Top Gear (2002) s22e81 Episode Script

From A to Z (Part 1)

Hello, I'm John Bishop, and this is a caravan.
Welcome to Top Gear: From A To Z.
Once upon a time, Top Gear was a bit dull? Doors very wide, 70% of the passenger compartment Then, in 2002 all that changed.
A new team rolled onto the set, doing 120, and Top Gear became something else entirely.
Whoa-oh-oh! Into fourth.
A car show that refused to be a car show.
I can just see sky, sea, sky, sea! A BBC success story that never felt well, very BBC.
If anybody has an objection to what we're doing here, do, please, feel free to keep that objection to yourself.
This is the definitive guide to that Clarkson, Hammond and May era, an era defined by moments of soaring ambition, ludicrous risks I am now terrified.
Ugh.
and utter, utter silliness.
James and Richard think it's all over.
And they're right! 13 years that pushed the boundaries to the limits and quite a long way beyond.
Car shows would never be boring again.
We are away! Over the next 26 letters, we're going to look at what it was that made Top Gear so extraordinary.
Let's start with a little reminder because A is for I am an alien! I am a driving doll! HE LAUGHS What is Top Gear? What IS Top Gear? Top Gear, entertainment show.
A bizarre telly phenomena.
Oh, God! You can't describe Top Gear in three words.
Big.
Bad.
Bawling.
I wasn't expecting that.
Schoolboy stupid? This is bloody brilliant! Infuriating.
- We welcome homosexual couples.
- Yeah.
We do.
- We particularly like the lesbian sort.
- Oh, God! AUDIENCE LAUGHS Shocking! SNIPER FIRE Pure entertainment.
Controversial.
Guess what, you're in a hick town, man.
We're going to die now.
Experimental.
A fun, wild ride.
BLEEP! Informative? There is still room in the boot for a zebra's head.
Informed a bit.
Educated ever so slightly.
But really entertained.
I am king of the forest.
HE LAUGHS This is fast.
Why don't all cars have no doors? The thing about the world's most popular car show is that it wasn't really about cars at all.
It was about three mates having a laugh, and enjoying the time of their lives, mucking about on a grand scale and getting away with it.
The team had a very simple mantra: it had to be big, it had to be stupid, it had to be almost impossible.
Ambitious but rubbish.
Right, chaps, we've got to get that to jump further than him in the Top Gear Winter Olympics Ski Slash Car Jumping Champio.
LAUGHTER The wall's going to be needed! HUGE LAUGHTER We were a bit short.
I think we probably lie to ourselves and say it's about the cars, but, really, it's just about three fun people cocking around.
HAMMOND SCREAMS Yes! We're still here! It worked! It worked! It worked! We went down a weir! - And we're alive! - What a machine! It's the things that kids would love to do, but they know that it's far too dangerous to even think about it.
And it's things that adults think it's just so crazy that I'd love to watch somebody try and do it.
Do you want to just shoot from in here? Would that be more comfortable? GUNFIRE They've just got the job we all dream for when everyone else is, you know, stuck doing a 9-5 job, they've just been given a budget to just go and mess around.
What you're witnessing here, viewers, is the maiden voyage of the world's first caravan airship.
Everybody wins.
Driving is more fun, caravanning is more exciting.
I think, you know, the best British stuff includes a very healthy sense of, um being able to laugh at yourself.
Being able to accept er, failure.
It's going down.
No! SCRAPING Mayday! Oh, bloody hell, stop! Stop! Stop! So, in order for those real high peak moments, we have to spend a lot of time in the terrible troughs.
And, so, I think this is a show that kind of celebrates those troughs.
In 2007, they almost overreached themselves.
The task was simple.
Take three celebrities to the Brit Awards in chauffeur-driven limousines.
But what do you do if all the limos in town are booked? Simple.
You make your own and you stretch them to breaking point.
Oh, my God.
Hello.
- Mr Lemar? - Yes.
- My name's May, I'm your chauffeur for the day.
- OK.
The question I get asked mostly, wherever I go, more than songs, more than music, more than anything, is was it true what happened to me on Top Gear? Um, this is your car.
Oh, my God! SHE LAUGHS This is your luxury limousine transportation.
It's not what I had in mind.
I saw the limo, and I thought is this is this what it is? I thought, OK, prepare yourself, you know, for what is about to happen.
- HORN BLARES - Oh.
Why's it doing that? HORN BLARING CONTINUES - This is the intercom.
- Yes.
You press that button if you want to talk to me.
If it starts to rain, don't press it, because you'll get electrocuted.
- Are you comfortable? - No.
BLARING CONTINUES I just remember so many people with cameras, like, "Ah, what's going on here with this fancy ?" I'm not sure if you can call it a car.
It was a cut and shut, really.
It was two cars welded together.
MUSIC: Theme From Taxi by Bob James The reason this car will go around these very small corners is because you can steer it from both ends, but I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to sit in the Alfa Romeo and steer.
