a beaver's tail.
Right, um, is it expensive? What, my sausage? No, the thing.
Oh, the thing, yes, it's £26,000, but, no, hang on, you do get a lot of health and safety warning notices for that.
This is my favourite down here.
It's warning about what you have to wear and it says, hang on, "Normal swimwear does not adequately protect against forceful "water entry into rectum or vagina.
" He's not making that up.
It says vagina on it.
Excuse me, does anyone mind if we talk about the car for a bit? It's a car show and everything.
Good, cos I've got some questions about this.
How wide is it? It's wider than a Range Rover.
Is it? Seriously? Very wide.
And let me get this straight, Alfa Romeo is selling a car where you can't open the bonnet? Yeah, I know.
It is, yes, but that's not the interesting thing about it.
What is the interesting thing? Well, it costs £47,000, but when you get in it, everything feels just feels a bit cheap and plasticky.
Look at this handbrake, it's just It's like something that came out of a cracker.
You know, if I got the handbrake in a Christmas cracker, I'd be a bit disappointed.
You know what I mean.
Yes, I do.
It's just that there are a lot of EU rules coming very soon on fuel efficiency and emissions and so on, and the only way that cars can meet them is if they get very, very light.
And pretty soon, all cars will have to be made like this, but do you know what? I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.
Yes, you get a shonky handbrake, but your car is more nimble.
It's faster and it's more economical.
And for the ultimate expression of that art, later in the show, we have a review of this - the new McLaren P1, which is astonishing.
Well, I am very much looking forward to that, but first it's the news.
Now Kia is working on something called "gesture control".
It's very interesting, because of instead of having buttons all over the dashboard of your car, you just sort of wave your hand around a bit, and the car will do stuff.
Very futuristic.
Yeah, but I only make three gestures when I'm driving a car.
What? One of them is which means I'm really sorry, I didn't mean to do that.
Then there'shi, to a friend.
And Call Jeremy Clarkson.
Or navigate to James May's house.
Oh, now, nowyou know those motorway gantries that are supposed to be used to tell you about stationary traffic ahead or ice, but they're actually used for telling you stuff that doesn't matter.
We've got a picture of one here - "Check your fuel level.
" It might as well say, "Wash your hands after going to the lavatory.
" "Brush your hair.
" Well, anyway, the committee that decides on what messages flashed up - and it is a committee, we checked - has been told to stop doing that sort of thing, OK, because the government says it's distracting.
But it isn't distracting, it's irritating.
Scarlett Johansson in a short skirt on a windy day on a motorway bridge, that is distracting.
That would be.
It's distracting now.
It's distracting me right now.
I think what would be distracting would be painting the surface of the motorway so it looked like the opening sequences of Doctor Who as you drove along.
That would be really distracting.
I think they should use those signs to put up a pub quiz questions as you drive past.
That's a really good idea.
What, and then you'd have the answer on the next one along? Yes, journeys would just fly by.
"ooh, I don't know.
" And then you get the answer.
That's brilliant.
Yes, thank you.
Not if my little sister set the questions.
Why? Because you'd get the question on one, and then the next one would go, "Oh, come on, you must know that!" Please can we move on? I'd like to talk about this.
It's the new Corvette Z06.
Oh, yes.
Supercharged V8 6.
2 litres It's got a magnetic ride control, electronic diff, carbon fibre.
All the hi-tech stuff you get on a European sports car But does it have the European self-restraint, though, does it? It's a bit more shock 'em all than stiff upper lip.
Yes, but look at it.
No, Hammond, you can't drive a Corvette in England.
It's like talking in a lift - you can do that in America, you can't do that in Britain.
In fact, we should have signs at Heathrow telling American visitors, "Please drive on the left and don't talk in lifts.
" Yes, yes, whatever, but I think that looks stupendous.
Yes, yes, it would look stupendous in Texas, but it would look ridiculous in Tewkesbury.
It would.
Hammond, if you bought one of those and drove it around England, the next thing you would be hanging up a Confederate flag outside your house.
I did paint a Confederate flag on the roof of my Toyota Corolla when I was 17.
Where were you? Ripon.
North Yorkshire.
What? It looked brilliant.
Let me just get this straight.
