Top Gear (current format)
Top Gear is a British television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars. It began in 1977 as a conventional motoring magazine show. Over time, and especially since a relaunch in 2002, it has developed a quirky, humorous style. The show is currently presented by Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson is an English broadcaster, journalist and writer who specialises in motoring. He is best known for his role on the BBC TV show Top Gear along with co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May...

, Richard Hammond
Richard Hammond
Richard Mark Hammond is an English broadcaster, writer, and journalist most noted for co-hosting car programme Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson and James May, as well as presenting Brainiac: Science Abuse on Sky 1.-Early life:...

 and James May
James May
James Daniel May is an English television presenter, journalist and writer. He is best known for his role as co-presenter of the award-winning motoring programme Top Gear alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond....

, and has featured at least three different test drivers known as The Stig
The Stig
The Stig is a character in the British motoring television show Top Gear. The character plays on the anonymity of racing drivers' full-face helmets, with the running joke that nobody knows who, or indeed what, is inside the character's racing suit. The character was the creation of presenter Jeremy...

. The programme is estimated to have around 350 million viewers per week in 170 different countries and is heavily downloaded from peer-to-peer file-sharing services, with roughly 300,000 downloads per episode via torrent programs. First run episodes are broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

, and since Series 14, also on BBC HD
BBC HD is a high-definition television network provided by the BBC. The service was initially run as a trial from 15 May 2006 until becoming a full service on 1 December 2007...

. Seventeen series have been broadcast, the most recent of which started on 26 June 2011.

The show has received acclaim for its visual style and presentation, as well as criticism
Criticism of Top Gear
The British motoring-themed television programme Top Gear is often the focus of criticism. The criticism has ranged from minor viewer complaints to serious complaints where broadcasting watchdogs such as Ofcom have been involved.-Clarkson's criticism:...

 for its content and comments made by presenters. Columnist A. A. Gill
A. A. Gill
Adrian Anthony Gill is a British writer who uses the byline A. A. Gill. He is currently employed by The Sunday Times as their restaurant reviewer and television critic and Vanity Fair magazine as a restaurant reviewer...

, close friend of Clarkson and fellow Sunday Times
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times is a British Sunday newspaper.The Sunday Times may also refer to:*The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times...

 columnist, described the show as "a triumph of the craft of programme making, of the minute, obsessive, musical masonry of editing, the French polish
French polish
French polishing is a wood finishing technique that results in a very high gloss surface, with a deep colour and chatoyancy. French polishing consists of applying many thin coats of shellac dissolved in alcohol using a rubbing pad lubricated with oil...

ing of colourwashing and grading".


Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson is an English broadcaster, journalist and writer who specialises in motoring. He is best known for his role on the BBC TV show Top Gear along with co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May...

, who helped the original series reach its peak in the 1990s, along with producer Andy Wilman
Andy Wilman
Andrew "Andy" Wilman is a British television producer who is best known as the producer of the present Top Gear show. He has also presented segments of the original Top Gear...

, successfully pitched a new format for Top Gear to the BBC, reversing a previous decision to cancel the show in 2001. The new series was first broadcast in 2002. Top Gears studio is located at Dunsfold Aerodrome
Dunsfold Aerodrome
Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, England, near the village of Cranleigh, was built by the Canadian Army and civilian contractors as a Class A Bomber Airfield for Army Co-operation Command...

 and business park in Waverley, Surrey
Waverley, Surrey
Waverley is a local government district with borough status in Surrey, England. The borough's headquarters are in the town of Godalming, with Farnham and Haslemere being the other large notable towns....

. Top Gear uses a temporary racing circuit which was designed for the show by Lotus
Lotus Cars
Lotus Cars is a British manufacturer of sports and racing cars based at the former site of RAF Hethel, a World War II airfield in Norfolk. The company designs and builds race and production automobiles of light weight and fine handling characteristics...

 and is laid out on parts of Dunsfold's runways and taxiways. A large hangar
A hangar is a closed structure to hold aircraft or spacecraft in protective storage. Most hangars are built of metal, but other materials such as wood and concrete are also sometimes used...

 is used for studio recording with a standing audience.

The new series format incorporates a number of major changes from the old show. The running time was extended to one hour and two new presenters were introduced: Richard Hammond
Richard Hammond
Richard Mark Hammond is an English broadcaster, writer, and journalist most noted for co-hosting car programme Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson and James May, as well as presenting Brainiac: Science Abuse on Sky 1.-Early life:...

 and Jason Dawe
Jason Dawe (television)
-Biography:Born and raised in Cornwall, England, Dawe worked at auto dealerships and as a motoring industry trainer. Dawe became a presenter on the Top Gear television show on its first series after it was relaunched in 2002...

, with James May
James May
James Daniel May is an English television presenter, journalist and writer. He is best known for his role as co-presenter of the award-winning motoring programme Top Gear alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond....

 replacing Dawe after the first series. The Stig, an anonymous, helmeted racing driver, was introduced as the test driver. New segments were also added, including "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car", "The Cool Wall", "The News", "Power Laps", and one off features such as races, competitions and the regular destruction of caravan
Travel trailer
A travel trailer or caravan is towed behind a road vehicle to provide a place to sleep which is more comfortable and protected than a tent . It provides the means for people to have their own home on a journey or a vacation, without relying on a motel or hotel, and enables them to stay in places...

s and, more recently, Morris Marina
Morris Marina
The Morris Marina is a car which was manufactured by the Morris division of British Leyland in the UK throughout the 1970s, which was a period of great turbulence and difficulty for the British car industry. It was known in some markets as the Austin Marina, Leyland Marina, and Morris 1.7...


In early 2006, the BBC had planned to move the filming site from Dunsfold
Dunsfold is a village in the Waverley district of the county of Surrey, England, 8.7 miles south of Guildford. The census area Chiddingfold and Dunsfold has a population of 3,812.-History:...

 to Enstone, Oxfordshire
Enstone, Oxfordshire
Enstone is a village and civil parish in Oxfordshire about east of Chipping Norton.The civil parish is the largest in Oxfordshire, comprising the villages of Church Enstone and Neat Enstone and the hamlets of Chalford, Cleveley, Fulwell, Gagingwell, Lidstone, and Radford.-Toponym:Enstone's...

 for filming of the eighth series of Top Gear
Top Gear (series 8)
The eighth series of Top Gear began on May 7th and concluded on July 30th, 2006. The series featured eight episodes. Over 150 complaints were received regarding actions carried out in the sixth episode, ultimately resulting in a caravan being burnt to the ground...

, but the move was rejected by West Oxfordshire
West Oxfordshire
West Oxfordshire is a local government district in north west Oxfordshire, England including towns such as Woodstock, Burford, Chipping Norton, Charlbury, and Witney ....

 council due to noise and pollution concerns. Filming of the series went ahead at Dunsfold in May despite not having a permit to do so, with a revamped studio set, a new car for the "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" segment, and the inclusion of one of Hammond's dogs, named "Top Gear Dog" (now known as TeeGee), in a few studio and film segments of that series.

On 20 September 2006, Richard Hammond was seriously injured while driving a Vampire
Vampire (car)
The Vampire is a jet-propelled car that currently holds the outright British land speed record, driven by Colin Fallows to a mean speed of on July 5, 2000 at Elvington, Yorkshire, England....

 turbojet drag racing car at up to 314 miles per hour (505.3 km/h) for a feature in the show. The BBC indefinitely postponed the broadcast of Best of Top Gear and announced that production of the show would be delayed until Hammond had recovered. Both the BBC and the Health and Safety Executive
Health and Safety Executive
The Health and Safety Executive is a non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom. It is the body responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into occupational risks in England and Wales and Scotland...

 carried out inquiries into the accident. Filming resumed on 5 October 2006. The ninth series began on 28 January 2007 and included footage of Hammond's crash. The first show of the ninth series attracted higher ratings than the finale of Celebrity Big Brother
Celebrity Big Brother 2007 (UK)
Celebrity Big Brother 2007 was the highly controversial fifth series of the United Kingdom reality television series Celebrity Big Brother, a spin-off of Big Brother. The series was broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK , and involved a number of celebrities referred to as 'housemates', who live in the...

 and the final episode of the series had 8 million viewers – BBC Two's highest ratings for a decade.

A special programme, Top Gear: Polar Special
Top Gear: Polar Special
Top Gear: Polar Special was an episode of the popular series Top Gear, first broadcast on 25 July 2007 on BBC Two. It was an attempt by the BBC's Top Gear crew to be the first to drive a motor vehicle to the 1996 location of the Magnetic North Pole....

, was broadcast in the UK on 25 July 2007 and was the first episode to be shown in high-definition
High-definition television
High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

. It involved a race to the North Magnetic Pole
North Magnetic Pole
The Earth's North Magnetic Pole is the point on the surface of the Northern Hemisphere at which the Earth's magnetic field points vertically downwards . Though geographically in the north, it is, by the direction of the magnetic field lines, physically the south pole of the Earth's magnetic field...

 from Resolute, Nunavut, Canada
Resolute, Nunavut
Resolute or Resolute Bay is a small Inuit hamlet on Cornwallis Island in Nunavut, Canada. It is situated at the northern end of Resolute Bay and the Northwest Passage and is part of the Qikiqtaaluk Region....

, with James May and Jeremy Clarkson travelling in a 'polar modified' Toyota Hilux
Toyota Hilux
The Toyota Hilux is a series of compact pickup trucks produced and marketed by the Toyota Motor Corporation. Most countries used the Hilux name for the entire life of the series but in North America, the Hilux name was retired in 1976 in favor of Truck, Pickup Truck, or Compact Truck...

