Top Gear (2002–…): Season 15, Episode 6 - Episode #15.6 - full transcript

Jeremy road tests the car that is replacing the Ferrari F430, the new Ferrari 458 Italia. To prove to the producers that old British sports cars are better than hot hatchbacks, the boys were given 5000 pounds each to buy a British sports car. The end result is Jeremy buying a Jensen-Healey, James a TVR S2 and Richard a Lotus Elan. Once they have purchased their cars, they were given a number of challenges. Jeff Goldblum is the Star In A Reasonably Priced Car

Tonight, Richard wears a towel.

James and I eat some crisps.

And The Fly
is in our reasonably-priced car.


Hello! Hello! Thank you.

Thank you so much.
Thank you very much.

Now, there's a new Ferrari
that has come out

and the obvious person to test it
is, of course, James May,
because he actually owns a Ferrari.


He does. He doesn't like to tell
people. Oh no, I have,
I just told everyone. OK, anyway.

Because he likes to keep it a
secret, someone else had to do it.



This is all a bit strange.

Because the 458 has
a paddle-operated gearbox,

someone obviously thought that life
back here would be a bit complicated

if there were traditional indicator
and wiper stalks as well,

so they've got rid of them.

The buttons which control
these things

are now on the steering wheel,

along with other
buttons for the headlights, the
suspension settings, the dim dip,

the sidelights, the traction
control, and the starter motor.

And you don't have to drive very far
to realise the problem this creates.

The thing about a steering wheel is,
it moves.

So none of the buttons are ever
where you left them.

I mean, if I want to turn left now,
I have to push
this one on the right.

that's the left-hand indicator.

And if I want to turn on
the lights...


No, that's not it.

This isn't like driving.
It's like playing Pelmanism.

And there's more.

You see, there are two screens
on either side of the rev counter,

so the one on the left tells
me all sorts of things I'm not

really very interested in
and the one on the right is a
speedo or a satnav screen.

You can't have
both at the same time, so,

you know where you are, you just
don't know how fast you're going.

This is likely to make
life a bit botty-clenching when
you go past a speed camera.

Still, at least when you do,
and they send you a snap,

you'll be able to pin it on the
wall, and that will be nice, because
my God, this car is pretty.

Of course, you probably think
all Ferraris are pretty.

But truth be told, the majority
aren't, not really. Striking, yes.
But pretty?


This one,
for example, is just vulgar.

And even James's Ferrari,
the 430, was a bit wrong.

That smiling front end -
it looked like a simpleton.

It should have been called
the 430 Speciale...Needs.

This, though...

I think this is the first
properly pretty Ferrari
since the 308 came along

back in 1975.

Interestingly, though, Ferrari
say it isn't art.
They say it's science.

For example, they say that when
a wheel is turning,

it forces air to move around in
here, creating a high pressure, so,

they fitted these vents here
which channel air along here,

pushing the car back down again.

They say, too, that these
veins here on the front are forced
down when the car is going quickly

by 20mm and that channels more
air underneath the car, creating
more downforce.

All that may be true, but I still
maintain that those chiselled
front wings, the way they go...

They're like
Kristin Scott Thomas's cheekbones.

And it isn't just looks where
it leaps ahead of the old 430.

That car produced 483 horsepower,
so, of course, you'd expect
this to produce a bit more.


Maybe 495.

But you'd be wrong.

Because this produces
a stratospheric 562 horsepower.

It would be interesting, therefore,
to see how much faster this is

then the now defunct 430,
but there's a problem.

You see, this is James's actual car.

The car in which he keeps a little
brush for cleaning the air vents.

And he said we could borrow it
providing we didn't fiddle with any
of the settings or make it dirty

in any way.

These chocolate bars just go

he also said I wasn't to...

drive it quickly. He made me promise
that I wouldn't, for instance,
do a drag race with it and I said,

"James, I give you my word, I will
not drive your car fast at all."

I didn't,
however, say anything about him.

OK, we're both
going to use launch control.

Push that button there.
That absolutely knackers
the clutch in a 430.

It will be OK in this, cos it has
a double-clutch system.

3, 2, 1, go!

Whoa! That is nought to 60
in 3.4 seconds.

James's car is gone!

It's just a humiliation!

4.5 litres of V8 rev to 9,000!

I have no idea how fast
I'm going now.

I just know
I'm somewhere near Guildford.