You drove around North Yorkshire in a crappy little Japanese hatchback with a Confederate flag on the roof? Yes.
A symbol of slavery.
Ladies and gentlemen, I didn't realise - I just thought it looked nice.
The base model of this - not the Z06, the normal one - 60 grand? 62, yes.
Well, for about the same sort of money, you can have this, which is the new Jag.
This is the F-type Coupe.
That's around the same sort of money, and I put it to you that what we have here is a lovely piece of double Gloucester on a water biscuit.
Your Corvette is 600 kilos of .
Monterrey Jack on a taco.
Yeah, that's right.
I'd rather have that.
You'd rather have the Monterey Jack, wouldn't you? Yes.
Hang on a minute.
Surely it's 600 kilograms of Monterey Jack on a taco with a strawberry on top.
At as long as there's a strawberry on top.
Are there any Americans here? Whoo! You are.
Oh, we've wondered about this for years.
Why do you put these on everything? Because they taste good.
Yes, but not on a shepherd's pie.
This is not an exaggeration.
I stayed in a hotel in LA.
I had to have some dry cleaning done, and when it came back in the morning, it was all wrapped up, and there was a strawberry on it.
What, on your dry-cleaning? On my dry-cleaning.
Now, this isn't news - it's a question.
Why is the world still incapable of working out a way of dispensing petrol? Anyone been to America? Well, you've all been to America, I suppose, at some point.
You go into a petrol station there and you have to pay for the fuel before you fill your tank.
Well, you don't know how much you want or how much it's going to take.
Yes, but I hate those European stations where they have those automatic credit card ones.
Don't work.
Never ever work.
The other one that doesn't work, and especially in France, are those ones where you're supposed to put euro notes in a little slot.
You put it in and it goes, "Nnnngh! Nnnngh!" Oh.
There's a lot of people doing that, and it goes, "Nnnngh!" I'll give you the worst scenario, James.
Worst scenario is, "Nnnngh!" "Yes, there we go," get the pump out, "Nnnngh!" But the worst country in the world for filling up with petrol is Britain, because petrol stations here now are also supermarkets, which means that people pull up at the pump and then go and do their shopping.
Well, that is exactly why I was late this morning, cos I pulled up behind the car that was at the pump ready for my turn and I knew who it was through the window - it was a woman and she was doing the whole weekly groceries shop - and she came out with the four massive carrier bags, and I thought, "That's finally it," and then she went to the cash machine Oh .
sorted out Greece's national debt with her card.
I am a patient man, but even I I was thinking, "I want to put your head in a brown paper bag and bludgeon you to death "with the blunt end of an axe.
" That's quite bad.
Do you know? My question is petrol stations is - and we could ask this here - and it's mostly women, what do you do in the 15 minutes between getting into the car and driving off? I know what it is, I know what it is.
What? I watched it.
She turned round and she put her handbag on the back seat, fair enough, but then interfered with it for some time.
Doing what, though? I suspect women try to make sure their handbag doesn't fall over, which I don't understand, because women's handbags are not well organised, so it doesn't matter if it falls over.
I reckon I could put a house brick in a woman's handbag, and she would not know it was there ever.
Have you got handbag with you? No.
You haven't? Anyone got handbag? It's in the car.
That's a shame, because I was going to do this game.
I was going to put my car keys, and it's a Jag this week, in your handbag and then, if you could find them by the end of the show, you could have the car.
You wouldn't be able to.
Two angry old men rampaging on about petrol stations.
Him and his cardigan, him just him.
Now, as I'm sure you know, after 13 years, the British military forces are pulling out of Afghanistan.
What you may not know is that that operation has been the biggest deployment of British military vehicles since World War II.
Now, bringing that lot home is quite a big job, so I packed my tin helmet and went out there toget in the way.
'If you want to get a sense of just how big the British involvement 'in Afghanistan has become, 'you just have to look at the size of its main base - Camp Bastion.
' In 2006, when British forces arrived here, it was just a scrap of desert with a few tents in, but now look.
It's the size of Reading.
'And inside its 25 miles of blast-proof perimeter wall 'alongside the few comforts of home, 'you'll find a vast armada of vehicles.
'At its peak, the number was 5,000.
' We've got a few of them here.
The names will be dimly familiar from news reports.