, and Richard Hammond on an Alexander Tachauer drawn sled. All three presenters had experienced explorers with them, and Clarkson and May became the first to reach the 1996 North Magnetic Pole by car, using the vehicle's satellite navigation. Since 1996, the North Magnetic Pole had moved approximately 100 miles (160.9 km). The recorded 1996 location is the target used by Polar Challenge
Polar Challenge
The Polar Challenge is a competitive, 350 nautical mile team race taking place in the Arctic, to the 1996 location of the Magnetic North Pole. The race runs between mid-April and mid-May each year, taking teams approximately 4 weeks to complete, including the training time...

 and was used by the Top Gear team as their destination; the Geographic North Pole
North Pole
The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is, subject to the caveats explained below, defined as the point in the northern hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface...

 is approximately 800 miles (1,287.5 km) further north.

On 9 September 2007, Top Gear participated in the 2007 Britcar
Britcar is an Endurance Motor Racing series formed in 1997, as a result of a discussion in a Nürburgring bar between Willie Moore and James Tucker. Folklore has it that James Tucker and John Veness formed the organizing European Endurance & Racing Club with a £10 note found on the ground...

 24-hour race at Silverstone
Silverstone Circuit
Silverstone Circuit is an English motor racing circuit next to the Northamptonshire villages of Silverstone and Whittlebury. The circuit straddles the Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire border, with the current main circuit entry on the Buckinghamshire side...

, where the hosts (including The Stig) drove a race prepared, second hand diesel
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

 BMW 330d
BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series is a compact executive car manufactured by the German automaker BMW since May 1975. Successor to the BMW New Class, it has been produced in five different generations and in no less than five different body styles. It is BMW's best-selling model, accounting for around 30% of the...

 to come 3rd in class and 39th overall. The car was fuelled using biodiesel
Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil- or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl esters. Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids with an alcohol....

 refined from crops shown during a tractor review in the previous series.

In 2008, the show was adapted into a live format called Top Gear Live. The tour started on 30 October 2008 in Earls Court, London, moving on to Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 in November then at least 15 other countries worldwide.

Produced by former Top Gear producer Rowland French the events were described as an attempt to "bring the tv show format to life... featuring breath-taking stunts, amazing special effects and blockbusting driving sequences featuring some of the world’s best precision drivers".

On 17 June 2008, in an interview on BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1 is a British national radio station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation which also broadcasts internationally, specialising in current popular music and chart hits throughout the day. Radio 1 provides alternative genres after 7:00pm including electronic dance, hip hop, rock...

's The Chris Moyles Show
The Chris Moyles Show
The Chris Moyles Show is the current BBC Radio 1 breakfast show in the UK, and has been since Chris Moyles became the station's breakfast show presenter on 5 January 2004. From 2004 to 2007, the show was broadcast 6:55–10:00 am each weekday, but since 15 October 2007 it has started from...

, Hammond and May confirmed that in Series 11 there would be a new "occasional regular host". This was revealed to be Top Gear Stunt Man. The series' executive producer, Andy Wilman, also revealed that future programmes will have less time devoted to big challenges:
Series 14, broadcast in autumn 2009, attracted criticism from some viewers, who perceived that the show was becoming predictable with an over-reliance on stunts and forced humour at the expense of serious content. On the BBC's Points of View
Points of View
Points of View is a long-running television show shown in the United Kingdom on BBC One, featuring the letters of viewers offering praise, criticism and purportedly witty observations on the television of recent weeks...

 broadcast 13 December 2009, Janice Hadlow
Janice Hadlow
Janice Hadlow is a British television executive. She is the current controller of the BBC television channel BBC Two, taking over this position in November 2008 having previously been controller of BBC Four....

, the controller of BBC Two, rejected such comments, observing that she was still pleased with Top Gears ratings and audience appreciation figures. However, on 20 December, Andy Wilman admitted that the three presenters were now "playing to their TV cartoon characters a bit too much". He added, "It’s fair to say this incarnation of Top Gear is nearer the end than the beginning, and our job is to land this plane with its dignity still intact. But ironically, that does mean trying new things to the last, even if they screw up, because, well, it means you never stopped trying."

Nevertheless a one-off special of the long-running USA news programme 60 Minutes featuring Clarkson, May and Hammond attracted 16 million viewers in October 2010 (which was the highest audience for the show in 2010), highlighting Top Gear's continuing popularity.

Series 15
Top Gear (series 15)
Top Gear returned for a 15th series, aired on BBC Two and BBC HD, on 27 June 2010, and concluded on 1 August 2010, with the usual presenting team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig. Prior to the series, the channel advertised the show's return by featuring a home video...

 was aired in the UK from 27 June 2010 to 1 August 2010 on BBC2 and BBC HD.

Series 16
Top Gear (series 16)
The sixteenth series of BBC motoring series Top Gear began airing on 21 December 2010, with the usual team of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, and The Stig.-Episodes:...

 was aired from 26 December 2010 to 27 February 2011.

Series 17
Top Gear (series 17)
The seventeenth series of British motoring program Top Gear began on BBC Two and BBC HD, on June 26, 2011, with the usual presenting team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig.-Episodes:- References :...

 began on 26 June 2011.


In addition to first run episodes broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

, and since Series 14, also on BBC HD
BBC HD is a high-definition television network provided by the BBC. The service was initially run as a trial from 15 May 2006 until becoming a full service on 1 December 2007...

, Top Gear is also shown on Dave, BBC America
BBC America
BBC America is an American television network, owned and operated by BBC Worldwide, and available on both cable and satellite.-History:The channel launched on March 29, 1998, broadcasting comedy, drama and lifestyle programs from BBC Television and other British television broadcasters like ITV and...

, BBC Canada
BBC Canada
BBC Canada is a Canadian English language Category B specialty channel. It presents programming primarily from the BBC. BBC Canada is a joint venture between Shaw Media and BBC Worldwide.-Programming:Main article: List of programs broadcast by BBC Canada...

, RTÉ Two
RTÉ Two is a free-to-air general entertainment channel operated by Irish state broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann. RTÉ Two is available throughout the island of Ireland through digital terrestrial service Saorview, VHF and UHF bands, and is also available via satellite to Irish subscribers of...

 & Setanta Ireland
Setanta Ireland
Setanta Sports Ireland is a subscription based Irish sports channel featuring local and international sporting events. The channel is available on some basic cable packages in the Republic of Ireland, while it is available upon direct subscription to the Setanta Sports package on other networks...

 in Ireland, Veronica
Veronica can refer to:* Veronica , a female given name* Saint Veronica* Veronica * Verónica, Buenos Aires, a town in Argentina-Media and entertainment:* Veronica Ballestrini, an Italian-American country music singer...

 in The Netherlands, Canvas in Belgium, Kanal 9
Kanal 9
Kanal 9 is a commercial television channel owned by ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG broadcasting to Sweden. It targets the 30-59 age group, which is a slightly older age group than the sister channel Kanal 5. The channel launched on 25 February 2007. Its opening night featured the 79th Academy Awards...

 in Sweden, Malaysia's Media Prima's NTV7, Nine Network
Nine Network
The Nine Network , is an Australian television network with headquarters based in Willoughby, a suburb located on the North Shore of Sydney. For 50 years since television's inception in Australia, between 1956 and 2006, it was the most watched television network in Australia...

 and GO!
Go! (Australian TV channel)
GO! is an Australian free-to-air standard definition digital television channel launched by the Nine Network on Sunday 9 August 2009.-Origins:...

, Prima COOL
Prima Cool
Prima Cool is a Czech private television station.Prima Cool is second channel of TV Prima. Cool is a man- and young-oriented station.Prima Cool launched on 1 April 2009 as new digital channel of TV Prima. It can be tuned in Czech DVB-T multiplex 2, where is free to air...

 in the Czech Republic, Viasat3 and Viasat6 in Hungary,
in Australia (previously on SBS One which showed the programme until the end of the 13th series aired in 2009), Prime TV in New Zealand, BBC Entertainment
BBC Entertainment
BBC Entertainment is an international television channel showcasing comedy, drama, light entertainment and children's programming from the BBC and other UK production houses...

 in Latin America, and a number of other television channels around the world. The popularity of the show has led to the creation of three international versions, with local production teams and presenters for Australia, Russia and the United States. Episodes of the Australian version premièred on 29 September 2008 and NBC was holding the American version for broadcast in February or March 2009, as a possible mid-season replacement, but later dropped it from their schedule before production resumed. Older seasons are also available on Netflix
Netflix, Inc., is an American provider of on-demand internet streaming media in the United States, Canada, and Latin America and flat rate DVD-by-mail in the United States. The company was established in 1997 and is headquartered in Los Gatos, California...

 streaming. The U.S. cable channel History picked up the rights to the American version, which premiered on 21 November 2010.


The show regularly features long-distance (or, as Clarkson refers to them, "epic") races. These typically feature Clarkson (or one of the other presenters) driving a car against other forms of transport. The challenges usually involve Hammond and May taking the same journey by combinations of plane, train or ferry. The feature is edited in an entertaining way to portray the result as close and to conceal the winner until the very end of the race (regardless of the actual closeness of the race).

A number of smaller scale 'novelty' races have also taken place that demonstrate various strengths and, more often, weaknesses of cars. These races involve one of the presenters, in a carefully chosen car, racing head-to-head against an athlete in conditions that favour the latter. The programme has also featured a variety of small races, typically lasting a couple of minutes, that pit two similar cars against each other, for example, old and very powerful racing cars against new showroom cars.


In the first few series, they featured novelty challenges and short stunt films, typically based on absurd premises, such as a bus jumping over motorcycles (as opposed to the more typical scenario of a motorcycle jumping over buses) or a nun driving a monster truck. No stunt films appeared between series seven and ten, but series eleven saw the introduction of segments with an anonymous stunt man (credited as "Top Gear Stunt Man") performing car jumps.