I just thought what has gone on? - Turn left.
- Right.
Left? Yes, your left.
- My left? - Yep.
HE GROANS That's it.
That's perfect, you see? Straight around a very tight bend.
You see, now, a normal limousine wouldn't go around like that, would it? Sorry about the fan thing, trying to chat you up there.
That was a bit awkward for you, I'm sure, but I can't hear you.
- Ooh! - CRUNCHING AND THUDDING You're crushing it.
There's nothing wrong with it.
Shush.
METAL GRINDS We need to straighten up a bit, so we're crabbing.
Well, I can't, because the old wheel thing is a bit I did think, wow, you know, I don't know how I got into this scenario, or why, but here I am and let's just get to the end and then go to the Brits.
There is a small issue with the congestion charge because, as I'm sure you know, the camera records the rear view of the car.
- Yeah.
- But when they look at the photographs, it will give the registration end of the Saab, but the photograph will show the front of an Alfa.
So, it will look as though somebody with the wrong sort of car for the numberplate has reversed into London.
HORNS BLARE - I can't make this turn, Chris, at all.
- Look where you're going! SHE SCREAMS - Oh, my God! Richard, you're the worst driver! Ha-ha! - Sorry! Whoa.
I'm going to be an hour late or something like that.
First time I'm nominated, Best Male in the UK.
The Best Male.
Come on! - Where are you going? - HORN BEEPS Surely, sir, in the music business, it's fashionable to be quite late.
Nobody ever turns up on time.
There's fashionably late, and there's stupidly late.
BRAKES SQUEAK Ah, now I'm going to let my customer out.
No, on the other side! On the other side! PHOTOGRAPHERS SHOU Sorry about the ladder thing.
The steps weren't ideal.
I'm always asked, you know, "Oh, was it true what happened at the end? "Why did you storm out of the car?" I think, if we go right, I can go around the back.
What do you mean right? People tweet me on Twitter.
- If we go right - Are you doing this intentionally? "Can't believe you're such a jerk!" Have you come to mess up my day?! Come on, where's my Bafta? I'm not taking this any more! Open this damn door! For crying out loud.
BANGING ON DOOR ANGRY MUTTERING Now I'm here today, and you've asked me this question.
I don't get it.
You know I don't understand.
You keep going on about this.
I've just had enough, man! Forget it.
Forget it! DOOR SLAMS, HANDLE THUDS A Scottish lady called Jackie Stewart wrote to us - saying that - LAUGHTER she could get anyone of us to any racetrack in the country in any car, get us to set our best time, and then, she could get us to knock 20 seconds off that time.
He.
- It's a he.
Jackie Stewart's a he.
- Righto.
Anyway Anyway, the point is we decided to accept his challenge.
Only we gave him the most difficult pupil of them all.
Him.
LAUGHTER C is for James May.
But that begins with a J, so we're going to call him by his official title - You know they call me Captain Slow? - Oh, do they? Yeah.
Well, I've seen the bigger guy drive very aggressively.
- Hmm, and not very well, I thought.
- JACKIE LAUGHS Who wouldn't give their right arm to be taught how to drive a vehicle by the legend that's Jackie Stewart? Do you think you can do it? Well, never having driven with you before, it's difficult to say, but I'd be surprised if you didn't turn out to be better than the other two.
I like that.
2 minutes, 26 seconds.
Sod it! Now, come on.
Captain Slow was not a brave driver.
Just kind of really relaxed and kind of, "Oh," loose type of guy.
Now you're going to go short of room here.
James is serious.
He brings in a more kind of practical side.
This is probably what will happen to me in hell.
A TVR, a racetrack and a pedantic Scotsman.
JACKIE LAUGHS It's very difficult to consume information when you're on your limit.
And that's what he was on most of the time.
In, in, in, in, in, in.
Brake.
Brake.
Brake! I'm busy trying to talk him through it.
Brake now, brake now, brake now! Um, because the king of the late breakers is not always the fastest around the corner.
Get all the work done, so that you can concentrate on finding speed in the corner.
All of that took a lot of time.
And, in fact, we filmed the entire day.
From nine o'clock in the morning, it went on till I think 4:30 in the afternoon.
2 minutes, 23 seconds! Power off.
Brake.
Down a gear.
Keep your head together.
Too busy! You feel the car responding badly? Turn it in, turn it in, turn it in.
Power on full.
2 minutes, 15! You want him to do really well.
You can't help but love James, because everything he stands for, "You know what, I'll still give it a go, I'll do my best, but if I lose, hey-ho, we've had a bit of fun.
" Oopsa-daisy.
Don't put the power on till you know you never have to take it off.
2:10.
Now you've got to concentrate.
You're not using the same road as you were before.
Get your head together.
That day, in certain corners, well, in certain laps, Captain Slow was actually creaming it really well.
Go on, full power.
Yes, yes, yes! That's good.
So, he was no longer Captain Slow.