That is a Ridgeback, that is a Mastiff, then you have a Foxhound, the pale-coloured one is a Husky, and that weird-looking thing with the tracks on over there, that is a Warthog.
Don't expect cute and cuddly names like Panda or Fiesta - everything here is named after a dog, except the Warthog, which is named after a warthog.
'To keep the wheels turning, the Army has built this enormous workshop, 'which, at full strength, carries £60 million worth 'of spares and employs 'Bastion even has its own purpose-built 'driver training ground, approved by a squad of driving instructors.
' The sheer size of this operation is truly impressive, but equally fascinating is what the Afghanistan campaign has done to Britain's military vehicles.
'It has brought about the biggest change in a generation.
'When the British first arrived here, their staple patrol vehicle, 'the Snatch Land Rover, offered woeful protection against IEDs.
'In 2009 alone, 79 soldiers fell victim to such devices.
' 'The 29-tonne American-made Mastiff offered a quick fix, 'but in Leamington Spa, 'a small British firm devised a more 21st-century solution.
' This is a Foxhound and it's very clever, because it's actually made out of armour.
It's not a normal vehicle to which armour plate has been added.
It's sort of armour monoblock, if you like.
'The Foxhound also has a V-shaped hull to deflect mine blasts 'and thanks to its state-of-the-art armour, it weighs 'just seven and a half tonnes, 'which makes it a featherweight around these parts.
' To drive, is pretty much like an off-road car.
It's a positive mountain goat, this thing.
'Now, history will record that government bureaucrats 'dragged their heels over the military vehicle crisis 'in Afghanistan, 'but the boffins who developed the Foxhound certainly didn't.
' This machine was designed, engineered, tested, proved and got on the ground in large numbers in just over three years.
Try doing that with a small hatchback or something.
'Alongside the Foxhound '.
the military drew on a policy 'called Urgent Operational Requirement or UOR, 'which saw them combine operational demands 'and the best vehicle-related suggestions from soldiers on the ground.
' Here's a very simple example of UOR - this is a Mastiff.
It's got cameras mounted on the sides.
Commander Buzz here can look at the pictures on his screen.
On the early ones, they were originally mounted.
When you went through things like villages, they got smashed.
So somebody said, "Why not put them on a hinge?" So they did.
'Soldiers also needed their vehicles to be more stealthy in the dark.
'So a night-vision system was developed 'that would allow them to switch off their headlights.
' I'm now driving the Mastiff completely blacked out but using the night-vision system suspended in front of my face.
And this is quite amazing.
This is actually my eyes.
I can't see a single thing through the windscreen.
'These lamps on the outside are infrared 'and illuminate the surrounding area.
'Our camera can see the light they emit, 'but it's invisible to the naked eye.
' We ought to point out that normally, we wouldn't even have these red interior lights on.
Those are there so our cameras are working properly.
But actually, you could drive this.
we could be completely black in here, couldn't we? Yeah, complete blackout, yeah.
Right, so I've missed those what are those, are they rocks or are they? Yeah, they're just in front of you.
Straightening up, sir.
See that compound ahead of us? Yeah.
You want to be going round to the left of that.
I can see that as clear as day.
It's a good piece of kit, isn't it? It's brilliant, isn't it? 'Now, on a machine is heavily armoured is a Mastiff, 'the protection against roadside bombs is good.
'But Afghanistan threw up another issue that needed sorting.
' What if the vehicle is blown over? How do you train for that? Well, what you do is you build one of these.
It's a RODET - Roll Over Drills Egress Trainer.
Oh! And I think we're upside down.
'All these improvements have had a dramatic effect on military motoring out here.
' Since the new generation of PMVs was introduced - that's protective military vehiclesthe Mastiff, the Foxhound, the Husky, the Warthog, all those things - there have been over 1,000 survivors of IED strikes on vehicles.
And a senior British officer admitted to me the other day that, in the old days, when we had the soft-skinned vehicles - the Snatch Land Rover and so on - that might have been more like three casualties per vehicle.
'With our troops now coming home, 'this stuff is too valuable to leave behind.
'So a massive operation is under way to bring it back to Britain.
'At forward bases like this one, all the vehicles and spares 'are being gathered up for the drive back to Bastion.