Starting with series five, many of the show's challenges were introduced with the tag-line "How hard can it be?". These included challenges where the presenters attempt to build a convertible Renault Espace
Renault Espace
The Renault Espace is a large MPV from French car-maker Renault. Generations 1-3 were sold under the Renault brand but manufactured by Matra. The current fourth generation model, which seats seven passengers, is an all-Renault product; the Renault Grand Espace is a long-wheelbase version with...

, being roadies for The Who
The Who
The Who are an English rock band formed in 1964 by Roger Daltrey , Pete Townshend , John Entwistle and Keith Moon . They became known for energetic live performances which often included instrument destruction...

, participating in the Britcar
Britcar is an Endurance Motor Racing series formed in 1997, as a result of a discussion in a Nürburgring bar between Willie Moore and James Tucker. Folklore has it that James Tucker and John Veness formed the organizing European Endurance & Racing Club with a £10 note found on the ground...

 24-hour endurance race at Silverstone Circuit
Silverstone Circuit
Silverstone Circuit is an English motor racing circuit next to the Northamptonshire villages of Silverstone and Whittlebury. The circuit straddles the Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire border, with the current main circuit entry on the Buckinghamshire side...

 and trying to build an Electric Vehicle
Electric Vehicle
The Electric Vehicle was an American automobile manufactured only in 1899. An electric cab, it was widely used in New York City; the company pioneered the use of pressed steel for wheels, and its cars featured front-wheel drive and brakes and rear wheel steering.-See also:* Battery electric...

 that would be cheaper than a G-Wiz.

Starting with series four, one episode of each series has featured a film built around the premise of "Cheap cars", whereby the presenters are given a budget (typically around £1,500, but it has been between £100 and £10,000 depending on the type of car) to buy a used car conforming to certain criteria. Once purchased, the presenters compete against each other in a series of challenges to establish who has bought the best car. The presenters have no prior knowledge of what the tests will be, although they typically involve long journeys to evaluate the cars' reliability and fuel economy, and a race track event to determine performance.

One of the recurring jokes is when May stops his car, Clarkson or Hammond will slam their car into the back, usually blaming the brakes. This can be seen in the Bolivia Special on the Death road. They also often sabotage May's cars during the course of the challenges.

Many of the car creations from the challenges are on display at World of Top Gear at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

Isle of Man Post Office issued a set of six stamps featuring a selection of the most bizarre and ingenious automotive challenges featured on Top Gear. The stamps are very popular with collectors and non collectors worldwide Official Top Gear stamps

Christmas specials

Every year an extended special is broadcast featuring the three presenters undertaking a themed challenge.
During the 2010 Christmas special the team was flown to Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, and issued with the challenge to make their way to Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

 in a bid to recreate the voyage of the Three Kings
Biblical Magi
The Magi Greek: μάγοι, magoi), also referred to as the Wise Men, Kings, Astrologers, or Kings from the East, were a group of distinguished foreigners who were said to have visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh...

 from the East. Notable scenes included Richard Hammond being stopped for a bullet shaped lighter at an Iraq-Turkey border crossing. Jeremy Clarkson attempted to bulletproof his passenger side door with sand before watching a 9mm bullet go straight through it and continuing to travel clear through the driver door in what appeared to be three different holes caused by the bullet tumbling and fragmenting. In addition, James May suffered head trauma when he was knocked over by a tow strap, striking the back of his head against a rock, whilst trying to help dislodge Clarkson's car. On arrival in Bethlehem, the team, to their surprise, were greeted by a small "stig-like" infant in a manger.

At the end of 2011 there will be another Top Gear Christmas Special which will be in India.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

In each episode, a celebrity is interviewed by Clarkson. Then, they and the studio audience watch footage of the guest's fastest lap around the Top Gear test track
Top Gear Test Track
The Top Gear test track is used by the BBC automotive television programme Top Gear. It is located at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, United Kingdom. The track was designed by Lotus Cars...

. The times are recorded on a leader board. For the first seven series of Top Gears current format, the car driven was a Suzuki Liana
Suzuki Aerio
The Suzuki Aerio is a compact car that was built by Suzuki Motor Corporation. It was introduced in 2001 as a replacement for the Suzuki Esteem/Baleno, with a tall 5-door SX model hatchback and a 4-door sedan body...


At the beginning of the eighth series, the Liana was replaced by a Chevrolet Lacetti
Daewoo Lacetti
The Daewoo Lacetti is a compact car made by the South Korean automaker GM Daewoo since 2002. The first-generation Lacetti was available as a four-door sedan, a five-door hatchback or a five-door station wagon. The sedan and wagon were designed by Pininfarina, and the hatchback by Giorgetto Giugiaro...

. As the Lacetti is more powerful, the leader board was wiped clean, which has allowed several celebrities to return, including Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is a British journalist and Conservative Party politician, who has been the elected Mayor of London since 2008...

, now Mayor of London
Mayor of London
The Mayor of London is an elected politician who, along with the London Assembly of 25 members, is accountable for the strategic government of Greater London. Conservative Boris Johnson has held the position since 4 May 2008...

. The format for setting a lap time was also changed: each celebrity is allowed five practice laps, then a final timed lap. No allowance is made for any errors on this final timed lap. The Lacetti was replaced with a new car for the fifteenth series, a Kia Cee'd
Kia cee'd
The Kia Cee'd is a front wheel drive small family car released in the European market by the Korean manufacturer Kia Motors in December 2006—superseding the Kia Spectra—and available as a five-door hatchback, three-door hatchback , and five-door estate with a choice of up to four...

, which Clarkson pronounces as "Kia see apostrophe d".

Ellen MacArthur
Ellen MacArthur
Dame Ellen Patricia MacArthur, DBE is an English sailor, up until 2009, from Whatstandwell near Matlock in Derbyshire, now based in West Cowes, on the Isle of Wight. She is best known as a solo long-distance yachtswoman. On 7 February 2005 she broke the world record for the fastest solo...

 set the fastest lap time in the Liana, with a time of 1:46.7. The fastest lap time in the Chevrolet Lacetti was set by Jay Kay with a time of 1:45.83. His performance in the final episode of series 11 replaced Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell
Simon Phillip Cowell is an English A&R executive, television producer, entrepreneur, and television personality. He is known in the United Kingdom and United States for his role as a talent judge on TV shows such as Pop Idol, The X Factor, Britain's Got Talent and American Idol...

's at the head of the leader board. Kevin McCloud
Kevin McCloud
Kevin McCloud is a British designer, writer and television presenter best known for his work on the Channel 4 series Grand Designs. He lives in a 15th-century farmhouse in Frome, Somerset, with his wife Suzanna "Zani" who runs an online interior decoration business, and their two children, Milo ...

 was second with a time of 1:45.87, Brian Johnson
Brian Johnson
Brian Johnson is an English singer and lyricist who has been the lead singer for the rock band AC/DC since 1980. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 along with the other members of the band....

 was third, and Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell
Simon Phillip Cowell is an English A&R executive, television producer, entrepreneur, and television personality. He is known in the United Kingdom and United States for his role as a talent judge on TV shows such as Pop Idol, The X Factor, Britain's Got Talent and American Idol...

 fourth, both with a time of 1:45.9 on the board. The fastest time in the Kia Cee'd was briefly that of Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

 with a lap time of 1:44.2; since then he has been beaten by Ross Noble
Ross Noble
Ross Markham Noble is an English stand-up comedian, brought up in Cramlington, Northumberland, England.Noble rose to mainstream popularity through making appearances on British television, particularly interviews and on celebrity quiz shows such as Have I Got News for You...

 who achieved a time of 1:43.5 in July 2011, John Bishop
John Bishop (comedian)
John Joseph Bishop is an award-winning comedian.His television debut came on The Panel. As an actor, he has appeared in the E4 teen drama Skins as Mr Fitch, father of twins, Katie and Emily and in the Ken Loach film Route Irish...

 who managed 1:42.8 in January 2011, and Rowan Atkinson
Rowan Atkinson
Rowan Sebastian Atkinson is a British actor, comedian, and screenwriter. He is most famous for his work on the satirical sketch comedy show Not The Nine O'Clock News, and the sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean and The Thin Blue Line...

 who achieved the current fastest time ever of 1:42.2 in July 2011.

There have been several mishaps in the past with this feature. Michael Gambon
Michael Gambon
Sir Michael John Gambon, CBE is an Irish actor who has worked in theatre, television and film. A highly respected theatre actor, Gambon is recognised for his roles as Philip Marlowe in the BBC television serial The Singing Detective, as Jules Maigret in the 1990s ITV serial Maigret, and as...

 went around the final corner of the track on two wheels, prompting Clarkson to rename the corner in Gambon's honour. Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie
Lionel Brockman Richie, Jr. , is an American singer-songwriter, musician and record producer. Since 1968, he has been a member of the musical group Commodores signed to Motown Records...

 and Trevor Eve
Trevor Eve
Trevor John Eve is a British film and television actor. In 1979 he gained fame as the eponymous lead in the detective series Shoestring and is also known for his role as Detective Superintendent Peter Boyd in BBC television drama Waking the Dead.-Early life:Eve was born in Sutton Coldfield,...

 each lost a wheel and David Soul
David Soul
David Soul is an American-British actor and singer, best known for his role as Detective Kenneth "Hutch" Hutchinson in the television programme Starsky and Hutch . He gained British citizenship in 2004.-Early life:...

 destroyed the clutches of both the main car and the back-up car. Several celebrities have come off the track in practice, with Clarkson showing the footage to the audience.