- Good.
That's good.
- Yes! 2 minutes, 09.
I'm sitting at home thinking, you know, I'm not a racing driver.
I can't drive fast.
You don't get the opportunity to do it, so everybody's thinking, "Well, I'm James May.
That could be me.
" - JAMES LAUGHS - Good lap so far, keep going.
In more, in more.
Tease it out.
Full power.
Full! You've just done 2 minutes, 6.
74.
- Hang on, let me just - You've done it.
Yes, yes! I knew it! So, does Sir Jackie reckon he's made James a better driver than the bigger guy? Jeremy thinks he's the best driver.
Captain Slow, I think, will remain to be Captain Slow.
And the other wee guy, a man of average height he could turn out to be the best driver.
For their Bolivia special, the team drove along the Camino de la Yungas.
Which sounds sort of MUSIC: "The Mexican Hat Dance" LORRY HORN BLARES - Oh.
- It goes by another name, too The world's most dangerous road claims around 300 lives a year.
In 2009, it was nearly 303.
- This is insane.
- HORN TOOTS Whoa! The grasses stick up and you don't necessarily see what a long way down it is, then you get one of those little gaps, and then you just see down and it is a long way.
That splashing sound was the BBC health and safety manual landing in the river.
Oh, God, that's real fear now.
I've watched and thought sometimes they are going to go a bit too far.
And, you know, there's always that element of jeopardy I think helped the programme.
God Almighty, that is high.
Oh, gee, look at that.
That's narrow.
There are elements of real drama in there.
You were a bit on the edge of your seat thinking, "This isn't going to end well!" and by not ending well, I mean, you know, bad things could happen here.
Oh, God.
Crosses.
They'd just end up in situations where they just take it They push it just that little bit too far.
And, then, underneath the waterfall, I learned why there were so many crosses up here.
Oh, my God.
No.
Oh, my ! Stop there! And it was literally just crumbling.
The ledge, crumbling away.
I mean, he's pretty brave.
That is going, that is going! Crazy! Crazily brave.
You don't get a second chance.
You don't get a second chance.
I'd like to be hugging the inside.
But, er but yeah, pretty amazing.
Bloody hell.
JODIE: That's why it's the Death Road.
And that's why we love Jeremy.
Whoo! No.
Unbelievable! Moving on now to brown rice eco-cars.
Jeremy is a divisive figure, isn't he? Um, some people think he's like a true British hero, and some people think he's an absolute cock.
This car would be less annoying to eco-mentalists if its engine ran on sliced dolphin.
One thing Top Gear hasn't been known for is its commitment to saving the environment.
Because it hasn't got one.
I mean, it really hasn't got one.
Electric car sales are down by half, which must mean that loonies are fewer and fewer between.
The future is definitely electric cars, because they're silent, and that way Jeremy would get to hear the sound of his own voice even more.
They're all built in wheat-free multiethnic factories with one eye on Johnny Polar Bear, but this just isn't.
Back in 2002, Jeremy might have looked like he had a beard nesting on top of his head, but he was never going to win an environmentalism award.
I think, next week, we won't bother doing anything to do with the environment.
In fact, I think we might kick a couple of barn owls to death just for fun.
Not happy with mooning the environment from the back end of the car, he sometimes had a go with the front end as well.
This Somerset parish thought their tree had been damaged by vandals.
It wasn't until they watched Top Gear that weekend that they realised they were right.
HE LAUGHS Top Gear has always shunned the likes of Greenpeace in favour of not giving a monkeys about the monkeys.
To prove this, they've driven a Land Rover up a virgin peak mountain, hared across protected salt pans, and driven a Toyota Hilux through a polar bear's back yard.
They make you feel very uncomfortable.
At least they make me feel uncomfortable when I see some of the things they do, and they make me feel slightly cross with myself, because I've joined in the laughter, and there's a little bit of me that says, "Hmm Um, that's not really funny, is it?" Well, yeah, actually, it was.
Jeremy must be running on whatever the equivalent of empty is for a battery.
The only thing these boys like to be electric on a car is the windows.
This is the future of motoring here.
Maybe the air con.
Anything else electric should be replaced immediately with something that needs petrol.
But in 2009, the boys realised it was time to take the electric car challenge seriously.
Well, all right.
Not that seriously.
You know that you're about to see abject failure, and utter humiliation which, of course, is what we're watching for.
It's all very simple, really.
I am in charge of the batteries and the electric motor.
Clarkson is in charge, God help us, of the bodywork and interior and Richard Hammond is in charge of the chassis and the brakes.
And there is the precious chassis.
That is the basis of everything we're doing.
Doddle! Look at this.
Batteries, but here's the clever bit.
They are recharged by that.
That is a diesel generator.
- That means that you'll never run out of electricity.
- Exactly.
It's a diesel electric, I got the idea from old railway locomotives.
I think that that's where they're very clever.
