Top Gear (2002–…): Season 15, Episode 1 - Episode #15.1 - full transcript

Jeremy road tests the new Bentley Continental Supersports. James attempts to get close to an active volcano in Iceland using a Toyota Hilux pick-up truck (the same truck that the crew used on the trip to the North Pole). Richard says goodbye to the old Reasonably Priced Car (the Chevrolet Lacetti) by giving it a proper burial. A new Reasonably Priced Car is introduced. Jeremy tests the Reliant Robin.

On today's show, James catches fire.

Richard knocks something over.

And I crash a Reliant Robin
into to a lamppost.


Hello, we're back! We're back!

We're back and we are...

.. more sensible than ever.

Well, we're starting
sensibly anyway, with this,

the Bentley Continental GT.

It's not my cup of tea,
if I'm honest,

but if you live in Cheshire and
you have to travel great distances

at high speed in drinks globe luxury
it really is in a class of one.

Now, however, there's a new
version which is a bit different.

It's called the Continental
Supersports, and this is it.

The fastest, most outlandish car
Bentley has ever made.

First of all, it's been lightened.

The rear seat has been
replaced with air.

The sofas up front are now racing buckets trimmed
in the Duke of Westminster's smoking jacket.

And there is carbon fibre on
the dash rather than walnut.

The result is dramatic because that car
weighs just two and a quarter tons,

about the same as a three
bedroom terraced house.

Still, it's not like there isn't
enough power to deal with the bulk.

It has the same engine as before,
a 6 litre twin turbo W12,

but now it produces 621 horsepower.

The result is 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds.

God, that is 167, 168
and it's still pulling!

Flat out, it will do
204 miles an hour,

even if you fill the tank
with Jerusalem artichokes.

That engine has been designed to run on something
called bioethanol, fuel made from plants.

And if you use that rather than
petrol the power output remains

the same, but you get fewer carbon
dioxides coming out of the back.

Sounds wonderful, if you believe
in this carbon malarkey,

but there are a couple of drawbacks.

First of all, there are 8,850 petrol stations
in Britain, but only 20 of them sell bio-ethanol.

And, secondly, when you're running on
maize it's not what you'd call economical.

Honestly, it gets through veg
faster than Paul McCartney's ex.

The Supersports, then,
it's all much as you'd expect,

very fast, very heavy and at speed
about six miles to the gallon.

But don't be fooled by the headlines.

This is spooky.

I've got an automatic gearbox and air conditioning,
satellite navigation and it's very quiet.

It's just like a normal Bentley, but
look at the way it changes direction.

This car is like an elephant with
the reflexes of a water boatman.

And if you're watching in
Poland and you don't know what

a water boatman is, it's
like an Evo X, it really is.

And if you're watching in Ethiopia
and you don't know what an Evo X is,

what I mean is it does things
rather well. No, not well!

Why did I say "well"? Oh, God.

Then you have the brakes
which can tear your face off.

Ready, now!

To make the Bentley a race track
screamer it's been fitted with

carbon ceramic discs, new suspension
bushes and different anti roll bars.

Though when I say different
I mean, of course, enormous.

They've also reprogrammed the four wheel drive
system so that now most of the power goes to the back.

Imagine then that if you mash the throttle
into the carpets halfway around a corner

it will spin up its rear wheels and
hang its tail out like a small dog.

Sorry, but was a dreadful
simile, dogs don't have wheels.

Unless they'd been in an accident.

But here's the extraordinary thing, OK?

It doesn't! Coming up to the
Hammerhead going the wrong way,

halfway round, foot hard down...

.. it doesn't! It just grips.

Of course, you can make it misbehave if you
go way too fast and poke it with a stick.

But even if you do that
the computer steps in,

sends power to the front wheels
and, bang, everything is sorted out!

It is uncanny.

It is a very impressive car, this.

But I don't like it.

What they've tried to do here is
turn an ocean liner into a speedboat.

And, yes, they have sort of pulled it off,

but it still feels very big
and very heavy. Oh dear!


So big and so heavy in fact that I believe
it has just shredded its rear tyres.

Oh dear! Now, I don't think
that's legal any more or safe.

The upshot then is simple.

If I wanted to spend
L163,000 on a speedboat

I'd buy something that was designed
to be a speedboat in the first place.

In short, I'd buy an Aston Martin DBS.

Thank you very much.

Really? You would have the Aston?

Oh, yeah.

No, it's more nimble,
it's got two more seats,

doesn't weigh the same as a church.

Doesn't eat its own shoes. No,this is t
he best car in the world. No, it isn't.

Yes, it is. Anyway,
we must now find out how fast

the Wilmslow Express goes round our track

and that, of course, means handing
it over to our tame racing driver.

Some say that his discharge is luminous...

.. and that even as we speak he
is appearing on the main stage

at Glastonbury performing his
most famous hit, Superstition.

All we know is he's called The Stig.

He's off! Note the flags there, Stig displaying
his support for the Norwegian football team.

I tried to explain they aren't actually in
the World Cup, but this made him very angry.