There is a separate Formula One
Formula One
Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the highest class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile . The "formula" designation in the name refers to a set of rules with which...

 drivers' leader board, because of the considerable skill advantage F1 drivers have. Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel is a German Formula One racing driver, currently driving for Red Bull Racing. He is the current World Champion, having won the championship in and ....

 is currently top of the time sheet, with a time of 1.44.0. So far, only Sebastian Vettel and Rubens Barrichello
Rubens Barrichello
Rubens Gonçalves "Rubinho" Barrichello is a Brazilian Formula One racing driver. He is currently racing for Williams F1.Barrichello has scored the seventh highest points total in Formula One history. Barrichello drove for Ferrari from to , as Michael Schumacher's teammate, enjoying considerable...

 (with a time of 1.44.3) managed to be faster than The Stig. All Formula One times, even those set after the seventh series, are set in the Suzuki Liana.

Power Laps

In the Power Laps segment, The Stig completes a lap around the Top Gear test track
Top Gear Test Track
The Top Gear test track is used by the BBC automotive television programme Top Gear. It is located at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, United Kingdom. The track was designed by Lotus Cars...

 to gauge the performance of various cars. The Top Gear test track
Top Gear Test Track
The Top Gear test track is used by the BBC automotive television programme Top Gear. It is located at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, United Kingdom. The track was designed by Lotus Cars...

 was designed by Lotus.

The qualifications for the normal Power Lap Board are that the car being tested must be roadworthy, commercially available, and able to negotiate a speed bump
Speed bump
A speed bump is a speed-reducing feature of road design to slow traffic or reduce through traffic, via...

 (sometimes referred to as a 'sleeping policeman'). There is a separate unofficial board of times for non-production cars, such as the Aston Martin DBR9
Aston Martin DBR9
The Aston Martin DBR9 is a racing car built by Aston Martin Racing, debuting in 2005. The name DBR9 is derived from the original 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning DBR1 car, named for then-owner David Brown, which not only won the 24 Hour race in 1959 but also the World Sportscar title.-Development:Based...

 Le Mans
Le Mans Series
The Le Mans Series is a European sports car racing endurance series based around the 24 Hours of Le Mans race and run by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest . The series was originally named the Le Mans Endurance Series, but changed its name prior to the 2006 season...


Cars that have recorded ineligible lap times on the Top Gear track include the Renault F1 car
Renault R24
The Renault R24 is a Formula One car that competed in the 2004 Formula One season. It was clearly one of the fastest, most-reliable cars of the season, managing to outpace both the Williams and McLaren, as well as proving to be a consistent challenger to the equally-fast BAR Hondas of Jenson Button...

, at fifty-nine seconds (0:59.00), and the Caparo T1
Caparo T1
The Caparo T1 is a British mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-seat automobile built by Caparo Vehicle Technologies, founded by design director Ben Scott-Geddes and engineering director Graham Halstead, engineers formerly involved in the development of the McLaren F1. The T1 was inspired by Formula...

, at 1:10.6, both disqualified due to the sleeping policeman requirement, as well as the Ferrari FXX
Ferrari FXX
The Ferrari FXX is a high performance race car built by automobile manufacturer Ferrari in Maranello, Italy. The FXX is based on the street-legal Enzo. Production of the FXX began in 2005.- Overview :...

, at 1:10.7, which was disqualified for using slick tyres. The Pagani Zonda R set a time of 1:08.00 but was disqualified for not being road legal.

The fastest road-legal car that met the Power Lap requirements has been the Ariel Atom
Ariel Atom
The Ariel Atom is a high performance sports car made by the Ariel Motor Company based in Somerset, England and under licence in North America by TMI Autotech, Inc. at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia....

 V8 with a lap time of 1:15.1, beating second-place McLaren MP4-12C
McLaren MP4-12C
The McLaren MP4-12C is a sports car designed and manufactured by McLaren Automotive. It is the first production car wholly designed and built by McLaren since the McLaren F1. The car's final design was unveiled on 8 September 2009, and it is set to be launched in 2011...

, by 1.1 seconds.

The Cool Wall

Introduced in the sixth episode of series one, Clarkson and Hammond decide which cars are cool
Cool (aesthetic)
Something regarded as cool is an admired aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance and style, influenced by and a product of the Zeitgeist. Because of the varied and changing connotations of cool, as well its subjective nature, the word has no single meaning. It has associations of...

 and which are not by placing photographs of them on to various sections of a large board, known as 'The Cool Wall'. The categories are, from left to right; "Seriously Uncool", "Uncool", "Cool", and "Sub Zero".
According to Andy Wilman, the show's producer, any given car's coolness factor rested on various attributes that are not necessarily related to the quality of the car itself. For example, Wilman suggests that "fashionable cars" such as the Audi TT
Audi TT
The Audi TT is a two-door sports car manufactured by the German automaker and Volkswagen Group subsidiary Audi since 1998.The Audi TT has been produced in two generations. Both generations have been available in two car body styles; as a 2+2 Coupé, or two-seater Roadster...

, Chrysler PT Cruiser
Chrysler PT Cruiser
The Chrysler PT Cruiser is a retro styled compact automobile launched by Chrysler as a 5-door hatchback in early 2000 and as a 2-door convertible in early 2005 ....

, Jaguar S-Type
Jaguar S-Type
The Jaguar S-Type was a mid-size luxury/executive car that debuted at the 1998 Birmingham Motor Show and went on sale in spring 1999. The name is a revival of a previous Jaguar model, the S-Type introduced in 1963.-Overview:...

, and Volkswagen Beetle
Volkswagen Beetle
The Volkswagen Type 1, widely known as the Volkswagen Beetle or Volkswagen Bug, is an economy car produced by the German auto maker Volkswagen from 1938 until 2003...

 are uncool because they "make a massive impact for five minutes and then look clichéd and vaguely ridiculous."

On the show, Clarkson has stated that cars were deemed cool by the extent to which he believed they would impress actress Kristin Scott Thomas
Kristin Scott Thomas
Kristin A. Scott Thomas, OBE is an English actress who has also acquired French nationality. She gained international recognition in the 1990s for her roles in Bitter Moon, Four Weddings and a Funeral and The English Patient....

, and later, BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce
Fiona Bruce
Fiona Elizabeth Bruce is a British journalist, newsreader and television presenter. Since joining the BBC in 1989, she has gone on to present many flagship programmes for the corporation including the BBC News at Six, BBC News at Ten, Crimewatch, Call My Bluff and, most recently, Antiques Roadshow...

. Both have since been the celebrity guest for the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car feature; when Scott Thomas appeared on the show in series nine, many of her own judgments on which vehicles were "cool" and "uncool" were the opposite to the show's verdicts (her own car being a G-Wiz, previously dubbed "uncool"). Later, when Bruce came on in series 11, her preferred choice of transport – a Citroën Xsara Picasso
Citroën Xsara Picasso
The Citroën Xsara Picasso is a compact MPV released by Citroën in 1999. At the time of its release, two trim levels were available, LX and SX, with a choice of three engines two 1.6 and 1.8 litre petrols, and a 2.0 Litre HDI engine, all shared with the smaller Citroën Xsara. The Executive trim...

 – visibly horrified Clarkson.

In the first episode of series four, a separate fridge section, the "DB9 Super Cool Fridge", on a table to the right of the board, was introduced after Clarkson declared that the Aston Martin DB9
Aston Martin DB9
-DB9 Volante:The Aston Martin DB9 Volante is the convertible version of the DB9 coupe. It is built by hand in limited numbers and has enhanced styling. It is powered by the same 6.0 litre, DOHC 48 valve V12 as the DB9 and is completed with 470 bhp and a top speed of 186 mph...

 was too cool even to be classified as "Sub-Zero". It initially contained just the DB9, but was eventually joined by the Aston Martin V8 Vantage in the seventh series. At the other end of the scale, James May's car – the Fiat Panda
Fiat Panda
The Fiat Panda is a city car from the Italian automobile manufacturer Fiat. The first Fiat Panda was introduced in 1980, and was produced until 2003 with only a few changes. It is now sometimes referred to as the "old Panda". The second model, launched in 2003, is sometimes referred to "New Panda"...

 – from the cool side of the wall was placed several metres to the left of the "uncool" side, on a banner at the back of the hangar followed by the Renault Laguna. This was partly due to an acknowledged rule by the presenters that cars owned by themselves cannot be considered cool. In series nine, Clarkson was forced to place the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder in the Uncool section because he had just bought one. He then revealed that he had sold his Ford GT
Ford GT
The Ford GT is a mid-engine two-seater sports car. Ford Motor Company produced the Ford GT for the 2005 to 2006 model years. The designers drew inspiration from Ford's GT40 race cars of the 1960s.- Development :...

, allowing him to move that car back into the Sub-Zero section.