'Which meant that, in the middle of the night, 'I found myself in a convoy of returning vehicles 'in full Ross Kemp mode.
' We're in a Mastiff.
We're in a convoy of 31 vehicles.
These legs belong to Sue, who's up the top on the gun, keeping lookout.
Morning, ma'am.
Is there room for two of us up there? We can give it a go.
Right, I'll move this way a bit.
There we go.
I don't think we're going to fit on.
I've pulled something off.
I'm not fat.
What's to stop somebody Cos we can't really see very much out there.
What's to stop somebody out there just taking a shot at you? Absolutely nothing at the moment.
So they're out there somewhere.
They are.
There're not that far away.
When was the last time a roadside bomb went off on this bit, do you know? Very Very recent.
Very recent? Very recent.
'Daylight found us still in one piece, 'and back within the walls of Bastion, 'the packing-up process could begin.
'Alongside a strip-down service, 'each vehicle gets a 24-hour-long jet wash.
'Biological decontamination.
'And, at the very end, its own passport.
' And look at the size of it.
All these pages, all these signatures, everything signed off.
Every single vehicle and piece of equipment has one of those.
And there are over So don't complain next time you have to tax and MOT your car.
'For some poor souls, the new machinery came too late.
'But the military has responded to the brutality of this conflict.
' 'And the vehicles we're bringing home from Afghanistan 'are much better than the ones we went out with.
' And there it is.
The big military Foxhound.
Or, since the Army loves an acronym, the big MF.
Anyway, it's now time to put an S in our RPC.
Britain has produced many great Toms over the years - Daley, Jones and, of course, Mas the Tank Engine.
But, tonight, our Tom is the newest of them all.
He's from Thor and Avengers Assemble and War Horse.
Ladies and gentlemen, Tom Hiddleston.
How are you? Very well, thank you.
Look! Thank you.
Thank you.
Have a seat.
Thank you.
I was half expecting you to ask the audience to kneel before you.
Not here.
I haven't got my horns with me.
So let's get on to your car history if I may.
Yes, sure.
Your first car, then, what was it? It was a Peugeot 106.
Mmm(!) Yeah.
It was quite adventurous.
Mmm(!) 1.
Wow(!) Really phwoar - when you floored it, you felt it.
It was a 1.
1 what? They always had silly names.
Yeah, there you go.
Sounds like a washing powder.
It sounds like lemon juice.
It does.
I bought it with my first pay check for some TV work that I got while I was at university.
And I kept that for ten years.
Ten years?! Ten whole years.
All the way through my 20s, yeah.
But I presume that, obviously, now, as result of you being Loki in the Thor franchise Indeed, yes.
there's no need now to drive around in cars with zesty names? Well, I'm very fortunate to drive a Jaguar.
And as you probably know, I'm part of a campaign that they have recently done.
And they are Weirdly, Jaguar's been part of my life for the last couple of years, cos I keep playing characters in films who drive Jaguars.
What, does Loki drive a Jag? I think Loki drives a spaceship.
Yes, he does.
Is it a Jag spaceship? It is a Jag, I'm sure.
Goes to the petrol station and goes, "Oh, dear, my dear, I seem to have left my wallet at home.
"This is embarrassing.
" I'm sure he would approve.
Caddish spaceship.
No, this Jag commercial, actually, I don't know if anybody's seen it, but have a look at this.
Have you ever noticed, how, in Hollywood movies, all the villains are played by Brits? Maybe we just sound right.
Good evening, sir.
Thank you, Mary.
We're more focused.
More precise.
We're always one step ahead.
With a certain style, an eye for detail.
And we're obsessed by power! A stiff upper lip is key.
And we all drive Jaguars.
Oh, yes.
It's good to be bad.
I have to say, the line I like most in that is Mark Strong's, cos he goes, "And we all drive Jaguars.
" What it should be is, "We all drive Jaguarsnow.
" Right! "As a result of this.
" Yeah.
Or, indeed, a helicopter.
Was that really filmed in London? It was all filmed in London.
It was one of the most extraordinary evenings of my life.
I We were allowed to go over central London about 500 feet.
And the door of the helicopter was open.
And Tom Hooper, who directed it, was sitting behind the camera.
And we were up, banking right, and I was leaning out the window, and a certain point, he said, "I'm afraid we have to cut, we have to change" "OK, good, that's completely fine.