Here he is, first corner, looking nice.


Interestingly, he's the only person in the world
who likes the sound of the vuvuzela,
because he invented it!

There he is, round Chicago,
very tidy for a big car.

Now, Hammerhead.
This should be astonishing.

Oh no, it's exploded!
It's rolled end over end!

This is incredible!
But Stig's out of the wreckage!

He's dodging the naked
waitresses and... he's on fire!

He's now coming up to Gambon.

No, no! He's taking his helmet off!

It's her! Right round the tiger!

He's just a shaken hands with Elvis
and there he is, across the line!

I don't believe that, the most exciting thing
I've ever seen and some idiot at Television Centre

cut to an advertisement for a
stupid little Korean hatchback.

It's a good job ITV didn't cover
the moon landings. 10 foot.

Five foot.

# If you like a lot of
chocolate on your biscuit... #

Anyway, I have the time

and it did it in 1:24.9,
which puts it there.

And that's not bad,
really, for a small moon.

Anyway, now we must turn our attention to the
Icelandic volcano because although it went on

to become global news, the actual
eruption itself started out quite

small and that got us wondering how
close could you get to it in a car.

Now, obviously, this was a job for
a rugged, outdoorsy sort of chap.

Unfortunately, Jeremy was on holiday,

so James went.

It's very hard to drive across
Iceland at the best of times.

But luckily I had just
the vehicle for the job.

This looks exactly like the
Toyota that Jeremy and I

drove to the North Pole.

More to the point, this has
been to the North Pole with us,

but you never saw it and it
never got any of the glory

because it was the one
driven by the camera crew.

After we got back from the Pole our car went off
to a museum whereas this one was just left to rot.

Today, though, I'm going to bring it back
to life and give it one more mission.

Wow, I never actually thoughtI'd be
so pleased to seeone of these again.

This really brings it all back,

the ice going on and on forever, the
boulder field going on and on forever.

I can hear Jeremy going
on and on forever.

Oh, God...

No matter, my job is to turn this into
the world's first volcano-proof car,

which means a visit to Emil,

the 4x4 genius who built
it in the first place.

I mean, what are the unique
risks to volcano driving,

apart from obviously being consumed
by molten lava and burnt to a crisp?

It depends on how close you want to get.

Very close. As far as I can work
out no-one's ever actually driven

right up to the mouth of an active volcano in a car,
so it's another Top Gear first if we can do it.


Some people claim you can walk on
hot coals if you wet the bottom

of your feet and I was just
wondering, if there was some system

of continuously wetting the tyres would it
be possible to drive across the hot lava?

If you don't fall through,
possibly, yeah, if you drive fast.

Emile didn't look very confident,

but we set to work anyway...

.. and by the next morning
the volcano-buster was ready.

I know I look a bit like a petty thief on
my way home from some corrugated roof robbery

at the allotment, but there's a
very good reason for all of this.

Their lava occasionally goes
over an area of water and that

causes an explosion throwing bits
of lava and rock up into the air,

so that's there to stop those lumps coming
down and breaking the windscreen, or my head.

We've also fitted our new and
pioneering tyre cooling system.

There's an oil drum on the back full of
water and pipes feed the water to the tyres.

Now, obviously, there's a risk of it
freezing and we can't put antifreeze

in the water because that pollutes the
glacier, so we've added a dash of vodka.

As I drove on to the glacier,
I stopped to hook up with

a volcanologist who couldn't get to
the volcano because of the weather.

And it's fantastically windy.
I've never seen or felt a wind like it.

Because of this storm that has been raging
for the last few days, we haven't really
been able to visit

the area to see what's going on there.

So at the moment, with this
weather, in this white-out,

really nobody knows what's happening.

Exactly. Nobody can say.

As night fell, the storm became worse.

It was so bad that by morning, it
had taken the lives of two locals.

This is what we're seeing, or what
we're not seeing, I should say.

Visibility is probably less than 10m.

We reckoned that as long as we could follow
the car carrying Emil and the camera crew,
we'd be OK.

There it is. There he is.

But we weren't.

Oh, I've lost the tail lights.

Wow, that's dark.

Soon, we were completely lost.

Can you see any red lights?
I don't see anything.

Oh, cock.

Right, we are now, effectively,
driving on instruments.

Outside the window is just...
it's a complete sheet of white.

There's a blizzard going.

The windscreen itself is freezing up.

The windscreen wipers have frozen up.

It's quite unnerving.

Eventually, I had to get
out to unjam the wipers.

Ah! Oh, my God.


Look at that.

Good job.

God, I've never known anything like that.

I hadn't realised how strong
that was, being in here.

I could hardly stand up.

We ploughed onwards
until, at last, salvation.

Lights! Look, lights!
There they are. Thank God.

Eventually, the storm
cleared and we arrived at

our overnight stop, where we were
greeted by a spectacular sight.

Wow, look at that! Beautiful.

How far away is that?

About one and a half kilometres.

I can hear it, as well.

It's like cannon fire.