The humour of this section often lies in Clarkson and Hammond disagreeing over which section a car should be placed in, with Clarkson nearly always winning the argument – sometimes by placing the car at the very top of the wall, preventing the much shorter Hammond from being able to reach it (although in the last episode of series 13 Hammond got his own back by using a scissor lift to place a Nissan 370Z
Nissan 370Z
The Nissan 370Z is a sports car manufactured by Nissan Motors. It was announced on October 29, 2008 and was first shown at an event in Los Angeles ahead of the 2008 Greater LA Auto Show, before being officially unveiled at the show itself...

 in the Sub-Zero section, which was then stopped by Clarkson pressing the emergency stop button so that he could put the Pagani Zonda Cinque, Hammond's "favourite car in the world", and 5 photos of Hammond himself in the Seriously Uncool section). Clarkson sometimes uses more extreme methods such as burning the card depicting the car in question, or once even taking a chainsaw to the wall when Hammond dared to try and place a Ducati 1098
Ducati 1098
The Ducati 1098 is a sport bike manufactured by the Italian motorcycle company Ducati since 2007. There were three different versions, called the 1098, 1098S, and 1098R...

 motorbike on the wall. Clarkson has even destroyed Hammond's microphone to stop him. Hammond has occasionally had his revenge: after a series of disagreements with Clarkson's choices, he snatched the card on which a BMW M6
The BMW M6, also known as the BMW M635CSi, is a high-performance version of the 6-Series automobile, designed by the motorsport division of BMW...

 was featured from Clarkson and then ran into the audience, leading to a fight between the two and to Hammond eating the card, preventing it from being used. During series six Clarkson had slipped and had surgery in two intervertebral disc
Intervertebral disc
Intervertebral discs lie between adjacent vertebrae in the spine. Each disc forms a cartilaginous joint to allow slight movement of the vertebrae, and acts as a ligament to hold the vertebrae together.-Structure:...

s in his back, and thus was unable to bend down; Hammond ended an argument by placing the car in question at the bottom of the board.

The Cool Wall was mostly destroyed in the fire that occurred in August 2007 (reported, tongue in cheek, by Jeremy Clarkson as having been started by their Five rivals, Fifth Gear
Fifth Gear
Fifth Gear is a motoring television magazine show from the United Kingdom. Originally shown on Channel 5, the show is currently presented by Tiff Needell, Vicki Butler-Henderson, Jason Plato, Jonny Smith and Ben Collins...

) and was not used during the subsequent tenth series. The burnt wall was present during episode 3 of series 10, when Hammond was testing the auto-parking Lexus LS 600
Lexus LS
The Lexus LS is a full-size luxury sedan that serves as the flagship model of Lexus, the luxury division of Toyota. Four generations of the sedan have been produced, all equipped with V8 engines and rear-wheel drive, although since 2006 all-wheel drive, hybrid, and long-wheelbase variants have also...

 next to it. A new Cool Wall was introduced in the second episode of series eleven.

Two specific rules of the cool wall are: "All Alfa Romeos are automatically cool" and "Everything with a Skoda badge on it is considered to be seriously uncool". In addition, a car owned by any of the presenters is automatically "uncool".

Unusual reviews

A common theme on Top Gear is an approach to reviewing cars which combines standard road tests and opinions with an extremely unusual circumstance, or with a challenge to demonstrate a notable characteristic of the vehicle.

This has included several reviews, including "Toyota Hilux Destruction", featured in series three, episodes five and six. Various methods were employed by Clarkson and May to try to destroy a fourth generation Toyota Hilux
Toyota Hilux
The Toyota Hilux is a series of compact pickup trucks produced and marketed by the Toyota Motor Corporation. Most countries used the Hilux name for the entire life of the series but in North America, the Hilux name was retired in 1976 in favor of Truck, Pickup Truck, or Compact Truck...

, thereby proving its strength. The 'trials' included dropping the Hilux from a crane, setting the vehicle on fire, crashing it into a tree, driving it through a big shed (with a sign which said 'Top Gear Production Office'), leaving it in the Bristol Channel
Bristol Channel
The Bristol Channel is a major inlet in the island of Great Britain, separating South Wales from Devon and Somerset in South West England. It extends from the lower estuary of the River Severn to the North Atlantic Ocean...

 and waiting for the tide to engulf it, dropping a caravan on it, slamming it with a wrecking ball
Wrecking ball
A wrecking ball is a heavy steel ball, usually hung from a crane, that is used for demolishing large buildings. It was most common during the 1950s and 1960s. Several wrecking companies claim to have invented the wrecking ball...

, and finally having it hoisted to the roof of a tower-block that was subsequently demolished with explosives. The heavily damaged (but still driveable, without the use of any new parts except for a replacement windscreen) Hilux now stands on a plinth in the Top Gear studio.

Another such review featured a Ford Fiesta, after Hammond read out a letter from a viewer complaining that "Top Gear cannot review cars properly any more." Clarkson gave the model a sarcastic, but thorough, appraisal and was then pursued around Festival Place
Festival Place
Festival Place is a shopping centre in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England which opened on Tuesday, 22 October 2002. It houses 165 shops including large department stores such as Bhs, Debenhams, and Marks and Spencer...

 shopping centre in Basingstoke
Basingstoke is a town in northeast Hampshire, in south central England. It lies across a valley at the source of the River Loddon. It is southwest of London, northeast of Southampton, southwest of Reading and northeast of the county town, Winchester. In 2008 it had an estimated population of...

, Hampshire, by a Chevrolet Corvette C6
Chevrolet Corvette C6
The Chevrolet Corvette is a sports car produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors introduced for the 2005 model year. The current generation Corvette is the first with exposed headlamps since the 1962 model...

. The Fiesta was then used as a beach landing craft
Landing craft
Landing craft are boats and seagoing vessels used to convey a landing force from the sea to the shore during an amphibious assault. Most renowned are those used to storm the beaches of Normandy, the Mediterranean, and many Pacific islands during WWII...

 with the Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...


Occasionally, many cars are featured and reviewed inside one segment. In the "Scooter Road Test Russian Roulette Challenge" of series six, episode nine, Hammond and May worked as ScooterMen in order to road-test as many randomly selected cars as possible, the catch being that they wouldn't know what they'd be road-testing and have to review the vehicles in the presence of the owners.

Exotic or foreign cars are occasionally also reviewed in unusual ways. In the "VIP Chauffeur" test of series eleven, episode six, May conducted road tests in Japan of the Mitsuoka Orochi
Mitsuoka Orochi
The Mitsuoka Orochi is a Japanese sports car designed and built by Mitsuoka Motors as a concept car in 2001, with updates and revisions to the design appearing in 2003 and 2005, before finally being put into production and offered for sale in late 2006 as a 2007 model. The car takes its name from...

 and Galue
Mitsuoka Galue
The Mitsuoka Galue is a name used on two series of cars, which are based on more conventional Japanese and American cars. Both series are available as of February 2008.- First series :...

, and used the Galue to chauffeur a Sumo wrestler and his manager to a tournament as a way to test if the car is "Japan's Rolls-Royce
Rolls-Royce (car)
This a list of Rolls-Royce motor cars and includes vehicles produced by:*Rolls-Royce Limited *Rolls-Royce Motors , which was owned by Vickers between 1980 and 1998, and after that by Volkswagen...


During its release in 2008, the Dacia Sandero
Dacia Sandero
The Dacia Sandero is a five door hatchback car produced jointly by the French manufacturer Renault and its subsidiary Dacia of Romania. The Sandero is based on the Logan.-Design and global marketing:...

 was frequently mentioned as a running gag
Running gag
A running gag, or running joke, is a literary device that takes the form of an amusing joke or a comical reference and appears repeatedly throughout a work of literature or other form of storytelling....

 in the show's News feature, with the presenters' increasingly sarcastic excitement highlighting their opinion that the car was of no real importance to anybody. James May would sarcastically say "Great News! The Dacia Sandero..." and it would follow with a pointless fact about the Sandero. In the first episode of series 14, the crew actually went to Romania, where the Sandero is built. While there, Jeremy bought a Sandero for May, but just after May drove it, it was promptly crushed by a lorry. James said it was a brilliant car, and was furious when it was crushed.

Also in series 14 Clarkson tested the Renault Twingo in Belfast following a complaint from one of the city's residents. Despite catching a cold on the ferry getting there, he admitted he loved the car. However, he did some rather strange things, including driving it "upside down" in the Belfast Sewage System. In a joke gag, Clarkson ended up driving the car into Belfast Lough
Belfast Lough
Belfast Lough is a large, natural intertidal sea lough at the mouth of the River Lagan on the east coast of Northern Ireland. The inner part of the lough comprises a series of mudflats and lagoons. The outer lough is restricted to mainly rocky shores with some small sandy bays...

 after an attempt to land it on the HSS Stena Voyager after missing boarding times. Throughout the review it was revealed Ross Kemp
Ross Kemp
Ross James Kemp is a BAFTA award-winning British actor, author and journalist, who rose to prominence in the role of Grant Mitchell in the BBC soap opera, EastEnders...

 was in the boot.

In series 15 episode 3, Clarkson, Hammond and May took turns testing three high performance sports saloons: a Porsche Panamera
Porsche Panamera
The Porsche Panamera is a four-door a coupe. It is front-engined with rear-wheel drive, with four-wheel drive versions also available....

 Turbo, a Maserati Quattroporte
Maserati Quattroporte
The Maserati Quattroporte is a luxury four-door saloon made by Maserati in Italy. The name translated from Italian literally means "four doors". There have been five generations of the car, each separated by a period of roughly five years....

, and an Aston Martin Rapide
Aston Martin Rapide
The Aston Martin Rapide is a four-door, high-performance sport saloon, which British luxury marque Aston Martin introduced in early 2010. It was first presented as a concept car at the North American International Auto Show in 2006. The Rapide name is a reference to the Lagonda Rapide, a saloon car...

. All three presenters acted as chauffeurs for an actual wedding; the couple was invited to the studio during the airing of the segment (afterwards, they were introduced to the audience and presented with a toilet seat with a picture of the three presenters on its surface).

Car of the Year

At the end of each autumn series the hosts present an award to their favourite car of the year. The only criterion for the award is that all three presenters must come to a unanimous choice. Winners have included:
Year Car
2002 Land Rover Range Rover
Range Rover
The Range Rover is a large luxury four-wheel drive sport utility vehicle produced by British car maker Land Rover. The model, launched in 1970, is now in its third generation...