" "Cut.
" Argh! It's really high! You know what I mean? When the cameras rolling, I was like, "I've got this - "more focused, more precise.
" And as soon as it was cut, I was like "Oh, God, the window's open! Someone shut the door!" It is a good point, though.
It's a very good business, isn't it, that is raised in that commercial about the number of vets who are baddies.
Rickman and then Hopkins and you Alan Rickman, Anthony Hopkins I guess it started with James Mason back in the day.
God, I thought you were going to see James May! The world's longest and most boring film.
The undiscovered British villain.
But what is it, do you think, that the Brits bring to a Hollywood movie? I genuinely think it's because Americans think we're inherently distrustful.
They think, "Oh, my God, your accent! You're so sneaky!" Or something.
It's illusion, of course.
They like seeing us fail, I think that's what it is.
That's it.
Cos you have to fail if you're the baddie.
That's probably what it is.
Now, your career began, I believe, at Slough Comprehensive.
It certainly did, yup.
As the front leg of an elephant? I was the front leg of an elephant carrying Eddie Redmayne.
He was grand enough to be the passenger of the elephant.
Really? Yeah.
I was the arse of a donkey once.
And I ended up here as a result of that.
And then you did the obligatory The greatest arse of a donkeyin the world.
That was very good! Sorry, couldn't help it.
No, that was Somebody said that you were a good mimic.
Is that something? It's something I've done.
I've done it my whole life.
I remember, when I was a child, they used to have a double tape deck, and I would record my own radio show, with all the different voices.
They were basically voices of people I'd heard of the telly, you know.
Phillip Schofield's and Could you still do Phillip Schofield? I don't know.
I don't even know if Actually, don't bother.
I wouldn't know what he sounded like.
Throw me another one.
Anthony Hopkins.
Oh, Tony Hopkins Yeah.
Have you had him on the show? Top Gear.
Yes, I'd love to be on the show.
I'd like to drive fast around a track.
Being taught to drive by The Stig, great man, great man, I'd love to do that.
Let's think of some more names.
Anyone got any more names we can fire? Try to make them men, cos that's probably easier.
What? Arnold Schwarzenegger? Arnold Schwarzenegger.
What was that? Paul O'Grady.
I think I'll go for Schwarzenegger.
I'm trying to think of something he says.
I know now why you cry.
That sounded a little bit like Peter O'Toole.
Sorry about that.
I know now you cry.
That is quite a skill.
And what are you doing now? Anything exciting? I'm just finishing a run of Coriolanus in the West End, which I've enjoyed hugely.
And I'm about to go to Toronto to make a horror film with Guillermo del Toro If you know him, the Mexican director who directed Pan's Labyrinth.
Who did one with Tilda Swinton as well just recently? That's correct.
There's a film called Only Lovers Left Alive, which is coming out in the UK, I think, on the 21st of February, and it's basically a love story.
Tilda and I play a couple who are vampires, so Oh, it's about a vampire film? It's a vampire film, but were vegetarians, we don't bite.
Vegetarian vampires.
Vegetarian vampires.
This I need to see.
We're much too classy for all that 15th-century nonsense.
Now, I'm conscious of the time, cos I know that you are appearing on stage this evening Mm-hm.
in Coriolanus.
In Coriolanus, yes.
Which calls for you at the end, I understand, to be strung upside down, bleeding profusely.
That's how it goes down, yeah.
Spoiler! Yeah.
It is a 450-year-old text, so I think it's OK.
Did it occur to you when you were driving around the track, if you had an accident, you could save the make-up? If I just roll the car, crash it You could turn up And say, "I have my 27 wounds upon me.
" 27 wounds, blood gushing So, did you crash? I didn't trash, per se.
Because, well, shall we have a look? Let's have a look.
I'm very nervous.
It was very wet out there.
Who would like to see the lap? Yes! Let's have a look.
Play the tape.
Three, two, one Oh, I've stalled the BLEEP! No way! Oh, the shame! Yeah, you've got double first from Cambridge, have you not? In Classics? I did.
I did.
But you can't set off in a Vauxhall Astra? Oh, dear.
Anyway, let's see the finished product, shall we? When you actually set off.