That's fantastic.

The next morning, still with no idea how
big this eruption would become, I dropped
off the professor...

Thanks for a ride.

.. and headed on alone, until at last I
got my first close-up look at the volcano.

God in heaven, look at that.

Lava was spewing out at a temperature
of 1,200 degrees centigrade,

and right in front of my eyes, a brand-new
part of the world was being created.

It was now my job to test our
volcano car by driving up to

the crater and scooping up a fresh
piece of landscape as a souvenir.

And to help me with that, they've
given me a garden trowel,

on an extending pole, held
on with sticky tape, and...

.. a bucket.

And of course, I have my corrugated roof

and I'm in the best off-road
vehicle I've ever driven.

So, piece of cake, really.
Here we go.

Does look quite angry.

Oh, God, look at that.

Even though I was driving on
lava that had fallen days ago,

it was still red hot, and the Top Gear
vodka tyre cooling system was working overtime.

Right, what I need is for a
piece to land quite near me,

and then I can reach out
of the window and grab it.


Bravely, I decided that was far enough.

Oh, my word.

I don't know if you can see this
but it's raining red-hot lumps.

It's quite...

God, that's hot.

It was time to break
out the lava scoop.

Whoa! Bloody hellfire.

Look at the size of that!

A piece of that would do nicely.


Yes! Yes!

It's still glowing slightly.


God, that's hot.


Oh, that's getting a bit frisky.

In the excitement of bagging a souvenir,
I'd stayed still for too long.

We're on fire. Right, I'm off.

With the tyres steaming, I beat
a retreat from the volcano,

clutching my brand-new
piece of planet Earth.

I claim you for Queen
Elizabeth and Top Gear.

And best of all, the unsung hero finally
got the recognition it deserves.


Here is...

Is that it? The piece of lava I
brought backfor you. What a souvenir!

Do you know, it was quite interesting. I
asked a volcanologist the other day what
caused that

small eruption we saw in the film there to
become so massive, to shut down all of
Europe's airspace.

And he said there must have been a trigger
of some kind, a disturbance near the actual
crater itself.

Yes, something to do with weight, he said.
It would need about two tonnes.

If it was in the right place, it could
trigger all of that. That's not strictly
true, is it?

James, have you been working recently
on any oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico?

Let's do the news. Just before we
do, I don'tknow if you've heard...

Barack Obama's been prattling on about
British Petroleum and "this is 9/11 X
1,000," this oil spill...

Did you hear how the English football fans
responded during the America game the other day?

They were actually singing,
"You're not swimming any more!"

That is classic.
Right, let's really do the news.

Yes, the news.

Ferrari has broken the lap record of the
Nurburgring for production cars with this,
the 599XX.

It did it in 6 minutes, 58 seconds.

Nurburgring? That's faster than than
Clay Regazzoni'slap record in an F1 car.

I know the track's a bit shorter now, but
that is almost unbelievably fast. For a road car.

For a production car.
That's incredible.

It does have a six-litre V12 and 772 horsepower,

and it costs L 1.2 million.

And, you can't actually have it.

Well, unless you've got
L 1.2 million, obviously.

No, you can buy it, and you own it,
but then they don't let you have it,

but they do let you drive it
occasionally, if they feel like it.

Can I just say, this was the actual
photograph that Ferrari sent to us

to show what the car looked
like at the Nurburgring.

Now, I'm not sure it's particularly brilliant.
If we look at the graffiti on the track...

That's not a map of the Nurburgring,
is it? No. I... They didn't see that?

You've seen it now. Too late. And I have
to say, the manwho's responsible for this

piece of graffiti has also been at work in Russia
on a drawbridge. I've got a picture here.

We're supposed to be being serious. Yeah,
we are. According to the newspapers...

Haven't we just shown two crudely-drawn
images of a man's private parts? Yes.

That's not serious, is it? According to the
newspapers,Top Gear has become serious.

Yes. So, here we go. Gentlemen, tell me,
since we were last here, what is the best
car you've driven?

Good question, glad you asked it.

It would be this, the Lamborghini Gallardo.

This is the Superleggera,
the new one.

570. It's magnificent. Lightest, faster.
570 brake horsepower. Really?

I haven't actually driven it as such, but
I've looked at that picture of it and I'm
desperate to drive it. 570.

570. That's very interesting, because
the standard carhas 560, doesn't it? Yep.

And then Ferrari brought out the
458, which has got, I think, 562.

Yes, two more. And then, mysteriou
sly,Lamborghini came back with 570.

We all know why it is.

It's because Lamborghini are owned by Audi,
so the Germans do the actual building of
the cars, and then they...

let the Italians do the brochure,
so they just fill in the numbers.

It's got a million horsepower, yes!

100,000. It's invisible.

And it's got cannons!

What about you, then? Come on.
I have actually driven it.

AMG SLS. It is a mental.
We've got a picture of it here.

Honestly, it is insanely fast. The only thing
I don't like about it, really, are the doors.

It's got gull-wings, so I'll
probably wait for the convertible.