So, the new car doesn't just
beat the old one, it humiliates it.

Destroys it. Crushes it.

I think if I'd just bought a 430,
I'd be feeling suicidal now.

That sense that you could never
drive it again, that you'd just
look like such an idiot.


But now it's time to
answer the big one.

What's the 458 like
as a driver's car?

What's it like when you show that
glorious, finely-boned nose
a whiff of track?

You probably think
it'll be brilliant.

You probably imagine all
Ferraris are magnificent

when you put the hammer down, but
again, the truth is, they aren't.

The 348, for example, felt like
it had tyres made from wood.

The 275 had milk-bottle tops
for brakes.

The engine in an F50 felt like it
was bolted directly to your spine.

And the 400 was simply awful
in every way.

So, the 458, then.

All face and no trousers?

Let's find out.


Oh, my God!

This is incredible!

It just feels so light.


I've never used a light,
flappy-panel gearbox,
but this is just sensational.

What an astonishing car!

Because the rear of the car
is so planted,

thanks to its new suspension system,
they've been able to fit
super-fast steering.

Bang! The nose just darts in.


What a machine!

This is beyond anything.

And listen to that noise.


It sounds like a bear,
a burning bear.

I know this is £170,000, and that's
a lot even by Ferrari standards...

..but I don't care.

I don't care about the bonkers dash,
I wouldn't even care if this
thing ate one of my legs.

The 458 is one of the all-time
greats and I promise I'm not
saying that just to upset James.

It really is absolutely,

mesmerisingly brilliant.


I think that might have been a bit
ambiguous, that's the problem.

Yeah. I really, genuinely

believe this.
I think this is better than an F40.

I never thought I'd say that,
but it is unbelievably good.

Let me just get this straight,
in evolutionary terms, Ferrari
started with, like, an amoeba. Yeah.

Then they evolved
a bit to plankton.

Then some sort of creature
that crawled out of the slime,
that's where James bought in.

Yeah, he jumped in.
Then they leapt forward, really,

and what we ended up with is Stephen
Fry with Keira Knightley's face.
So one massive leap.

One massive leap... From
where James's was to the next one.

Are you finished?
No, you are. Completely.

Can never drive your car again.
Not in the hours of daylight anyway,
mate, no. No, you can't.

You ate a chocolate bar in my car.

It doesn't matter, you
can't drive it anymore.

Anyway, we must now find out how
fast, how much faster, this goes

around our track then your
useless old car that you
can't drive any more.

That, of course, means handing it
over to our team racing driver.

Some say that he's recently been
releasing pop records under
the pseudonym of Lady Gaga.

And that under his race
suit, he also wears
a red G-string and suspenders.

All we know is,
he's called The Stig!

And, he's off.
No drama, no fuss, launch
control taking care of everything.

Already looking better than a 430,
or the "idiot's Ferrari",
as it's now known.

Smoothly through the
first corner, very nice indeed.

# More than a woman... #

Was that "bald-headed woman"?
Weird lyric. Right, OK.

Out of Chicago, still looking
pretty tidy and very pretty indeed.

And ahead, will this
expose any problems?

Not a bit of it. If I had
a criticism, it's this car is
almost too technical, too precise.

# ..people so in love like you... #

Still, better than a 430.

Now, follow-through, yeah, lovely,
around 570 horsepower working hard.

Quick through the tyres
and sounding good.

Two corners left. Like Tom Cruise
in IKEA, this car is so smooth,
it makes it look effortless.

Through Gambon on all four wheels.
Across the line!

OK. Now...

Here's James's car,
look, the Ferrari 430.

One month, 22 days,
uh...and nine hours.

458, 119.1.

So look at that.

Almost exactly
the same time as an Enzo.

Kind of makes the Enzo look
a bit silly, doesn't it?

Maybe James should get an Enzo now?

Could be the right car.

Now, just briefly, has anybody this
week seen this in the newspapers?

It's the most ridiculous...I think
it was actually an accent thing,

because what she actually said was
"revolting", but it came
out like "fantastic".

No, I think actually what's
happened here is

they've had to cut the quote
to make it fit on the newspaper
and they've had to take out

"an imbecile but James May is..."

No, she didn't say that, James,
because you didn't say one word
to her when she was here. Or you!

Tom Cruise arrived last week,
these two, "Oh, Tom,
I've got a motorbike as well,

"would you like to buy
leather trousers and go off into the
countryside any drink orange juice?"