2003 Rolls-Royce Phantom
Rolls-Royce Phantom (BMW)
The Rolls-Royce Phantom is a saloon automobile made in England by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, a BMW subsidiary. It was launched in 2003 and is the first model introduced during the BMW era. The Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé, and the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé, are both based on the 2003 Phantom...

2004 Volkswagen Golf GTI
2005 Bugatti Veyron
Bugatti Veyron
The Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 is a mid-engined grand touring car. The Super Sport version is the fastest road-legal production car in the world, with a top speed of . The original version has a top speed of...

2006 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder
2007 Ford Mondeo
Ford Mondeo
The Mondeo was launched on 8 January 1993, and sales began on 22 March 1993. Available as a four-door saloon, a five-door hatchback, and a five-door estate, all models for the European market were produced at Ford's plant in the Belgian city of Genk...

 or Subaru Legacy Outback
Subaru Outback
The Subaru Outback is a station wagon manufactured by Fuji Heavy Industries since 1995. Its original concept originated with Subaru of America, which was suffering from slumping sales in the mid-1990s partly due to a lack of an entry in the then-burgeoning sport utility vehicle market...

2008 Caterham Seven R500
2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni
2010 Citroën DS3
Citroën DS3
The Citroën DS3 is a supermini, produced by French manufacturer Citroën from 2009. This is the first car in the new DS range from Citroën. It was first hinted by the concept car Citroën DS Inside. This range of vehicle shares no common feature with, and is in no way the successor to, the Citroën DS...

Car of the Decade

Decade Car
1990s Ford Escort RS Cosworth
Ford Escort RS Cosworth
The Ford Escort RS Cosworth was a sports derivative of the Ford Escort. It was available from 1992-96 in very limited numbers.It was instantly recognisable due to its large "whale tail" rear spoiler...

2000s Bugatti Veyron
Bugatti Veyron
The Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 is a mid-engined grand touring car. The Super Sport version is the fastest road-legal production car in the world, with a top speed of . The original version has a top speed of...

Ownership survey

From 2003 to 2006, Top Gear conducted an annual survey which consults thousands of UK residents on their car-ownership satisfaction. The survey asks respondents to score cars on build quality, craftsmanship, driving experience, ownership costs, and customer care. While for legal reasons the survey is now conducted via the Top Gear
Top Gear (magazine)
Top Gear is an automobile magazine published by BBC Worldwide, and named after the BBC's Top Gear television show. It was first published in October 1993 and is published monthly at a price of £3.95. The major presenters of the television series—Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson—are...

 magazine, the results are still used on the show. The survey, formerly undertaken in conjunction with J.D. Power
J.D. Power and Associates
J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services firm founded in 1968 by James David Power III. The firm conducts surveys of customer satisfaction, product quality, and buyer behavior for industries ranging from cars to marketing and advertising firms. The firm is best known for...

, is now conducted by Experian
Experian plc, formerly known as CCN Systems, is a global credit information group with operations in 36 countries. The company employs 15,500 people with corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland and operational headquarters in Nottingham, England and Costa Mesa, California, US...

. Based on these weighted criteria, the best and worst ranked cars from the survey are:
Year Best ranked Worst ranked
2003 Jaguar XJ
Jaguar XJ
Jaguar XJ is the designation that has been used for a series of luxury saloon cars sold under the British Jaguar marque. The first XJ was launched in 1968 and the designation has been used for successive Jaguar flagship models since then. The original model was the last Jaguar saloon to have had...

Volkswagen Sharan
Volkswagen Sharan
The Volkswagen Sharan is a large MPV produced by the German automaker Volkswagen since 1995.-First generation :The name Sharan is derived from a Persian word meaning "Carrier of Kings"....

2004 Honda S2000
Honda S2000
The Honda S2000 is a roadster that was manufactured by the Japanese automaker Honda Motor Company. It was launched in April 1999 and was created to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. The car was first shown as a concept at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995, following which it was launched in...

Mercedes M-Class
2005 Honda S2000
Honda S2000
The Honda S2000 is a roadster that was manufactured by the Japanese automaker Honda Motor Company. It was launched in April 1999 and was created to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. The car was first shown as a concept at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995, following which it was launched in...

Peugeot 807
2006 Honda S2000
Honda S2000
The Honda S2000 is a roadster that was manufactured by the Japanese automaker Honda Motor Company. It was launched in April 1999 and was created to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. The car was first shown as a concept at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995, following which it was launched in...

Peugeot 807

Ending credits

For the special episodes, the programme alters the end credits to reflect its locale, replacing everybody's first name with one reminiscent of the area. The first time this was done was for the "Winter Olympics Special" episode, filmed in Lillehammer
is a town and municipality in Oppland county, Norway, globally known for hosting the 1994 Winter Olympics. It is part of the traditional region of Gudbrandsdal. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Lillehammer. As of May 2011, the population of the town of Lillehammer was...

, Norway, where everybody was named Björn after Björn Ulvaeus
Björn Ulvaeus
Björn Kristian Ulvaeus is a Swedish songwriter, composer, musician, writer, producer, a former member of the Swedish musical group ABBA , and co-composer of the musicals Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla, and Mamma Mia!...

, except for Hammond, May and The Stig, who took the names Benny
Benny Andersson
Göran Bror "Benny" Andersson is a Swedish musician, composer, a former member of the Swedish musical group ABBA , and co-composer of the musicals Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla, and Mamma Mia!...

, Agnetha
Agnetha Fältskog
Agnetha Åse Fältskog is a Swedish recording artist. She achieved success in Sweden after the release of her début album Agnetha Fältskog in 1968, and reached international stardom as a member of the pop group ABBA, which to date has sold over 375 million records worldwide, making it the fourth...

 and Anni-Frid
Anni-Frid Lyngstad
Anni-Frid Prinzessin Reuss von Plauen , is a Norwegian-born Swedish pop singer...

 as a reference to the other members of ABBA
ABBA was a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1970 which consisted of Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog...

, even though ABBA is from Sweden, not Norway. The end credits of the American Road Trip episode in series 9 named Clarkson as 'Cletus Clarkson', Hammond as 'Earl Hammond Jr.', May as 'Ellie May May', The Stig as 'Rosco P. Stig' and replaced the first names of all other crew members with 'Billy Bob'.

Furthermore, in the Polar Special all first names in the ending credits were replaced with Sir Ranulph, in reference to the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Ranulph Fiennes
Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet, OBE , better known as Ranulph Fiennes, is a British adventurer and holder of several endurance records. He is also a prolific writer. Fiennes served in the British Army for eight years including a period on counter-insurgency service while...

, who had also made an appearance early in the episode. In the African Adventure Special all were called Archbishop Desmond
Desmond Tutu
Desmond Mpilo Tutu is a South African activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid...

, while for the Vietnam road trip special
Top Gear: Vietnam Special
Top Gear: Vietnam Special is a special 75-minute episode of the motoring series Top Gear, which was broadcast on 28 December 2008 at 8:00 pm on BBC Two. An edited 46 minute edition of the show was broadcast on the UK TV channel Dave in the 8.00pm - 9.00pm slot on Monday 19 January 2009...

, everyone's first name was replaced with Francis Ford
Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

 as a nod to the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 epic Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American war film set during the Vietnam War, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The central character is US Army special operations officer Captain Benjamin L. Willard , of MACV-SOG, an assassin sent to kill the renegade and presumed insane Special Forces...


In the Sport Relief 2008 special 'Top Ground Gear Force' all the crew's first names were replaced with 'Monty' in reference to the celebrity gardener Monty Don
Monty Don
Montagu Denis Wyatt Don is a British television presenter, writer and speaker on horticulture, best known for presenting the BBC television series Gardeners' World.-Early life:...

. Clarkson was renamed 'Alan Clarkson' and May as 'Charlie May' in reference to Ground Force
Ground Force
Ground Force was a British garden makeover television series originally broadcast by the BBC between 1997 and 2005. The series was originally hosted by Alan Titchmarsh, Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh and was produced by Endemol for the BBC.-Production:...

 and Hammond as 'Handy Hammond' referencing Changing Rooms
Changing Rooms
Changing room may refer to:*changeroom, a room or enclosure in a clothing store where customers may try on clothes before purchasing them*Changing Rooms, a BBC television series*The Changing Room, a stage play by David Storey...


The one regular episode where the credits were tampered with was the last episode of series 8. Reflecting the episode's main challenge, Clarkson, Hammond and May's first names were altered to those supposedly typical of van drivers; Lee, Wayne and Terry respectively.

The end card of Series Fifteen, Episode 1 stated that the episode was made in 2020, with an additional "X" accidentally added on to the Roman numeral date; the presenters admitted this mistake in the next episode and subsequently discovered that they were broadcasting from the future.

In the end credits for the Christmas 2010 Special, the names of all the cast and crew were changed to mimic the style of medieval naming that gave a person's name and the place of birth, as in "Richard of Solihull
Solihull is a town in the West Midlands of England with a population of 94,753. It is a part of the West Midlands conurbation and is located 9 miles southeast of Birmingham city centre...

", "Jeremy of Doncaster
Doncaster is a town in South Yorkshire, England, and the principal settlement of the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster. The town is about from Sheffield and is popularly referred to as "Donny"...

" and "James of Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

", to link with the theme of the Three Wise Men.


Top Gear has used an adaptation of The Allman Brothers Band
The Allman Brothers Band
The Allman Brothers Band is an American rock/blues band once based in Macon, Georgia. The band was formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1969 by brothers Duane Allman and Gregg Allman , who were supported by Dickey Betts , Berry Oakley , Butch Trucks , and Jai Johanny "Jaimoe"...