They can slip in that piece of technical information that would normally bore people, you know, unless you're really interested in that, in such a great way that you don't realise you're being educated.
Did I just say that Top Gear educated me? That's brilliant.
It's a hybrid.
We've built a Prius! You don't think the producers are - No, they wouldn't do that! - Part of its genius was that it looked so kind of like an idea that you would cook up in the cafe or the pub, but you know behind the scenes and, you know, let's pay tribute to what must have been and is an exceptional production team.
How fast is that? Barely ten.
You've built a car that will only do 10mph? Actually, that wasn't such a bad thing, on account of a design flaw with Jeremy's shiny bonnet.
THEY YELL AND EXCLAIM My head's being cooked in a box! You do realise Oxford loathes the motorcar, but this one will be welcomed.
They will think that it's the second coming.
Hippy, a hippy.
See the happy hippies! Did you see the cyclist smiling at us? I would love them to have something that gives us some credibility for sort of exploring the electric car option, but they ain't going to do that, cos that's not them.
In the end, the boys decided their hideous hybrid was ready to sell on the open market.
And that meant it had to pass one or two safety tests.
This is designed to measure how a car will stand up to being sideswiped by a bus or a truck.
Frankly, it was hard to see how we could possibly pass this, but then James came up with a plan.
- Right, the camera - Uh, yeah.
A plan that would fool even the most astute EU bureaucrat.
- PRODUCER: Action! - ALL: Wow! Wow! Wow! PRODUCER: Pendulum.
Now our car is going to face the fearsome pendulum test.
PLAYED BACKWARDS: Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow, indeed.
I love engineering, I love tech, and it's unusual to have a programme that's involved with tech that's that entertaining.
I think it must be kind of great to be in the Top Gear ideas department, if such a thing exists, because, just having to come up with new ideas for, "What can we do to cars this time?" They seem to keep coming up with amazing ideas, but I suppose they do get more and more ridiculous.
You're tempted to go further and further with what you're doing.
I think Britain has always had a great tradition of pushing boundaries with new technologies and I think these three presenters from Top Gear are absolutely in that same vein of that tradition.
Who thinks of sending a Robin Reliant into space? I mean, it's just genius.
In 2007, Top Gear went where no car show had gone before.
Clanburne Military Training Ground, just off the A68.
Right, gentlemen, what we want from you is THE most difficult type of space rocket, a space shuttle.
If you can make all this work and we can bring it into this controlled landing, we will probably get funding from the EU for a proper space mission.
Have you got a spare 1 billion? No, you see, that's why we've come to you, because you're from Manchester and you'll be able to do it for 10/6d.
And there'll be as much tea as you can drink.
No, no, no, no, you can't do that with a car.
You can't do it with any car, let alone a Robin Reliant.
It was the largest non-commercial rocket launch in European history and, as you'd expect, it was ambitious.
- But rubbish.
- It is difficult in every single way.
As a rocket, it's the most awful shape it could ever be.
But I thought the Robin was a good place to start, because it's pointy at one end.
There is a potential for disaster to strike at any moment and genuine disaster, it's not orchestrated by, "Let's stop filming now and start filming again.
" So the big question will it fly? If they were too easy, everyone would just do them, you know what I mean? There wouldn't be this kind of expectation or surprise around them.
Oh, ladder's coming out.
Again, at Nasa, they don't keep a stepladder on the launch pad.
- One small stepladder for - THEY LAUGH James, stop laughing! They're getting really cross! But later, in our suite at the local Ritz-Sheraton, I was a worried man.
CRICKETS CHIRRUP Hammond? - What? - You know when we do these big things, they usually end in some sort of massive disaster? I'd quite like this one to work.
TIMER BUZZES Oh, yeah! CHEERING Go on! SHOUTING AND CHEERING CHEERING It's not come off! Separate, separate! SHOUTING Separate! 12,000.
SHOUTING Oh-ho-ho! No! - That's why - How are we going to use it again? APPLAUSE There was lots of news on Top Gear, sometimes interesting news, sometimes bad news, and sometimes this.
Good news, because the Dacia Sandero is on sale in the UK and taking the nation by storm! - Great(!) - IRONIC CHEERING - Now, the Mercedes SLS - LAUGHTER Good news, because the Dacia Duster has been named Budget 4X4 Tow Car Of The Year.
Great(!) Now, I've bought a bicycle.
- Oh, bad news! - What? - The Dacia Sandero, it's delayed.
- Oh, no(!) Anyway, last week - Great news! - What? The Dacia Sandero, I've got a new picture.
- LAUGHTER - Ooh(!) Anyway, I think we've had more signposts sent in.
- Great news! - What?! The Da The LAUGHTER They know what it is.
- Good news, chaps.
- No, what?! - There's a new Dacia.
- AUDIENCE: Wahey! - Here it is, it's called the Lodgy.
- That's a looker, isn't it(!) Anyway, moving on I have bought you a Dacia Sandero.