How can you have gull-wing doors on
a convertible? They'd be all floppy.

Idiot. You'd have normal doors
and then it would be fantastic.

No, that was awesome.
So, James, you?

Well, to be honest, I think it's got to be
the new Boxster Spider, which I'm driving next week.

So you haven't driven that either?No...
He means... I've driven it, but...

Oh, we're showing it on theprogramme next week.
Through the magic of television, we recorded it.

Now, have a look at this.
This is a device.

It fits on the exhaust pipe of your car and
as you drive along, it cooks a burger for

It's brilliant.
What, in the exhaust fumes?

No, no, no. The exhaust
fumes don't cook the burger.

It's like, you know, like
a toasted-sandwich maker?

Your hot gas from the exhaust heats it up
and then it griddles the burger in between
the two bits.

It's a bit close to the whole
exhaust process for food.

Your testes are close to your bottom but
you still play with them all the time.

Hammond. Yes, a normal Nissan
GTRcosts, what, 60 grand? 60 grand.

OK. Well, this is the new one.
It's the Spec V. V Spec GTR.

That is L125,000, all of a sudden.

Yeah. Why is it L125,000.
It's difficult to tell.

It doesn't have more power than the
normal car, but it does have something

called a boost-control device.
Basically, it's a button.

When you press it, it spools up both the turbos
and releases a sudden burst of more power!

I just hope that button is
mounted on top of the gear lever

under like a little cage and
you lift it and go.

And then you've got to know the code word.
And maybe two keys in the dash have to be
turned simultaneously...

Like on a nuclear submarine?
Yes,that's what I'm thinking! You turn...

A mission from the president. It's a go.
I want it, just for that button.

Yes. Because this is sensible Top Gear,
I will say

it also comes with a very competitive
three-year warranty. Yeah.

Now, are there any girls here? Good.

Don't ever faint in Holland.

That would be my Top Gear
top tip for the night.

We've got some footage here,
explains what I'm on about.

Start of a race. There's the grid girl.
Oh, she's gone a bit wobbly.

And she's fainted. There you go.

So you're thinking, "Poor girl." You're thinking,
"Ooh, no - now she's lying on the track."

So, as we can see, men in high-visibility
jackets have come over to make sure she's ok.

Or are they making sure she's OK?

How do you...? Oh, put
your hand on her bottom.

That's the ticket. That's what he'sdone.
Checking for her pulse.

Now let's hear what the
driver's got to say.

Get the girl off!

That's a racing driver,
isn't it? All over.

Everybody, good news.

No, wait. It's better than you think.

The new Dacia... Duster...

IS coming to the UK. Ok!

That's great.

That's great. Good. Now, for this new series
of Top Gear, we have the new reasonably-priced car.

I know, exciting. But it gave us
a dilemma what to do with the old one.

Every year in Britain,

over two million cars go to their deaths.

And frankly, it's a pretty
cold and clinical affair.

Tyres are made into carpet underlay.

Dashboards are melted down
to make garden furniture.

The once-sleek bodywork gets
reincarnated as a washing machine.

All in all, a lot of eco-worthiness
but absolutely no emotion.

And that's quite sad
when you think about it.

Because the car doesn't just carry people.
It carries memories.

Take this one, for example.

It's an ancient Mazda 323 that will
never go up the hill at Goodwood...

or turn on a plinth at a motor show.

But it's been with the Lister
family of Maidenhead for 23 years.

It took Mum to and from hospital
when the kids were born.

It did years of school runs.

And when Daniel and Rachel turned
17, they learned to drive in it.

And then adopted it as their
passport to teenage freedom.

Sadly, the Listers' 323
is soon to be scrapped.

And it makes you realise
that when a car dies,

it should be treated like
a death in the family.

And today we find ourselves
in that very position.

Because it's time to say goodbye to a
special member of the Top Gear family.

Our old reasonably priced car.

The Chevrolet Lacetti.

As a machine, it was never destined
to set the automotive world alight.

But it's certainly got some memories.

Think of the real fear and
exhilaration experienced by real-life
celebrities in this car.

The celebrity sweat from
celebrity bums in this seat.

What a life it's been.

But now, it's at the
end of its useful life,

and because it's been such a hard
life, we're not allowed to sell it.

So with regret, the Lacetti must die.

But the thought of it being
crushed and recycled...

and these tyres - Michael Gambon's tyres
being turned into carpet underlay...

I'm sorry, no.

So instead, we've decided
to give it a Viking burial.

These magnificent chimneys
were built in 1969.

They're 550' high,

and they weigh 7,185 tonnes each.

Except today, they weigh a little bit more
because each has been stuffed with 25
kilograms of nitroglycerine.

In a few minutes, that'll go boom,
and these will come crashing down.

And in the process, they'll create a
fitting tomb for our heroic little car.

I can see already this
is the right thing to do.

If I were a reasonably priced car that had
been driven round a television show's test track

hundreds of times by celebrities
from all over the world, that is the way
I would want to go.