Here we go.
Ooh, that's a lot of clutch.
Come on.
Come on! BLEEP.
Come on! God Almighty, that's wet.
Doing well, though.
Go, go, go.
Go, go, go, take the bend hard, take the bend hard.
Use the track.
Yeah, use the track.
God, you've actually got that thing sliding.
Normally, it's got very good grip.
Yeah, it was very puddly out there.
I'm for ever driving in puddles.
Right, could you see the lines at the Hammerhead? Yeah, just about, cos it was very tight.
Very difficult.
Hugh Bonneville was here last week.
He said he couldn't see the lines cos it was so wet.
It's weird in England Yeah.
to have two wet days(!) Floor it.
You're not doing it flat.
Come on! You are! No, you're not.
I was going to say, that's ballsy on a day like today.
Stupid but ballsy.
Ooh, the tail coming out.
You are very committed to this.
There you go.
Second to last corner.
That's very nicely done.
A bit safe, a bit safe? No, I disagree.
There we are, across the line.
Now, we've only ever had one wet lap, which was last week - Hugh Bonneville.
So where do you think you've come, bearing that in mind? Oh, I'm a bit worried I haven't beaten Hugh.
It'd be nice to be somewhere around that, that area.
Right, somewhere around that There's Ron Howard.
He directed Rush.
He did.
Ron Howard - that was dry.
He was just basically hopeless.
Hugh was 1.
And you, Tom Hiddleston, Which is good.
That's good? OK.
40 .
but only just.
Oh! There we go.
Well All right.
Thank you.
In the wet? Very wet.
Thank you! I got a V.
Special very wet.
Well, I must let you go, which is a shame because I'm much enjoying all of this.
Ladies and gentlemen, Tom Hiddleston! Thank you.
Now .
this is the brand-new £866,000 McLaren P1, probably the most advanced and jaw-dropping car the world has ever seen.
The attention to detail in this thing boggles the mind.
It is It's almost science fiction.
And so, there was only one place on Earth where I could test it properly.
This is Bruges.
It's a quiet, friendly, cobbled sort of place.
And it's just a stone's throw from Brussels, home to all the environmental EU law-makers.
All of which makes it an ideal starting point for my test of the new McLaren.
Because behind the front seats there are 324 laptop-style batteries which power a silent, polar-bear-friendly electric motor.
This means that even the most frizzy-haired sandal enthusiast would welcome this car into their city centre.
It's like that other two-seater electric car, the G-Wiz.
It's Al Gore with a windscreen wiper.
Do not think, however, that it has the get-up-and-go of Jabba the Hutt.
Because the electric motor in this produces a whopping 176 horsepower.
That's about what you get from a Volkswagen GTI.
So it's pretty nippy.
The only problem is, that after just six miles, the batteries will be flat.
So you'll need to plug your car into the mains and sit about eating a chocolate shoe for two hours until they're charged up again.
Or if this doesn't appeal, there is an alternative.
Because, you see, the P1 is fitted as standard with an onboard petrol-powered generator.
And it is quite a big one.
In fact, it's a 3.
8-litre twin-turbocharged We push this button There it is, firing up.
And the great thing is, it's not just charging the batteries.
It's also working alongside the electric motor to power the wheels.
So the P1, then, is not like a G-Wiz at all, in any way.
Thanks to that generator, you can take this out of a city centre and onto the open road.
And that's another reason I've come to Belgium.
Because there are so many roads to choose from.
Belgium has three times as many roads and 50% more cars per square mile than we do in Britain.
And the stats from this remarkable country just keep on coming.
There are so many miles of street-lit motorway here that Belgium is officially the brightest country on Earth.
It's a little-known fact that Buzz Aldrin's first words when he set foot on the moon were, "Good God! You can see Belgium from up here!" I made that up.
On the road I chose, there was rain.
There was sunshine.
There were clear stretches.
And there were traffic jams.
And the McLaren was quiet and comfortable through it all.
But it was not what you'd call luxurious.
It is, frankly, as well equipped as a pair of monk's underpants.
And that's because, like the Alfa we saw earlier, this car was designed to be as fat as Iggy Pop.
Inside, there's no glove box and no carpets.
The glass is just 3.
5mm thick, the glass in normal cars, except in the back windows where there's no glass at all.