We couldn't get near to
Cameron because she was
entirely surrounded by you.

She hugged me three times.

She's an actress,
she was pretending, you Muppet.

Not in my mind, she wasn't.
She was remembering the advice.

"Now, Cameron, hug the big
monster and pretend it's not scary".

I'm now on her to-do list.

You're on her restraining order
list, it's the only list you're on.

Anyway, the news. As you probably
saw if you were watching the
Grand Prix coverage last weekend,

the Williams team
bought Rubens Barrichello a T-shirt.

Here he is wearing it.


He looks really happy there.

He is really happy.

He's so happy, he's bought the other
Grand Prix drivers who have been
down to Top Gear T-shirts.

And here's Jenson Button
wearing his.


I think that demonstrates
that somebody in Formula One
has got a sense of humour.

Makes you wonder, though.
I wonder what Fernando Alonso's
T-shirt would say?

"I made Felipe Massa
give me this T-shirt."

Did anyone see the Grand Prix
last weekend?


The controversy,
for those of you who didn't,
rule 39:1, to be specific, says,

"No team is allowed to interfere
with the race result."

What that means is you can't tell
one of your drivers to pull over
and let the other one go by.

To make sure teams don't cheat, the
stewards monitor the radio traffic
between the pit and the cars.

So Ferrari needed, last week,
for Massa to get out of the way

and let Alonso go by,
so they use a coded message.
Want to guess what it was?

Was it, "Felipe, the rain in
Paris falls in May?" No, it wasn't.

Was it, "The blue badger flies
under the crafty cow?" I don't know.

No, it wasn't that.
What they actually said was,
"Fernando is faster than you.

"Can you confirm you
understand this message?"

It's not much of a code,
is it, really?

If the German navy had had
a code like that in World War II,

we'd have beaten them in about
a week cos it would have said,
"Ze destroyers are to the left."

The interesting thing
is the punishment.

You may remember McLaren were caught
looking over somebody's shoulder
and copying their homework.

They were fined 100 million and
had all their points taken away.

Ferrari, for this infringement,
were fined 100,000, which is
what they pay Alonso every day.

Really? That's all they were fined
for completely corrupting the
outcome of a World Championship?

It's disgusting.
The only honourable course of action
is for all Ferrari owners

all of them, to go outside now
and smash their cars up.

I think burn them. Yeah, and then
kill themselves, just because

it's the only decent thing to do,
all Ferrari owners.

I'm not just saying this because of
you've been through, but I think
Ferrari were right to do that.

I couldn't agree with you more.
Team orders, they should allow them,
no question.

If I ran a team,
I'd have one fast car, I'd have me
driving around at the back,

shooting anyone who tried to lap me
with a BB gun. That's a team.

Or a paintball gun. Just fit your
second car with a massive wing that
nobody can get past at the back.

I'd do that. Now, Peter Mandelson,
you may remember, he introduced

the scrappage scheme, the idea being
that, if you bought a new car,

you could get £2,000
for your old one, irrespective of
its actual value.

So many people took him
up on his offer, they couldn't
crush the cars fast enough.

They were building up on airfields.

We've got a picture of the scale
of the problem. I kid you not.

If you zoom in on the cars here that
we are talking about, look at this.

That's a Mercedes A-class.
There's a Mercedes E-class here.

And a nice Freelander there.
I know. These are just cars.

There's another picture
here with some 4x4s.

I'm sorry, but look at that -
there are Cherokees and Shoguns.

I know, a Land Rover as well.

The thing is, why didn't they just
ring the Taliban and say,

"Look, if you stop shooting at us,
we'll give you a 1997 Shogun
we've got parked."

We ought to make it clear,
that under the scrappage scheme,

the cars that were taken off
the road have to be scrapped.
They can't be sold.

All these cars HAVE to be scrapped.

All the energy that went into making
these cars, now all the energy
that's going into crushing them,

then the energy that goes into
making new cars for people

who wouldn't have bought new cars
if it wasn't for this scheme.

All true. The BBC got some stick
this week for allegedly

Peter Mandelson's new book,

so let's redress that balance.
Don't buy it.

Nice. That's balanced it up a treat.
That's even, it's fair.



Now, there's a new Nissan Micra out.

And that is the end of the news.