I'm quite touched.
- That's fantastic.
- Can I drive it? Yeah, why don't you go off and drive it - while we're putting these on? - All right.
The Lamborghini is all very well, that's like the ultimate expression of what a car can be, but this is the essence of a car, all the bits you need, nothing more.
No flim-flam.
That is an excellent present.
I don't know what he was actually thinking of there, cos his presents are supposed to be irritating, but that's not irritating.
That's superb.
- You're back.
- Yeah.
- How is it? - Fun, great.
Basic, small, wroughty.
But you haven't got the little side joke, have you? - What? - Well, you can't take it back hand luggage.
- I'll drive it back.
What, all the way? - Yeah.
It took two and a half days to get here No! - Stop! - CLARKSON LAUGHS In series ten, the team took part in the Britcar 24-Hour Endurance Race at Silverstone and this gave them their toughest challenge to date having to play nicely with each other.
We arrived at Silverstone assuming the Britcar 24 would be amateur event for beginners like us.
We were badly wrong.
MUSIC: Theme from Star Wars by John Williams The other drivers were chisel-jawed and battle-hardened.
They had blue-chip sponsors, tonnes of equipment, they'd turned up with laptops and luxury motor homes with girls in them.
Our motor home wasn't quite as professional as that.
And nor was our catering.
Nor was our car.
Their particular car wasn't ready for the start of the race.
That's their first major mistake.
You can't go to a race, which you've known about for months, and then find that the car's not ready.
Whatever you do, don't go downstairs and look at the car.
It's got no front end, no lights, no radiator, no bumper, no splitter, no front of the engine, no bonnet.
James will be exaggerating.
James isn't exaggerating.
And it's and it's leaking.
It's very entertaining at times, but you ask yourself why you'd allow yourselves to be put in that position.
The BMW that they worked on' was far inferior to everything else that was out there.
It was just a bog-standard car.
It's just done a 2:17.
- No, I'm sorry, 2:16! - Whoa! He's just taken another second off it! So he's made up 20 places in One hour and 20 minutes.
My worry is now that he'll be going too hard on it.
Endurance racing is a complete team game and the Stig is a very good racing driver and, as much as you'd want to leave him in the car for as long as possible, nobody can drive that long.
You're not allowed to drive a stint for that long.
JAUNTY 1940s MUSIC JAMES OVER RADIO: Absolutely everything going past.
But never mind.
I didn't know it would take this long for him to get round.
Thank you, doing my best.
A few minutes later, though, something amazing happened.
I've overtaken someone! Don't want you to get all daft and giddy, OK? You just did a 2:24.
I'm (BLEEP) loving this! As night began to fall, the sheer effort required for endurance racing began to tell.
SCREECHING TYRES What you can't allow for is tiredness.
We've all driven and know what it's like to be tired.
That was very dangerous, what they did.
The thing with fatigue is it creeps up on you all of a sudden.
One minute, your concentration's right on, and through, maybe you're dehydrated, maybe you're hungry, your reaction times slow right down.
Normally, I'd be on the phone to him now being fatuous and stupid and telling him he's Captain Slow and he's got to hurry up, but honestly, the absolute last thing you want is anyone clowning around on your headphones, on your radio.
There's so much to think about.
Where's the corner? Where's the other car? What gear should I be in? When do I brake? I can't think about being a TV presenter, - you can't think about anything.
- GRAVEL CRUNCHES Sorry, I'm off.
Even though the car was good for another 90 minutes, we had to rest James.
JACKIE STEWART: Driving at night and driving in the rain and driving with a whole load of other people chopping you up and then the really good guys whoa getting past you, and you staying out of trouble, that's competition.
Because you are right at your limit.
You know that, one mistake, and you're dead.
And, in the case of car racing, actually, so could many other people be.
DAVID HAYE: The human body shuts down in darkness.
It's how we're designed as human beings.
You're supposed to be awake when it's light and go to sleep when it's dark, but if you try to push through whilst you're tired, whilst your brain's been active all day long, the chances are you're going to come a cropper.
TYRES SCREECH, LOUD CRASH HAMMOND OVER RADIO: Guys I've binned it.
I'd say it was game over.
HE SIGHS I'm sorry, lads.
I I'm sorry.
Right, everyone who's not involved, get back.
Sleep deprivation is incredibly difficult to deal with.
It's used as a form of torture and I understand that from sailing that you get to that point where you are absolutely edge and you have nothing else left inside you and you have to find more and that's brutal.
JAMES MAY: It took nearly three hours to get the car running again, by which time we were stone-dead last.
The field was now spread out, but in the next three hours, the Stig climbed eight places.
Then, when it was my turn, the fog came.
I was completely blind.
(BLEEP) Nora.
It's not glamorous.
Endurance racing is just all about getting through the race, it's about finishing.
Concentrate.
I'm losing my concentration.
Please, car, please make it to the end of this race, I beg of you.
Come on, car.