's instrumental hit "Jessica" as its theme song
Theme music
Theme music is a piece that is often written specifically for a radio program, television program, video game or movie, and usually played during the title sequence and/or end credits...

 since the original series started in 1977. The show used part of the original Allmans' recording of the song up until the late 1990s, but later series and the 2002 relaunch use updated cover version
Cover version
In popular music, a cover version or cover song, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording of a contemporary or previously recorded, commercially released song or popular song...


During series 6, May hosted a segment showing nominations for the greatest song to drive to, the final list of ten was voted for by write-in nominations on the Top Gear website, the top five were then submitted for phone vote by viewers of the show. Songs in the top 10 were:
Rank Band Song
10 Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac are a British–American rock band formed in 1967 in London.The only original member present in the band is its eponymous drummer, Mick Fleetwood...

"The Chain
The Chain
"The Chain" is a song from Fleetwood Mac's best-selling album Rumours. "The Chain" is unique in being the only song credited to all five members of the Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac lineup: Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie, Stevie Nicks; this is partly because John McVie...

AC/DC are an Australian rock band, formed in 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. Commonly classified as hard rock, they are considered pioneers of heavy metal, though they themselves have always classified their music as simply "rock and roll"...

"Highway to Hell
Highway to Hell (song)
"Highway to Hell" is the opening track of AC/DC's 1979 album Highway to Hell and the twelfth track on AC/DC Live. It was initially released as a single in 1979....

8 Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

"Immigrant Song
Immigrant Song
"Immigrant Song" is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin. It was released as a single from their third album, Led Zeppelin III, in 1970.-Overview:...

7 Kenny Loggins
Kenny Loggins
During the next decade, Loggins recorded so many successful songs for film soundtracks that he was referred to as, King of the Movie Soundtrack.He began with "I'm Alright" , "Mr. Night", and "Lead the Way" from Caddyshack...

"Danger Zone
Danger Zone (Top Gun song)
"Danger Zone" is the title of a song written by Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock, and recorded by American singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins. The song appeared on the soundtrack to the 1986 American motion picture Top Gun.-Overview:...

6 Motörhead "Ace of Spades
Ace of Spades (song)
"Ace of Spades" is a song by the English band Motörhead, released in 1980 as a single and the title track to the album Ace of Spades. The song spent 12 weeks in the United Kingdom Singles Chart, peaking at #15.-Overview:...

5 Deep Purple
Deep Purple
Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. Along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, they are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although some band members believe that their music cannot be categorised as belonging to any one genre...

"Highway Star"
4 Steppenwolf
Steppenwolf (band)
Steppenwolf are a Canadian-American rock group that was prominent in the late 1960s. The group was formed in 1967 in Los Angeles by vocalist John Kay, guitarist Michael Monarch, bassist Rushton Moreve, keyboardist Goldy McJohn and drummer Jerry Edmonton after the dissolution of Toronto group The...

"Born to Be Wild
Born to Be Wild
"Born to Be Wild" is a rock song written by Mars Bonfire and made famous by the Canadian-American rock band Steppenwolf. It is often used in popular culture to denote a biker appearance or attitude...

3 Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf
Michael Lee Aday , better known by his stage name, Meat Loaf, is an American hard rock musician and actor...

"Bat Out of Hell
Bat out of Hell (song)
"Bat Out of Hell" is a song written by Jim Steinman, for the 1977 album Bat Out of Hell. It was released as a single in 1979, and again in 1993...

2 Golden Earring
Golden Earring
Golden Earring are a Dutch rock band, founded in 1961 in The Hague as the Golden Earrings . They had international chart success with the songs "Radar Love" in 1973, "Twilight Zone" in 1982, and "When the Lady Smiles" in 1984. In their home country, they had over 40 hits and made over 30 gold and...

"Radar Love
Radar Love
"Radar Love" is a song by the Dutch rock band Golden Earring. Music critic Bill Lamb rates this among his "top 10 driving songs" due to its lyrics about driving all night and its pulse-quickening, up-tempo beat. The single version of "Radar Love" reached #13 in the US...

1 Queen
Queen (band)
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury , Brian May , John Deacon , and Roger Taylor...

"Don't Stop Me Now
Don't Stop Me Now
"Don't Stop Me Now" is a song by English rock group Queen, featured on their 1978 album Jazz. Written by vocalist Freddie Mercury, it was recorded in August/September 1978 at Super Bear Studios in Berre-les-Alpes , France, and is the twelfth track on the album.Musically, the song is based around...


It included continual complaining from the presenters about the presence of "Bat Out of Hell" on the list (which was leading as of the selection of the top five) and its promotional segment included such visuals as cars being towed away and gridlocked streets. On the other hand, the equivalent "Don't Stop Me Now" segment was the exact opposite, featuring open roads and being described as "a joy" and "a song for life" in the voice-over.

Music compilations

During the run of the series, several compilations of driving songs have been released. These releases were inspired by similar releases that were made available during the show's original run in 1990s. Two exclusive compilations have been released – Australian Anthems, a compilation released in celebration of an Australian version of the show being commissioned, and Seriously Rock & Roll: NZ Edition, released in very limited quantities in the UK, which features a range of music from famous New Zealand artists.
Name Release date Notes
Top Gear: The Greatest Driving Album This Year! 10 November 2003 Double CD
Top Gear: The Ultimate Driving Experience 14 November 2005 Double CD
Top Gear: Anthems – The Greatest Ever Driving Songs 21 May 2007 Double CD
Top Gear: Seriously Cool Driving Music 12 November 2007 Double CD
Top Gear: Anthems 2008 – Seriously Hot Driving Music 2 June 2008 Double CD
Top Gear: Sub Zero Driving Anthems 17 November 2008 Double CD
Top Gear: Australian Anthems 17 November 2008 Double CD
Top Gear: Seriously Hot Driving Anthems 27 October 2009 Double CD
Top Gear: Seriously Rock 'N' Roll 26 November 2009 Double CD
Top Gear: Full Throttle 8 November 2010 Double CD


A number of DVDs have also been released, covering various specials, compilations and much more.

Video on Demand

Select episodes of Top Gear are available on the BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer, commonly shortened to iPlayer, is an internet television and radio service, developed by the BBC to extend its former RealPlayer-based and other streamed video clip content to include whole TV shows....

 in the UK. Select series of Top Gear are available on Amazon's Video on Demand, and on Netflix
Netflix, Inc., is an American provider of on-demand internet streaming media in the United States, Canada, and Latin America and flat rate DVD-by-mail in the United States. The company was established in 1997 and is headquartered in Los Gatos, California...

 and iTunes
iTunes is a media player computer program, used for playing, downloading, and organizing digital music and video files on desktop computers. It can also manage contents on iPod, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad....

 in the United States. Currently on Amazon, series 6 through 17 are available in standard definition, with series 14 through 17 also available in high definition. On Netflix, series 2 through 15 are available for streaming in both the United States and Canada. For series 14 and 15, iTunes provides individual episodes in either standard or high definition.

Top Gear on Facebook

In August 2011, the BBC announced that full-length Top Gear episodes will be available to purchase with Facebook Credits
Facebook Credits
Facebook Credits is a virtual currency that enables people to purchase items in games and non-gaming applications on the Facebook Platform. One U.S. dollar is the equivalent of 10 Facebook Credits. Facebook Credits are currently available in 15 currencies including U.S. dollars, pound sterling,...

 and watch on Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...


Awards and nominations

In November 2005, Top Gear won an International Emmy in the Non-Scripted Entertainment category. In the episode where the presenters showed the award to the studio audience, Clarkson joked that he was unable to go to New York to receive the award because he was busy writing the new script.

Top Gear has also been nominated in three consecutive years (2004–2006) for the British Academy Television Awards
British Academy Television Awards
The British Academy Television Awards are presented in an annual award show hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts . They have been awarded annually since 1954, and are analogous to the Emmy Awards in the United States.-Background:...

 in the Best Feature category. Clarkson was also nominated in the best "Entertainment Performance" category in 2006. In 2004 and 2005, Top Gear was also nominated for a National Television Award
National Television Awards
The National Television Awards is a British television awards ceremony, broadcast by the ITV network and initiated in 1995. The National Television Awards are the most prominent ceremony for which the results are voted on by the general public. Because of the way the awards are decided, winners are...

 in the Most Popular Factual Programme category; it won the award in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011. Accepting the award in October 2007, Richard Hammond made the comment that they really deserved it this year, because he didn't have to crash to get some sympathy votes.

Top Gear presenters have also announced on the show that they have won some slightly lower profile awards. In Series 10, Richard Hammond won the award for the "Best TV Haircut" and James May won the award for the worst. All three presenters have won the award for Heat
Heat (magazine)
Heat is a British entertainment magazine published by German company Bauer Media Group. it is one of the biggest selling magazines in the UK, with a regular circulation over half a million. Its mix of celebrity news, gossip and fashion is primarily aimed at women, although not as directly as in...

 magazine's "weirdest celebrity crush" revealed during the news. In series 11, the Stig won an award from the Scouts
Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, that they may play constructive roles in society....

 for Services to Instruction. After revealing that, the Stig was shown "attacking" the Scouts, and the presenters coming to the conclusion that he is either terrified of Scouts or was a Girl Guide.

At the end of 2009 Top Gear was voted best programme of the decade in a Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

-commissioned survey, The Greatest TV Shows of the Noughties, ahead of The Apprentice and Doctor Who
Doctor Who
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior...

 in second and third places respectively. Industry insiders and television pundits voted; also a thousand members of the public took part in a YouGov
YouGov, formerly known as PollingPoint in the United States, is an international internet-based market research firm launched in the UK in May 2000 by Stephan Shakespeare, now Chief Executive Officer, and Nadhim Zahawi...

 poll. The results were broadcast on Sunday 27 December 2009 at 9:00 pm, the same time as the Bolivia Special
Top Gear: Bolivia Special
Top Gear: Bolivia Special is a special 76 minute episode of the motoring series Top Gear, originally broadcast on BBC Two in the United Kingdom at 19:45 on 27 December 2009....

 on BBC Two.