No lacquer is added to carbon-fibre trim to save 1.
The whole chassis weighs less than James May.
The trimmings are titanium, and the body is made from just five panels, which means less glue and fewer bolts are needed to hold it all together.
All of this means that, despite the bank of batteries and the fact it has two engines, this car weighs less than a Vauxhall Astra.
That, of course, makes it economical.
And fast.
Really fast.
Mind-blowingly fast.
Oh, my God! Ohhh! The speed, in fact, is the main reason I brought this car to Belgium.
Because Belgium is home to this place.
Spa - the longest, wildest racetrack on the F1 calendar.
How can they make something go this fast?! OK.
OK, let me just slow it down while I explain what's going on here.
The electric motor and the big V8 generator are working together so that I have at my disposal Ohh! Obviously, I've driven a Bugatti Veyron that has more than that, but a Bugatti Veyron Oh! .
it has four-wheel drive and it weighs more than most mountains.
This is rear-wheel drive, and the only significant weight comes from the air passing over the body.
Flat in a Formula 1 car.
Not flat in this.
Oh, they should have called this the Widow-maker! The throttle is a hyperspace button.
Step on it and you're gone.
And yet, somehow, even in this appalling weather, it got round all of the corners without crashing once.
So, how? Well, that's partly because it's made of stuff from the future.
And partly because it's clever.
It adapts.
It moves around to suit its environment.
As the speed climbs, the rear wing rises to generate more downforce, but as you go past 156mph, it starts to go back down a little bit, otherwise the weight of the air passing over it would be so enormous it would break the suspension.
Then you have the exhaust, which works with the rear diffuser to generate an area of low pressure into which the back of the car is sucked.
The wheels are made from military-grade aluminium.
The brake discs from a material that's only ever been used in the Arianespace programme.
And they're coated with something called silicon carbide.
Apparently it's the hardest substance known to man.
Apart from dried Weetabix, obviously.
And then, the whole thing sits on four tyres that were designed and made by Pirelli.
All of this means you really have the confidence to open it up.
This thing goes from 0 to 160mph faster than a Golf goes from 0 to 60.
Bloody hellfire! And as you hurtle round in a puddle of your own faeces, girning like an infant, the car is working on ways of going even faster.
Let me give you an example.
The electric motor is used to fill in the little gaps when the petrol engine isn't working at its best, like, for example, during gear changes or while the massive turbos are spooling up.
And what I find hysterical about that is that McLaren has taken this hybrid technology, which is designed to reduce the impact of the internal combustion engine and is using it to increase the impact.
That's like weaponising a wind farm.
Or buying the Rainbow Warrior and turning it into an oil tanker.
For years, cars have all been basically the same but this really isn't.
It's a game-changer.
A genuinely new chapter in the history of motoring.
In a town, it's as eco friendly as a health-food shop.
On a motorway, it's comfortable and produces no more carbon dioxide than a family saloon.
And on a track, it can rip a hole through time.
And it's all been achieved using something that's been around for centuries - brilliant British engineering.
You could argue that it doesn't have the passion or the flair of a Ferrari, and I'd probably agree with you.
But look at it this way.
It was passion and flair that built the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and it was British engineering that built the plumb-dead-straight Westminster Abbey.
Hair on end.
Great, but weren't we supposed to test that against the hybrids that Porsche and Ferrari are developing? The Ferrari isn't ready.
The Porsche is.
It wasn't when I filmed that.
But it is now.
I shall be driving it on the show in a few weeks' time.
And after you've done that, we're going to put the Stig in both of them and do some time laps around our track.
Now, that should be quite something, I think.
I don't think it will be.
Hey? Why not? Well, because Were you not listening the film? Yeah.
The speed of this is beyond anything I've ever experienced.
It's animal savagery.
It's beyond belief.
Yes, yes, yes, but the Porsche might be faster.
It won't be.
But it might be.
No, but it won't be.
Butit might be.
I guarantee it won't be.
But it might be.
Hammond, I'll do you a deal.
If the Porsche is faster round our track than this, I will change my name, by deed poll, to Jennifer.
Really? Yes.
Promise? Yes.
And on that potential bombshell, it is time to end.
Thank you so much for watching.
See you next week.
Good night!