Please make it.
This has been one of the best Top Gear companions of the lot.
A ratmobile.
It wants to make the finishing line.
It's there! Ye-e-e-e-e-e-es! You brilliant little car! God, this is just brilliant! That's absolutely epic.
WESTERN MUSIC PLAYS Over the years, Top Gear smashed up a lot of stuff.
I mean, let's face it, smashing things up can be fun.
In fact, they smashed up more things than Jeremy Clarkson's had hot dinners.
But in series three, they met the Toyota Hilux, the Terminator of the car world.
I really loved the Toyota pick-up that they did everything to.
That was absolutely fantastic.
Ooh, deary me! That was a bit uncomfortable.
Oh-oh-oh! I had a Hilux.
It was actually the second car I ever had.
I thought they were brilliant and it was great to see one nearly destroyed.
It told you that the show wasn't just going to be about the high-end cars that you could never possibly afford.
You can all own one of these and, in actual fact, you don't have to be quite as violent with it.
That's got it.
ENGINE STARTS They did absolutely everything that they possibly can to destroy this car and it is indestructible.
Look what's happened.
This is the Severn Estuary, home to the second-biggest tide in the world.
40 feet and it moves at 8mph.
That's why the RNLI have tethered my car in place.
I'm not going to get that out for hours! Windscreen's still in.
LAUGHTER But then, disaster.
The ropes tying it down had snapped! - It could be out in the channel.
- You may never see it ever again.
I don't think you've quite got this.
We've got to get it back.
THEY LAUGH And it didn't turn up until the tide had gone out five hours later.
SHOUTS OF ENCOURAGEMEN CHEERING Well, the mechanic has worked on it now for 40 minutes or so, I think.
And, uh, it's not looking good.
It seems, then, that, if you want to kill one of these things, the beach, the sea, salt water is the answer.
Sorry.
ENGINE COUGHS AND TURNS OVER ENGINE STARTS I do not believe it! When they do that so early in the new Top Gear, I think it was just perfect, because it showed that it wasn't just an hour solid of boring car chat, or boring reviews, or whatnot, it was fun! What do you have to do to kill one? All the way through, I thought, "There is no way that that engine is going to start now after this.
"There is no way," and it was funny in the end.
You just think, "What do you need to do to make it stop working?" DRAMATIC ORGAN MUSIC WESTERN MUSIC Is this it? ENGINE COUGHS Come on! ENGINE SPLUTTERS ENGINE TURNS OVER AND STARTS CHEERING That's just ! They could have probably just left it parked in Glasgow city centre on a Saturday night and it wouldn't be working come Monday morning, so they didn't go the full hog.
Some vehicles are designed to be driven slowly by people wearing uniforms.
So, naturally, Top Gear's pet hamster and a bunch of touring car drivers occasionally took them to a race track and floored them like massive dodgems.
This is a pretty serious scientific experiment, so I have stressed to the other drivers in the strongest possible terms absolutely no body contact whatsoever.
He knows full well, as soon as he's finished saying that, there's going to be loads and loads of contact.
TIMER BUZZES Yeah! HORNS BLARE Only a very small minority of people watch Top Gear for the actual car reviews themselves.
It's just about entertainment, it's about the way these guys are driving buses and limos round a track that looks so dangerous, you think, "How have the BBC sanctioned this show?" It doesn't make sense.
It's so far away from what the BBC's about that it just works.
When we have all the touring car drivers in all of these vehicles, we are there to basically cause carnage LOUD CRASH and have loads and loads of fun at the same time.
TYRES SCREECH Huge slide from the limo! That's incredible! Richard's actually a good driver.
He actually understands the limit of the car.
He knows when the tyres are giving up or whether it's understeer or oversteer and he's very brave to race against us, cos we're the best in Britain, or the world, in touring cars.
Richard just puts his helmet on, he's obviously talking to the camera while going round and we were like, "Wrrrr!", trying really hard.
Whoa! The limo takes himself off entirely.
We obviously try and make things as safe as possible.
I mean, a good example was the American New York taxi.
It's designed with a huge bull bar on the front, which made sure that, if it went through a brick wall or through a stretch limo, cos there might just be one in front of you that the car didn't come out like a banana.
Oh, my word! The stairs in front of me now, well, they're a bit of an unknown quantity! Oh, my God! We like contact, we like to hit Sh! um, and, er, and Richie gets stuck in.
Whoa! Where did he come from?! You bloody idiot! I thought the easiest thing in the world would be to roll a double-decker bus.
You have no idea.
We put bags of sand on the second floor.
Like, I can't remember how many hundreds of kilos of sand we put up there.
We put a lot of sand up there.
I was on dirt, so I had to go left, then right, and give it a bit of a Scandinavian flick and hit the bump.
In my first attempt, I got it to about 40 degrees and I thought, "It's going to go, it's going to go," and my natural reaction was to put lock on and put it back down, cos it's how I've been brought up, I can't let something roll and I went like that I was like HE SIGHS "I was supposed to roll that.