I've never thought about it,
but that is how I'd want to go.

With the assembled mourners looking
resplendent in high-visibility jackets,

the funeral service was about to begin.

And there we are.

A dignified Viking burial.


You know, I can just see the nose of the
car sticking out, which is pretty shoddy.

You're supposed to cover the whole body, that's
the basics, you don't walk away with an arm...

sticking out of the ground and say,
that's that done!

You cover it all up.

Oh, my God.

You idiot!

What? How was I to know?

"I nearly buried it"?
Nobody "nearly buries" anything!

Anyway, we are very sad to
say goodbye to the Lacetti...

No, we're not, actually,
we never really liked it.

It was rubbish, to be honest.
Now it's time to unveil its replacement.

And here it is. Anybody want
to guess what's under here?

A Lamborghini, no, it isn't, it's the same
height as him, so it can't be a Lamborghini.

They just haven't got this at all,
have they? Shall I just reveal?

Are we ready? Here we go!
This is the big moment!

It's a Kia!


the Kia...

the Kia cee'd,

the only car in the worldthat actually has an
apostrophe inits name. And what a machine it is.

It has a 1.6 litre engine, which means it
can go from 0-60 in a dazzling 10.4 seconds.

And it'll go on to a mind-boggling
top speed of 119 miles an hour.

Engineered in Korea, built in Slovakia.
Finished in brown.

It is on sale to you for an
incredibly reasonable L14,000.

That's amazingly reasonable.
It is incredibly reasonable.

Astonishing. But there is one more issue, because
new car means we've got a new lap time board.

We couldn't just invite a celebrity
tonight, and ask them, "So!

"Where do you think you came on the board?"

because there's no other names on it.
So we've thought of a way of getting
lots of names on it all at once...

by inviting lots of celebrities to an all-star
celebrity summer barbecue festival event.

Since it was going to be
a celebrity-packed day,

we arrived at the track good and
early to sort out the catering.

I've got 32 sausages.
That's going to be enough.

I've got a cauliflower for
if a vegetarian comes.

With the barbecue lit, we turned
our minds to the guest list.

Well, I've invited Harrison Ford,
Johnny Depp...

Oh, you invited Johnny as well?
I invited Johnny Depp.

He's been invited twice, but he won't mind.
I've invited her again.

Look, if you invite Angelina,
she won't come.

She will. - No, she won't.
- We're bigger than ever. She will.

By 9am our spread was ready and we'd
laid out a selection of toys
to keep our A-listers entertained.

I can't give Harrison Ford this.

Do you think she saw when we
went to Vietnam on those bikes?

No. She isn't coming.

And she wasn't.
Who's that?That's not Angelina.

I know who that is.
Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor.

I knew that. Nick.
Jeremy. How are you?

Nick was looking forward to driving
our new reasonably priced car.

Over there, in brown, the Kia cee'd.

Now that is my sort of car.

Dull, slow. But the PoliticalEditor's
start was far from slow.

Ooh, I like the smell of burning rubber.
God, it's addictive!

It would've been polite to
show an interest in Nick's lap.

Here we go! Don't brake!

But we got distracted by our
next guest - Al Murray...

Hi. Pickled cucumber?
.. who is my kind of guy.

My favourite medium tank of the war,
T-34-85 with the larger calibre gun that
could take on a tiger.

As Nick was on his hot lap,
we should've paid attention.

Not fifth, you...!

But sadly, we got distracted again.

Oh, I love it!

Just give me a news conference now.
I tell you what, no politician is safe!

It was time to put the first
ever result on the new board.

Here it is.

Nick Robinson, 1.499. First!

You're the first! Amazing!

The fastest man ever to go
round this track in that car.

As Al Murray roared off...

Turn, turn, turn,
turn, you doughnut.

.. tall Dragon Peter Jones arrived.

My day just immediately takes
a downturn. No offence.

With the hellos over, Peter unleashed
his killer instinct to win.

Wait a minute! You're supposed
to let the other person...

How competitive.
He's actually playing himself!

With the game over, we should've
turned our attention to Al.

Oh, yes! But at that mome
nt,a Page 3 girl arrived.

Peta, 23, from Essex.
Hello, Jeremy Clarkson from Tops Gear.

Tops Gear?! How are you?
Very well. Come along.

You're not Jewish, are you?
I'm not, no.

Good. So we've got sausages and
we've got bacon and everything.

Peta didn't fancy ham and
sausages, or my vegetarian option.

So at last we turned
our thoughts to Al...

.. just as he crossed
the finishing line.


Yes. Thank goodness it's a one.

40... Yes.


Eight... point one.

You, sir, the fastest.

A fact that Al was keen to
point out to Nick Robinson.

Whenever I see you on TV now I'm
going to think, "Quicker than him".

Whatever your Downing Street analysis
might be, you might know more about

the inner workings of the
coalition, but I'm quicker than you.

As the competitive Dragon pounded
round, we decided to spy on him.

He doesn't know we can see him.

# Come on baby, light my fire. #

Next to arrive was Johnny Vaughan.