Top Gear has often been criticised for content inside programmes by some members of the public and by Ofcom
Ofcom is the government-approved regulatory authority for the broadcasting and telecommunications industries in the United Kingdom. Ofcom was initially established by the Office of Communications Act 2002. It received its full authority from the Communications Act 2003...

. Most of the criticisms stem from comments from the presenting team; however, other aspects of the programme have been underlined as unsuitable. Incidents and content ranging from (but not limited to) remarks considered by some viewers to be offensive, promoting irresponsible driving, environmental issues, ridiculing Germans, Mexicans, Polish and alleged homophobia
Homophobia is a term used to refer to a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards lesbian, gay and in some cases bisexual, transgender people and behavior, although these are usually covered under other terms such as biphobia and transphobia. Definitions refer to irrational fear, with the...

 have generated complaints. British comedian and guest of the show Steve Coogan
Steve Coogan
Stephen John "Steve" Coogan is a British comedian, actor, writer and producer. Born in Manchester, he began his career as a standup comedian and impressionist, working as a voice artist throughout the 1980s on satirical puppet show Spitting Image. In the early nineties, Coogan began creating...

 has criticised the show, accusing it of lazy, adolescent humour and "casual racism".

The programme has also been accused of misrepresenting vehicle manufacturer Tesla
Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors, Inc. is a Silicon Valley-based company that designs, manufactures and sells electric cars and electric vehicle powertrain components. It was the only automaker building and selling a zero-emission sports car, the Tesla Roadster, in serial production...

 in an episode first aired in 2008. The firm took Top Gear to court for libel and malicious falsehood after it suggested one of its Roadster
Tesla Roadster
The Tesla Roadster is a battery electric vehicle sports car produced by the electric car firm Tesla Motors in California. The Roadster was the first highway-capable all-electric vehicle in serial production available in the United States. Since 2008 Tesla has sold 2,024 Roadsters in 30 countries...

 vehicles had run out of power after only 55 miles.
On 19 October 2011, the High Court in London rejected Tesla's libel claim, ruling in favor of Top Gear & the BBC.

Clarkson himself has been critical of the BBC over handling of the programme. In the February 2006 issue of Top Gear magazine, Clarkson voiced his opinion that the BBC did not take Top Gear seriously. He has also commented on his dislike of BBC bosses for choosing the length of the series and for often replacing the show with snooker
Snooker is a cue sport that is played on a green baize-covered table with pockets in each of the four corners and in the middle of each of the long side cushions. A regular table is . It is played using a cue and snooker balls: one white , 15 worth one point each, and six balls of different :...

 (which Clarkson labelled as "drunk men playing billiards
English billiards
English billiards, called simply billiards in many former British colonies and in Great Britain where it originated, is a hybrid form of carom and pocket billiards played on a billiard table. Billiards is less well known as "the English game", "the all-in game" and "the common game".The game is for...

"), despite Top Gear having considerably higher viewing figures.

International productions

Top Gear is broadcast in 170 different countries. BBC claims Top Gear has a viewership of 350 million per week. These numbers are speculated and are not confirmed by released BBC ratings. Whether these numbers hold true, Top Gear is still one of the most watched TV shows currently.


On 19 November 2007, it was revealed that a localised Australian series of Top Gear would be produced by the Special Broadcasting Service
Special Broadcasting Service
The Special Broadcasting Service is a hybrid-funded Australian public broadcasting radio and television network. The stated purpose of SBS is "to provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and, in doing so, reflect...

 network in conjunction with Freehand Productions, BBC Worldwide's Australasian partner. This announcement marks the first time a deal has been struck for a version of Top Gear to be produced exclusively for a foreign market. No indication was given as to the exact makeup of the show, other than that it would have a distinct Australian style. SBS ran a competition to find hosts for the show, and in May 2008 confirmed that the presenters for the Australian programme were to be Charlie Cox
Charlie Cox (racing)
Charlie Cox , a motorcycling commentator, was brought up in the Sydney suburb of Gymea.-Racing career:His background is based on 4 wheels rather than 2. He raced in the National Saloon Car Cup in Britain using a Ford Escort RS Cosworth in 1993 and 1994, winning several races. He also won the...

, Warren Brown
Warren Brown (cartoonist)
Warren Brown is an Australian cartoonist and television presenter.He has been an editorial newspaper cartoonist since 1986. He is currently cartoonist for the Sydney's Daily Telegraph, for which he also writes a weekly motoring column....

, Steve Pizzati
Steve Pizzati
Steve Pizzati is an Australian race driver, driving instructor, television presenter and free-lance motoring journalist.He was born in Melbourne to Italian parents; he did not learn to speak English until he was four years old....

 and a local 'cousin' of The Stig. James Morrison
James Morrison (musician)
James Morrison AM is an Australian jazz musician who plays numerous instruments, but is best known for his trumpet playing...

 replaced Charlie for the second season of Top Gear Australia. Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson added, "I'm delighted that Top Gear is going to Australia."
It was announced that the Nine Network
Nine Network
The Nine Network , is an Australian television network with headquarters based in Willoughby, a suburb located on the North Shore of Sydney. For 50 years since television's inception in Australia, between 1956 and 2006, it was the most watched television network in Australia...

 had secured the rights to the local and UK versions from 2010 on both its Nine and Go! (digital TV) stations. On 20 June 2010, it was announced that actor and comedian Shane Jacobson
Shane Jacobson
Shane Jacobson is an Australian actor, director, writer, and comedian, best known for his performance as the eponymous character Kenny Smyth in the 2006 film Kenny...

 and Top Gear Australia magazine editor Ewen Page would join a returning Steve Pizzati to present the show which premiered on 28 September 2010.
The Australian version has received lacklustre reviews.


On 14 October 2008, the Top Gear website confirmed that a Russian edition of the programme was scheduled for production by the end of that year. Initially, 15 episodes were scheduled. It was revealed on 20 December that the pilot, branded Top Gear: Russian Version, was filmed for broadcast on 22 February 2009. The format is similar to its British counterpart, with three hosts: an ex rock guitarist Nikolai Fomenko
Nikolai Fomenko
Nikolai Vladimirovich Fomenko is a Russian musician, comic actor, motor racer, president of Marussia Motors and engineering director of Marussia Virgin Racing.- Music career :...

, an ex-MTV Russia
MTV Russia
MTV Russia is a Russian language free-to-air 24 hour entertainment and music service seen in 22 million households in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Omsk, Voronezh, Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg, among other cities.-History:...

 VJ Oscar Kuchera, and a former automotive journalist Mikhail Petrovsky.

After only half of the first season, broadcasting of the Russian version ceased due to viewers' criticism. The channel switched to broadcasting the British version of the show from then on.

United States

First news of an American version of Top Gear surfaced in January 2006, when the official Top Gear website ran a feature about the filming of an American version of the show, produced by the Discovery Channel. The pilot featured Bruno Massel as one of the hosts, but was not picked up by the network, which later began running edited versions of Series 1–5 of the UK original.

In April 2007, the BBC reported on a Sun
The Sun (newspaper)
The Sun is a daily national tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and owned by News Corporation. Sister editions are published in Glasgow and Dublin...

 story that Top Gear had been in talks about creating an American version. The current presenters would remain as hosts, but the show would focus on American cars and include American celebrities. Plans for an American version were eventually shelved, partly over Clarkson's misgivings about spending several months in the U.S., away from his family.

The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 announced it ordered a pilot episode for an American version of Top Gear, to be produced by BBC Worldwide America. The pilot, filmed in June 2008, was presented by television and radio host Adam Carolla
Adam Carolla
Adam Carolla is an American radio personality, television host, comedian, and actor. He currently hosts The Adam Carolla Show, a talk show distributed as a podcast on the ACE Broadcasting Network...

, stunt driver Tanner Foust
Tanner Foust
Tanner Foust is a professional racing driver, stunt driver, and television host. He competes in rally, drift, ice racing, time attack and rallycross with multiple podium placements and national championships. He is a co-host on the American version of the motoring television series, Top...

, and television carpenter Eric Stromer
Eric Stromer
Eric Antony Stromer was a co-host for the canceled motoring television series, Top Gear, on NBC. He was raised in Evanston, Illinois....

. However, following the failure of a car-themed drama, NBC did not place the programme on its schedule, indicating it planned to hold it as a spring/summer (2009) season replacement. Eventually, NBC dropped the show. In a February 2010 appearance in Australia, Jeremy Clarkson commented that the U.S. version of the show had been "canned".

The show found new life in February 2010, when it was announced that the History cable channel had picked up the series and ordered between 10 and 12 episodes. The show began production in August 2010, with a premiere on 21 November 2010. A trailer was released in early August showing footage of the hosts simulating a "Moonshine run".

South Korea

On 20 August 2011, the 1st episode of Korean version of Top Gear, produced by the XTM Channel was aired. The current presenters are Kim Kap-su
Kim Kap-su
Kim Kap-soo is a South Korean actor. His acting debut was in 1977. Kim is a high profile actor in his age bracket and has had a long career as an actor on the stage, in television dramas and film. He is well respected in Korea for his acting ability and is a sought after lecturer...

, Kim Jin Pyo
Kim Jin Pyo
Kim Jin Pyo is former member of groups Panic and Novasonic.- Albums :# 列外 , 1998# JP.Style, 1998 # 김진표 Jp 3, July 2001 # Kim Jin Pyo vol.4, May 2003# Galanty Show, 2008- References :* *...

, Yeon Jeong-hoon (연정훈).

External links

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