Top Gear (TV Series 2002– ) Poster

(2002– )


The modified 747 aircraft that appears in the background of many of the 'reviews' and 'Star in a Reasonably Priced Car' segments (and was even towed during the 'Tractor' review in season six) is the "Skyfleet" aircraft modified for the James Bond film, Casino Royale (2006). The airport sequence for 'Casino Royale' was filmed at Dunsfold Aerodrome, where 'Top Gear' is based.
The show is known for criticizing various vehicle brands without getting into any issues with car companies. This is due to the fact that it is funded by the BBC instead of being sponsored by advertisers.
The famous last corner in the Top Gear (revamped version) track is called "Gambon corner". It is named after actor Michael Gambon who drove a Suzuki Liana (as part of the "Reasonably priced car" challenge) and nearly flipped over at the last corner. Since then, Jerermy Clarkson dubbed the last corner as "Gambon corner".
A rarity on TV shows, the entire studio audience stands for the 60-minute duration of the show, as no seating is provided.
All three presenters of Top Gear have won Heat Magazine's Weird Crush Of The Year. Richard Hammond (2006), James May (2007), Jeremy Clarkson (2008).
For the road test of the Ferrari Enzo, they asked the people from Ferrari whether they could borrow one but Ferrari said "No". Jeremy Clarkson called Jay Kay (since he got one) whether he can borrow his. Jay Kay said sure if only he could borrow Jeremy's daughter (So, it is definitely a "No"). However, Nick Mason (Drummer of Pink Floyd) come to the rescue as he lends his Ferrari Enzo to Jeremy if Jeremy plugs Nick's new book. Of course, Jeremy had accepted his offer.
The test driver, The Stig, never speaks a word and his face has never been seen (it being always hidden behind a tinted visor), despite guests frequently mentioning having talked with him. In some later-season episodes, he can be heard speaking in Morse code, which, after being decoded, is mostly random and funny nonsense.
In the newly revamped first season of Top Gear in 2002, Jason Dawe was the original third presenter. However in the second season, he was replaced by James May who has a different personality than the other two presenters.
The show has a number of Suzuki Lianas for use in the celebrity race segment, entitled "Star in a reasonably priced car". The Liana was chosen because it is quite a decent spec of equipment for a car under 10,000 pounds. Originally they were going to use a Hyundai, but Hyundai refused to help them out - prompting the first episode of the show to be advertised as "containing no Hyundais". The Lianas have appeared in various disguises; sporting flames for Rock Singer Justin Hawkins of The Darkness, and an Indian tissue box for 'Sanjeev Baskhar'. There are several Lianas in case one breaks during the show. To date, David Soul is the only celebrity to have broken all of the available Lianas during filming.
The show is famous for its humorous features. These have included
  • TV Chef Jamie Oliver making a tossed salad in the back of his Porsche-engined camper van whilst it was being raced around the test track by The Stig.

  • Car Darts when James May and Richard Hammond were launching cars by compressed air into a quarry and onto a target (which was made juicier by the addition of a caravan in the bullseye).

  • Russian Roulette when Hammond and May worked for Taxibike and gave comments on the cars they drove their clients home in.

  • The Toyota Hilux where they attempted to see what it would take to break one of these trucks (it was parked in the sea for a full tidal cycle, set on fire and finally put on top of a tower block that was subsequently demolished) - despite their best efforts the thing still started and moved.

  • The use of a Boeing 747 at full thrust against a Citroen 2CV and various abuses against caravans.