Vaughany! All right, Clarky.

Who as a former star in the car was keen
to gen up on the cee apostrophe dee.

We're talking 124
brake horse power.

What was the last one?

The last one was 119.

OK. So we're packing five more here.

Five more horses in the stable.

The competitive Dragon had
finished his whole lap.

Please tell me that was quick.

Now we would find out the difference
between our old Chevy and the new Kia.

This is where all of South Korea is sitting
and going, "Do we make a fast car than

Seriously, can we go toe-to-toe with
the North across the bamboo curtain?

Where were you in the old car? 1.469.

You did it in one minute...

Oh, Jeremy.

45.9. Yes!

That's going to take some strangling, that.
That's a second faster.

As Peta, 23, from Essex hitthe track...
I cannot change gear.

.. Hammond's dreams finally came true.

Make-up does a lot. You might gain a few
pounds on thetelly, but it doesn't do that.

It does. It does. Get off!

Cos when Angelina comes, if you'vebent the
badge, she'll be cross. You can't have it!

Out on the track, it was
starting to get wet and slippery.

The chaps were desperately
concerned for Peta's welfare.

When does a gazebo become a tent?All right.
This is not even a tent, is it? It is.

It's a gazebo. No, it's not.
It's not even that.

Despite the rain, Peta
matched Nick Robinson's time.

Then Johnny Vaughan set off.

Ignore the weather.

To an inspiring
soundtrack from Angelina.

Don't lose your bottle,
don't lose your bottle.

Keep your foot down, keep your
foot down, keep your foot down.

The weather got worse and worse.

Someone left a cake out in the rain.

This is where you've got to have balls.
This is where it counts.

Meanwhile, I'd spotted our next guest.

Someone I'd first encountered
on The Jonathan Ross Show.

Oh, my God!

It's Angelina Jolie. No.
Hammond, I've just remembered.

It's June 10th, isn't it? Er, yes, it is.
My wife's birthday.

What, today? Yeah. You idiot.

I'm going to, no, seriously,I'm goin
g to go now, this second. What, now?!

This second and I'm going to
get her a birthday present.

Next guest is here. He's
brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

Real man's man, you know?
I'll be back, I'll be back.

So I'm looking after the...
?Yes, yes. What's he called? Louie.

Where's Jeremy going?

Oh, hello. All right? Hello. I'm Bill. Nice
to meet you. Hello, Louie. You all right?

Louie seemed very friendly.

Oh, mind. You're getting dribbled
there, darling. Just dribbling on you.

Yeah, it's dribbling on you.

Johnny was still out driving.

Come on, come on, come
on, come on, come on!

Bill went bird watching and that left
to me all alone with my new best friend.

I'll be over here. I'm just having a little
stretch just before I get in there. Try it.

Do what? Flat back over and just
stretch out your hamstrings.

I'm, I've got a war wound fromfighting
a rugby player. No, no, no.

No, honestly, you'll be surprised.

With Jeremy still not back the celebrities
were getting more and more unruly.

Bill, get off the track!
What the ... are you doing, Bill?

The race track is no place for fancy cakes.
Do you want something to eat?

All right. Custard
cream if you're asking.

And one, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight.

And side, two, three, four, catch,
take it down, walk around, walk around.

Flip ball change, flip ball change,
step turn, step turn, in and look.

Mercifully, I had to go and put Johnny's time
on the lap board, but even that was stressful.

We knock five seconds off, or we add
five seconds for a wet lap in our mind,
so it's five seconds gone.

That's how it works!

'Worse, Johnny started giving advice to Louie.'

Watch your big end as you
slide through Hammerhead.

Your back end will slide out if you
don't get the purchase up there.

Also, watch your helmet
against the steel bar.

'Clarkson finally got back. '

Hammond! 'Just as the
fire was being put out.'

Don't put the fire barbecue out!
I wanted one of those sausages.

Louie, what have you done with the fireman
who was in that jacket and helmet?

Have things not been going
smoothly since I just...

Yeah, yeah. It's gone well. Has it?

As Angelina wrestled with the Kia...

Turn! Turn... We get out of the turn with
speed, yes, because speed is our friend.

.. our next guest arrived.

Amy Williams, Britain's only gold
medallist at the Winter Olympics.

What is it that's worrying you?

I'm quite scared and I'm worried that I'm
just going to skid off course by trying to
be too quick.

Wait a minute.
You earned your notoriety...

from, let's be honest, skidding down a mountain
at extremely high speed. Sophisticated skidding!

I think that was... Was it a crow?
Or was it a raven?

In the celebrity gymnasium, I too was
enjoying a spot of bird watching.

Take your arms up to the side.

Squats. Meanwhile, Richard
Hammond is with Louie Spence.

And you go flat out through there,
and you come to a tight left here.

Right. Quite a wide bit
of the track there.

So I can just go back to the flat out
but up here, this tight bit here?

You just go flat out through there,
and then flat out round there.

So, why am I so tight
up to the edge here?