Now, a while back, our producers
said to us that we ought to make
a film explaining why

classic British sports cars like
these were so awful and terrible
and horrible in every way

that people went out
and bought hot hatchbacks instead.

But we didn't agree.
We said, "British sports cars
weren't horrible."

And then there was a bit of a row.
Huge row, massive.

What we said to
the producers was, "Top Gear
is shown all over the world.

"And even if British cars
were terrible..." Which they're not.

"..Even if British
sports cars were terrible,

"we're not rushing around
the country saying,
"Everything's horrible here.""

Crocodile Dundee never went
into the outback and said, "It's too
hot and it's full of spiders."

Jack Bauer doesn't run around
America saying, "Don't come,
it's full of terrorists", does he?

The producers, though,
were most insistent.

So they gave each of us £5,000
and told us to buy a classic
British sports car with it.

And then we were told to report
with our cars to the Lotus factory

in Norfolk where, as usual,
we would be given some challenges.

'I was the first to arrive
in a car from my era -
the superb Jensen Healey.'

This is a beauty.

Built by Jensen,
designed by the father-and-son team
that brought us the Healey 3-litre,

styled by the same man who
did the Aston Martin Lagonda, and
powered by a twin-cam Lotus engine.

You really can think of this,
then, as being like one of those
old '70s supergroups -

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Will Young, but...

Oh, hey up. Here we go.
Speak of the devil.

James, that is magnificent!

A TVR-S from your period. It is.
It's the TVR S2, actually.

S2? Yeah, 170 horsepower, Cologne
Ford V6 from Granada. Absolutely.

No, this was superb. And the other
thing about these...
Can you open the boot?

Yes. Yes, I can. You know on
the Antiques Roadshow? Yes.

They always look behind the clock
face and they can tell who made it.

Yes, the maker's mark.

Yeah, well, normally on a TVR,
if you look underneath the carpets
or the roof lining or something

like that, you often find a clue
as to who built the car.

Have you got something?
Yes. There you go.

This was made by a man called...

Nobby? Nobby, I think. Yes, Nobby.

You just don't get that on a...

On a Golf, say. Or a Ferrari. No.

'As we admired
our wonderful cars,

'Richard arrived in a little gem
from his youth - a Lotus Elan.'

Oh, yes!

Oh, ho-ho!

It's come back, it's come home!

Yep, it has.
It's a poetic moment, actually.

The last Elan, here, back at Lotus.
That's terrific.

It is. I remember when this came out,
that square stance it had. Nobody
had built a square car before.

No, nobody had done that.
Yeah, there were reasons for that.

The plastic used to shrink
and they didn't know

that the suppliers had come up
with a new plastic

that didn't shrink.
So it was wider than expected.

This is ingenuity, making the best of
it. It was the same, the TVR -
plastic. There's something

about the plastic body.
The engine in this wasn't Lotus.

No, it's Isuzu.
But that's Japanese - reliable.
When they tested one of these,

they ran it round a racetrack
for 24 hours straight.

And for 22 of those hours,
it didn't break down. Seriously?

'As we chatted,
a challenge arrived.'

You read it, Hammond.

"You will now race around
the Lotus test track to see which
of your ridiculous cars is best..."

"Ridiculous"? Steady on.

It actually says "ridiculous".

It goes on. "..and then you must put
the Stig in a car that wiped your
British sports cars off the map -

"a Peugeot 205 GTI - and set a time."

What, he seriously thinks
a crummy little French hatchback
can beat these purpose-built cars?

Have we got to get the Peugeot? It
says we've got to put him in it, yes.

'First, though, we did some laps
in our classic British sports cars.'

Oh, that this is a stirring scene -
three great British sports cars
haring across the British landscape.

I love the sound of a twin-cam.

It's engine noise you're hearing.


That's not... Oh, deary me.

There we go!

Yes! I knew there'd be one
there if I looked hard enough.

This car is, of course, very light.

It weighs just 987 kilograms
because it's made from
canoe-building materials.

Sorry, scrap that.
Because it's made from composites.

Critically, the Elan is front-wheel
drive because it's just better.

At the same time
this car was coming out,

Mazda were bringing out the MX-5.
Rear-wheel drive, old-fashioned.

As a result,
the MX-5 never REALLY caught on.

I mean it sold in
MASSIVE numbers for decades,

but it didn't have the same
exclusivity that the Elan did,

which never sold in the same
vulgar, brash numbers.