" Wow, look at the single-decker go! What a manoeuvre! I had my old friend Anthony Reid, who's in the single-decker bus, who's actually going, "What I'm going to do is give you a little tap from behind, like 2004.
Do you remember in the British Touring Cars? I'm going to give you a tap from behind and see if that helps.
" You're sitting, "Right, mate, you nutter!" Sort of hanging on and you think it's easy to roll a double-decker bus.
It's not easy and you do need help from your friends sometimes.
It was now all down to me, the catering truck and the stairs.
Correction: make that me and the catering truck.
TYRES SCREECH Oh, that is the catering truck out of it! That is good news indeed! Yeah! From now on, all airport vehicles will be based on the fire engine, which will be brilliant, as long as there isn't a fire.
In keeping with the show's green credentials, Top Gear recycled a lot of caravans.
They recycled them into piles of rubble, swept them up and stuck 'em in the bin.
Oh! Go on! Yes! Ye-e-e-es! It was easy to kill a caravan.
Too easy.
After a while, the boys tired of this senseless cycle of destruction and tried to make peace with the enemy.
"5mph maximum"? - Well, that's about - Dream on! James told Richard and I to get out, because he reckoned he could do the parking thing more easily if we weren't there to help him.
Now, let me think about this.
I've got to turn it that way, that way That's good.
The only organic thing on Top Gear was the chemistry between the three presenters.
Unbelievably, it was four series before someone thought to put the three of them together outside the studio.
The key to the show's success is the personalities.
That was something which they clearly couldn't cast originally.
It just evolved.
- Ooh! Oh, dear.
- HAMMOND CHORTLES Oh, my word! - Whoa! Whoa! Oh, my God! - CUTLERY AND CROCKERY CRASH LAUGHTER Hang on, we've got to put the legs down.
We're not brilliant at this, are we? They clearly, you know, bounce off each other very well um, and they kind of bring out both the best and the worst in each other.
- TRAIN HORN TOOTS - Train.
- It's peaceful.
- It's not peaceful and I don't like You aren't allowed to have a fire, you aren't allowed to play ball games, you aren't allowed to play music, you have to be in bed by 11, you have to park within two feet of a post, you have to keep quiet, you can't have anything.
This is not a holiday.
It's a concentration camp.
But those rules are for the benefit of everybody.
They bring strength through joy.
All of them together, it seems to work, doesn't it? It's like The Three Stooges.
Why is this good, Hammond? - What, walking? - Yep.
Because, um, well, it's bracing, it's good exercise, you see stuff.
- Look.
- What am I seeing here that's interesting? I'm from Oxfordshire, which is all green, I've come to Dorset - and it's all green.
- It's a different sort of green, though.
- It isn't.
- It is.
It just isn't.
Jeremy, Richard and James have perfect comedy timing.
For three factual presenters to have that and that obvious bond between them, it's unique.
- Look at that camper van, what's that? - Ooh, good work, sir! - It's a Westfalia! - No It IS a Westfalia! They're just like three completely naughty boys at public school.
Jeremy, it's going to go and then you'll break your back in the night and that'll wake everybody.
You two are sleeping in the double bed.
I'm going to ring the Daily Mail immediately.
Jeremy is the bully boy.
You've got the poor old Hamster, who's a bit of a fag, and James May, who's the goody-goody who the teacher loves.
Oh, good, a train(!) - TRAIN WHEELS CLATTER - Nice, that's nice.
Listen.
- How often is that going to happen all night? - That's all right.
- It's romantic.
- Don't say things like that! I'm on the same bed as you.
Well, I think the three of them are definitely able to kind of amazingly, er, seem representative of the British public.
Um, er how they manage to pull that off, I have no idea, cos they're all oddballs.
- Hello.
How do you do? - I'm Jeremy Clarkson.
I know.
- This is Richard Hammond.
- I'm Richard, nice to see you.
They were family.
You know, you could catch up with them week after week and see what's developing, see what's happening, see what's going on in their strange lives.
I can't come into your Jeremy, help me.
You're going to be taken into a caravan.
Let's go.
Don't follow them in there.
- I I'll just - You can bring the dog in as well.
I really can't take the dog in the - Mummy! - No, you can take the dog in as well.
Top Gear is an entertainment.
Oh, God.
Um, Richard! What? - Richard, have you got a fire extinguisher? - No, why? They make you laugh at silly things.
Obviously, they draw you in, because they say, "We know that you're bonkers about cars and we're going to talk about cars," but cars, in a way, that's the excuse for what they do, which is entertain.
- How do you put a pan fire out? - Uh, tea towel in water.
Richard, is there any water? No, I used it all on my hair.
They provoke, and for all sorts of reasons, that's fine, but above all, they make you laugh.
If they didn't make you laugh, it wouldn't work, but they do.
It is no longer a pan fire, it's a van fire.