As Jeremy tried to impress Amy...

I'm extremely fit. I don't think
a lot of people realise that.

.. Angelina was finishing her lap,
confident that she'd beaten Johnny Vaughan.

He was 1:53.3.
You did it in 1:50.8.

Oh ho ho! Now that... That's good.

.. when Louie out on the track.

Where's that corner gone?
There it is.

I wanted to say hello to Amy, but unfortunately
she was still being monopolised.

I can do Congratulations,
are you ready?


Despite a few pirouettes...

.. Louie finally banged in a lap.

You did it in 1:53.69.

Louie was very unhappy.

I gave a better show than Johnny.

I mean he took no chances.

No chances at all! So I left him and
Hammond to say a tender goodbye...

Can I have my helmet back now?

.. and escorted Amy to the car.

OK, so, skeleton run, here we go.
But in a car.

I was looking forward
to watching her lap.

But Hammond kept shouting at me.

I've been running all of his.

I've been in charge of
everything you see here.

This whole operation takes
a lot of looking after.

I've been back for hours. Standing on
wobbling machine with a sports girl.

Why can't I look after the girl?
You can, but I'd like to have talked to her.

Maybe you could have talked to
Louie for a couple of minutes?

I did! I said goodbye.

Out on the track, Amy was
displaying all of the raw skill...

.. that had won her a gold medal.
In my mind, she was brilliant.

Whoa! Watch, watch, watch.

Clap. No.

Amy, you did it in...

Now, bear in mind we've got
a 1:53.7, and a 1:50.8.

These are the wet times. Yeah.

You did it in 1:50.9.

So, you're there.
I'm just disappointed about that.

I think I do have to come back
and practise a little bit more.

I'd be delighted if you came back.
Absolutely thrilled.

When it's not raining.
Maybe you could use a faster car?

Come back any time. Move in.
Practise constantly.

With Amy gone, Jeremy decided
there was no reason to stay.

So, I sat down to wait
for the real Angelina.

Just give it another hour.

She was so stunning. She is.
Louie is a nice guy.

Let me ask, let me ask.
Did she turn up? Yep! Really?!

No. No, I didn't think she would.

Anyway, I'd now like you to
have a look at this motorcycle.

Now, I know it's not a motorcycle, OK?
But the Government says it is.

They say that because it only has
three wheels, it's not a car.

And as a result, you save
L55 a year on your tax disc.

Now obviously, the best way
of exploiting this loophole

is to take a wheel off your car and
drive round on the other three,

but we don't recommend that.

So is there another way?

This is a Reliant Robin.

On the face of it, it's hard
to see how it ever caught on.

Even though it was made from plastic rather
than steel, it cost more when it was new
than a Mini.

Catch on it did, though.

The American Embassy in London
ran three as diplomatic cars.

Princess Anne had one.

Here in the North of England, it was
such a hit that by the middle of

the 1970s, Reliant was the largest
consumer of glass fibre in Europe.

Even to this day, this
remains the second best

selling plastic car in history,
after the Chevrolet Corvette.

Unlike other three-wheelers, the Reliant's
single wheel was at the front rather than
the back.

I've always been rather worried that
this might have a profound effect

on the handling.

That's why I'm so scared about the
challenge which has been set for me today.

I have to drive that car all the way
from here, on the outskirts of Sheffield,
to a pigeon loft here, in Rotherham.

That's a distance of 14 miles.

On the way, there will be many
perils such as roundabouts,

pedestrian crossings,
pedestrians and traffic lights.

That's why I'm wearing a helmet.

It's also why I insisted the car
was fitted with a four-point

safety harness, because I really
genuinely believe that what I'm about
to do is as dangerous as...

Inviting you mum round for an
evening on Chat Roulette. Why?

Here we go. Reliant Robin.

Oh, no. I've crashed it.
I've crashed it almost immediately.

I mean, literally, 20 feet.

I can't get out, obviously.

I'm completely stuck.

Luckily, people in the North of England
are friendly and keen to help out.

Excuse me!

Excuse me...

Oh heavens, look who it is!
It's Phil Oakey.

Do you think you can push
me back on my wheels?

Yeah, certainly. Thanks very much.

Thank you, so much.

Thank you very much, Phil Oakey,o
ut of the Human League! Pleasure.

I suppose as a Sheffield boy, Phil
Oakey spent a lot of his youth

putting Robin Reliants
back on their wheels.

When he wasn't rescuing
waitresses from cocktail...

Oh! Help!

Again! Help!

Where's Martin Fry out
of ABC when you need him?

That's a... useful feature.

In the early days, the
Robin had a 750cc engine.

With 32 brake horse power on tap,
0-50 took 22 seconds. 0-60...

wasn't really possible.

In 1975 though,
Reliant fitted an 850cc engine.

This improved the acceleration enormously.

But the consequences were catastrophic...

The lamppost!

The big engine increase the top
speed too... It would now do 85.

That was catastrophic as well.

Not again!

Oh no! I'm 50 years old.

I'm on the side of a street in Sheffield.