For the first two seasons, The Stig was Perry McCarthy, a former Formula One driver as well as a test driver for three F1 teams. A new Stig took over from McCarthy after the original Stig's "demise" at the beginning of Season 3. On the 18 March 2006 the former Stig, Perry McCarthy, revealed that currently there is no one single test driver, but multiple test drivers who masquerade as the Stig; he said this when he appeared at a Palmer Sport activity day in Bedfordshire, UK. Rumours have it that one of the new Stigs is Damon Hill and occasionally Colin McRae. And in January 2006, the Daily Express claimed that the identity of The Stig is former Formula 1 driver Julian Bailey.
Because of its quirky tone, the BBC called Top gear an 'entertainment program', not a sports-themed show.
During a "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" segment with Lionel Richie, a wheel broke off as his Suzuki Liana was approaching one of the fastest parts of the course. Richie managed to keep the car under control and got another go at his fastest lap (something which is not normally allowed). The sequence was aired in the UK as part of the show (complete with an embarrassed Jeremy Clarkson), but appears not to have been in the US where an edited version of the show is screened.
The show has close links with the UK military who have, among other things; tried to target a Range Rover Sport with a Challenger 2 tank; proved that a Hughes Apache attack helicopter cannot get a missile lock on a Lotus Exige; driving a Mercedes SLK and a Porsche Boxster through an Irish Guard sniper-filled abandoned town to see how many times they could hit the driver; set the fastest ever lap of the test track using a Royal Navy BAe Sea Harrier FA.2 (0.31 sec); and launched Stig One to his 'death' from the deck of HMS Ark Royal during a drag race between a stripped & nitrous-modified Jaguar XJS and a Sea Harrier.
Since the beginning of Season 7, the presenters began to take cars of their choice on a journey to various countries in the world. Season 7: the presenters take 3 super cars (Jeremy: Ford GT, Richard: Pagani Zonda, James: Ferrari F430 Spider) to the longest cable-stayed bridge in France. Season 10: Finding the best driving road in Europe (Jeremy: Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, Richard: Porsche 911 GT3 RS, James: Aston Martin V8 Vantage N24). Season 12: Journey across America from San Francisco to the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah (Jeremy: Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, Richard: Dodge Challenger, James: Cadillac CTS-V). Season 14: Finding the best driving road in Romania (Jeremy: Aston Martin DBS Volante, Richard: Ferrari California, James: Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder)
During 2002 the show re-launched with a new hour-long show format and the original host, Jeremy Clarkson, was subsequently joined by two other co-presenters. Many new segments appeared in this show including "Star in a reasonably priced car", "The cool wall" and the first appearance of "Ben Collins". The Stig drove all the super cars around the test track circuit, with Jeremy logging times on a leader board each series.
During Season 7, the Bugatti Veyron first appeared on Top Gear. Since then, it has appeared in 2 other seasons (Seasons 9 and 10) with all 3 presenters having driven it. However, it still has not had the chance to lap around the test track by the Stig. It is not until Season 12 when the Stig finally got the chance to lap the Bugatti Veyron around the test track.
The revamped 2002 series onwards is filmed at the former BAe Systems site at Dunsfold aerodrome
Some seasons of Top Gear have an epic race in which Jeremy will drive a car against James and Richard taking public transport or any other transport that is not a car. Here are some of the epic races they had. Season 4: Race to Monte Carlo: Aston Martin DB9 VS. train, Season 5: Race to Verbier, Switzerland: Ferrari 612 Scaglietti VS. plane. Season 6: Race to Oslo, Norway: Mercedes-Benz SLR McClaren VS. boat. Season 7: Race from Italy to England: Buggati Veyron VS. James' plane. Season 11: Race across Japan: Nissan GT-R VS. Japan's most reliable public transport.
From the beginning of Series 14, the show is being broadcast in HD.
Winners of Reasonably Priced car challenge: 2002: Jay Kay 2003: Jodie Kidd (who beat Jay Kay's time) 2004: Simon Cowell (who beat Jodie Kidd's time) 2005: Jimmy Carr (who beat Jimmy Carr's time) 2005: Ellen MacArther
Frequently uses music by John Barry during their filmed reports.
Among the 3 presenters, only James May did not do all his road tests on the Top Gear Test Track. It is not until Season 12 when he road tests the Pagani Zonda F Roadster on the test track. Since then, he did another road test on the test track in Season 14.
In August 2010, publisher HarperCollins published an unauthorized biography 'The Man in the White Suit', revealing the then current Stig ("White Stig") to be racing driver Ben Collins. The BBC was unsuccessful in preventing publication of this book. The BBC refuses to deny or acknowledge whether Ben Collins is, or ever was, "The Stig".
From the beginning of the newly revamped series of Top Gear, the car that has been used in the "Star in a reasonably priced car" is a Suzuki Liana. This car has been used for seven seasons until season eight, when it was replaced by the Chevrolet Lacetti.
From the beginning of season 15, the Reasonably Priced Car, the Chevrolet Lacetti was replaced with the Kia Cee'd.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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