- It is as well.
- You are joking.
- How in the name of ?! - God in heaven! Put it out, put it out.
- Use the oven glove.
- The cushion's on fire now! This episode prompted over 200 complaints about cruelty to caravans, presumably from people who'd never seen Top Gear before.
Richard, don't go back in there, the gas.
All things considered, how do you think the holiday went? I think well.
Top Gear is simply showing you things that you can't have.
Sometimes, Top Gear like to drop all the silliness and get in a very fast car and drive it around a very fast racetrack very fast and very, very loud.
Let's make some noise.
ENGINE REVS TYRES SQUEAL Oh, that is breathtaking! 9,000 rpm BOOM! Braking! That is acceleration unlike anything else.
I love looking at glamour sometimes.
Does it matter that they're talking about a car? Yeah, it does.
That's what the programme stands for.
You know, it's called Top Gear, that's what you turn it on for.
But they made the car look beautiful.
It was very superhero-like and the car was the star.
It's that electric power that gives it so much punch off the line.
I have 500 foot pound of torque at 800 rpm 800! To present any show, you have to love what you're talking about.
You have to have an appetite for it and you can safely say these boys have an appetite for cars.
It just wakes up, it's like a sprinter, falling out of bed and going straight into a world record while all the others are still eating cornflakes and thinking about having a poo.
If you look at the cinematography, it's stunning.
It isn't just a straightforward car show.
There is an element that you're watching a beautifully-crafted movie as well.
The photography is fantastic.
And quite pioneering, too.
I'd not seen cameras used like that just on motoring shows.
It's time to attack some corners.
Hell's bells! That grip! This thing corners and I mean flat.
Totally flat.
He's very passionate.
I do like to see that.
Even if it's something I don't give a monkey's about.
I still like to see people being passionate.
The back end breaks away like a rear-wheel drive car.
A lot of people might watch that and go, "That's ridiculous! It's only a car!" until you start to realise what a thrill it is driving an incredible car and kind of throwing it about a racetrack.
It is an amazing experience.
It's almost like a life-affirming moment for them.
If they made those same films and it was about a Renault Clio, would I watch it? No.
Supercars are one thing, but what about the man in the street? Occasionally, Mr Needham wrote in suggesting that a car review show should review cars, sensible cars, that sensible people like Mr Needham would drive.
Ever willing to oblige, Jeremy hit the road in a sensible car and reviewed it.
Renault's sporty little Twingo 133 I think other car shows are boring.
Top Gear is fun.
It's so nimble and agile, it's it's like driving a mosquito.
Not literally, of course, Mr Needham.
It's impossible to drive an insect and cruel to even try.
Well, the purpose of Mr Needham is just to give them the platform for their jokes.
Well, it's got a radio, air conditioning, electric windows and electric door mirrors.
But I'm afraid to say, no parachute system.
So, if you wake up one morning to find that someone has put your car on top of a Harland and Wolff crane, you're never going to get it down again.
Bad mark for Renault there.
If you want sensible reviews then, you know, you read car reviews in in newspapers or magazines.
I mean, you know, if you want an alternative review, you watch Top Gear.
You would be amazed how often I get asked that question, so, to get an answer, I've come to the network of sewage tunnels underneath Belfast and, obviously, for the next few minutes, we've asked the people in the city to, um, cross their legs.
God! If this goes wrong, I really am in a world of sh Here we go! HE YELLS, BRAKES SCREECH Yes! HE LAUGHS Here you are, Mr Needham.
If you're looking to drive upside down through the tunnels of Belfast, Twingo 133, absolutely ideal.
When it's one particular car that they're reviewing, like the Renault Twingo, which was hilarious, I think, you know, you've got to give the show scope to do it in a funny and different way.
Obviously, it's not a very large car, but if you push those rear seats all the way back, there is enough room back there for children and then, if you pull them all the way forwards there is enough space in the boot for um Ross Kemp.
- Um, so, Ross, you OK in there? - A bit of a squeeze, but quite comfy.
Quite comfy? Good.
Good mark for Renault there.
When you're asked to go on those shows, you know, and kind of laugh at yourself, there's some shows that you would do it for and there's others that you won't, you know? And the ones that you do it for are the ones that have got credibility.
Top Gear had tons of credibility.
- Agh! - ROSS LAUGHS That really hurt.
Come on! Being late for a ferry can drive a man mad.
BLEEP! Just because it's left does not mean I'm going to give in.
- When I get out of here, I'm going to hurt you.
- Here we go! TYRES SQUEAL HE YELLS You happy now, Mr Needham? Well, that's it for part one.
We're out of petrol, but we'll fill up for part two, when, amongst other things, you'll see a very good-looking English comedian Go on, son! with fine teeth and a strange Northern accent Get a load of that, Stiggy boy.
do one of the fastest laps in Top Gear history.
There's loads of other stuff, too.
But, to be honest, mine is the best bit.
See you then.