Oh, is that the sound of somebody?

Hello? Peter Stringfellow!

Were you just walking by, or...



Thank you so much, Peter Stringfellow
out of lap dancing clubs.

My pleasure.
I can't thank you enough.

To try and understand why the Robin
was so popular up north, I pulled
over to chat to some enthusiasts.

How do you drive a Reliant?
Straight lines.

You don't go round roundabouts.

You get to it and you see where you're
coming off, and you go straight across.

Try to avoid t'hill in t'middle.

Cement on the passenger seat.

Sack of cement on t'passenger
seat belt, helps the balance.

Why do you think Reliant
owners have big tool boxes?

To weigh it down.
I was going to say...

Your teeth, did you lose
these in a Reliant accident?

You did, didn't you?

Why do you think, everybody,
Reliants were so popular in t'North.

The miners used them. But why?
Because they weremore expensive than Minis.

Because a lot of miners originally
started with motorbikes, and they
didn't have a full driving licence.

So to get out of t'weather in winter
when it were absolutely siling it down,

they bought a Reliant. So it was just
because minersdidn't have a driving licence?

Some of them. But other ones, also
in t'winter, with them being light,

you'd get your normal car
stuck in t'snow or whatever.

These just simply glide over top.

Until you get to a corner!

Well, long as you live somewhere
with a straight line to t'pit.

Soon, I was back on my perilous journey.

In this, it feels like I'm driving through
South Yorkshire in the 1970s, again.

I grew up not far from here, so
did James May, for that matter.

When I were a lad round 'ere,
all t'rich people, them as could

afford four wheels on the
car, they all had Ladas.

Lah-de-dahs we called them.
You didn't want to hit one of them,

I'll tell you that for nowt,
they were built like tanks.

One of the best ways to protect
your Robin was to lavish it with

an exotic paint job, such as
this Starsky And Hutch homage.

The idea was that having spent
many hours with the spray cans

and the masking tape, you'd
drive more carefully.

But this didn't always work.

It really is a wonder how anyone
in the North survived the 1970s.

Of course, a lot didn't.

In 1971, the population
of Sheffield was 573,000.

Since then,
it's dropped to just 513,000.

Some of the lost 60,000
moved south, of course.

But many, many, many more were
wiped out by their three-wheelers.

Today, of course, most of the Robins
are gone and people up here drive
Kias and Hyundais instead.

This means the local TV news
channel has to think of things

other than Reliant crashes
to put in its bulletins.

To Braithwell in South Yorkshire and
a blooming mystery that's baffling
it's green-fingered residents.

Harry is there for us.
Harry, what's going on?

Welcome to beautiful Braithwell.

You can see the sun exploding
on a kaleidoscope of colour.

I have to say, there has been a real
area of controversy here, because
over the last few days... My God!

Are you all right, sir?
I'm getting used to it now, thanks.

Thanks, very much.

If you could just pop
me back on the wheels.

Thank you, so much.

Thank you, Harry Grayson,
out of Look North. Pleasure.

Thank you, so much.

The Reliant three-wheeler
soldiered on until 2001,

but then with the mines gone,
the customer base dried up.

And it was gone too.

I don't know why Jasper Carrot ever thought
that this could be the basis for a joke.

I don't know why we all laughed at Del
Boy's Reliant, because it wasn't funny.

It was a complete menace.

Oh, God!

Oh, dear.

Oh, dear. Look at the pitch.

I'm very glad I've put
these safety things in.

That's marvellous, thank you.
Oh yes, that's comfortable.

Thank you, very much. That's Dickie Bird MBE
out of cricket umpiring here, he's not pleased.

It's a cricket match on here!

After this latest accident, I
decided to see if there was

some way of correcting
the car's flawed design.

I therefore found a
workshop and cued the music.

Oh, God, I've driven
into the inspection pit.

Soon though, the car was
out, and we set to work.

What staggers me most of all is that
the Reliant was engineered and built

in Tamworth in Staffordshire, and
Tamworth over the years has produced
many, many brilliant men.

It was a Tamworth man who captured one
of the Enigma coding machines from
the Germans in the war.

It's a Tamworth man who
fronts The Teardrop Explodes.

I mean, how many more do you want?

So, how come no one in this town
of excellence was able to see

that the Reliant could
be fixed in a trifle?

How brilliant is this?

It's still a three-wheeler.

You still only pay motorcycle tax,
but now, thanks to these stabilisers...

it can't roll over any more.

I only had six miles of the journey left.

But with my new anti-capsize
solution in place,

I knew nothing could go wrong.

And I knew that right up to the moment...

when it did.

Oh, my God!

Oh, no!

Neck broken, and drowned.


You can save L 55 off your
annual motoring costs?

Yes, you can.

But you will be killed doing it?

Yes, you will.

And on that bombshell, it is time to end
what I think has been a very serious show.

I think we should congratulate
ourselves on that.

Very good work, well done.

We'll see you next week for
more sensible buying advice.

Thank you so much for watching and
do please remember, drive safely.