Sometimes with this engine, you do
notice that the oil pressure could
drop alarmingly in a fast corner.

It's OK, the engine would never
blow up because normally
the water pump would go first.

A very useful feature, that.

When you press the throttle
in the TVR, there is a slight delay
before anything happens.

A lot of people thought this was
a fault, but actually it's a
very innovative safety feature.

I'll demonstrate.

You're driving along,
you press the throttle,
the car says, "Are you sure?

"Oh, all right, then."

Look at that TVR in my mirror.

And that Jensen, cornering so flat.

A little bit of history for you.

After the Second World War,
which we won,

Britain was littered
with disused airfields,

and many of them -
like this one, in fact -
were converted into racetracks.

And it was on these twisting,
turning racetracks

that the lightweight,
nimble British sports car

was sort of developed and honed.


'We could have gone round all day.

'But the producers said we must
pull in and post our lap times.'

The time has come, Hammond.

Would you reveal your fastest lap?

My fastest lap in my Lotus Elan
was 2:09. 2:09. Blistering.

That is. There's no other word.
It felt right here.

James. TVR S2, my fastest
lap time was 2:15.9.

2:15.9. And here, the
1970s Jensen Healey, 2:17.9.
So what we can see here is progress.

As you'd expect from the British
sports car industry. That's very
good, That's even better...

The cars have come on,
decade by decade.

And now it's time to find out
how fast the Stig can go round
in this Peugeot 205 GTI.

It doesn't look like a GTI.
No, no, I couldn't get
a GTI, so I got a diesel.

And they're basically the same.
Yeah, same thing, pretty much.
OK, Stig, start it up.



'The Stig wound up the Peugeot
and began his flying lap.

'Here we go, and... Timing!

OK, we're off. I think the reason
I couldn't get a GTI, I suspect,

is because they've all rusted away
or been crashed or fallen to pieces.

The handling was terrible on those.
They were crashed a lot.

Any faults with your car? No.
Any faults with yours? No.

Did you know, in the whole
history of TVR, there is no recorded
incident of one ever breaking down?

I've heard that.

And here he comes...

Yes! 2:09, 2:15, 2:17 for us.


2:22.0. Point, I think, proven.
I don't think we need to go on.

Well, we seem to have another
challenge. I don't know what
it can possibly say.

"You will drive from the Lotus
factory, now owned by the Malaysians

"because the British
made such a mess of everything when
they were in charge..." Come on!

That's not strictly true.

" the grave of TVR in Blackpool,
via the site of the long-gone Jensen
factory in the West Midlands.

"This is a journey of 280 miles..."

And that, in kilometres, is 5,000.

Just over. "..which is impossible
in your cars, but no problem at all
for the Stig,

"who will be shadowing
you in a practical, well-made,
much-faster Vauxhall Astra GSi."

'We lined up on the start line

'for our trip across Britain's
historic and beautiful Midlands.'

I've never looked forward
to a journey more.

We do have a magnificent flag
in Britain.

I mean, that one's
on upside-down, but...

beautiful flag.

OK, let the journey commence.

Oh, Lord!

Oh, dear! Is that the Astra?

That was a known fault,
that they would blow up sometimes.
Don't you remember that? Yeah.

I had two friends who had those
and they blew up.

Annoying, because if you're late and
you think, "I'll get in the car."
Bang! Oh, dear.

So there we are. What we can deduce
here is the GERMAN-made hatchback -

the GERMAN-made hatchback -
has exploded.

And all the BRITISH-made
sports cars are working perfectly.

Hang on. What?

It won't start. Oh!

'In a jiffy, though,
we got the fabulous TVR going again
and set off.'

It is extraordinary, when you look
at the British car industry today,

to think what it was like
in the past. I mean,

in 1913, there were 140 different
car makers in Britain. 140.

In 1946, we exported 98,000 cars

and imported 63.
Not 63,000 - 63 in total.

It just beggars belief that
it's all gone so wrong so fast.


Yeah, that's one of the clips

that holds the roof on
at the front. Fallen off.

Here's the thing, Lotus has
always been about lightness,

and by shedding parts like this roof
clip that's proven to be extraneous -
it can survive perfectly well

with just one on this side -
it's making itself lighter.

Look at England. It's beautiful.
I'll just wipe the windscreen so
you can have a better look at it.

It's marvellous.

I've just noticed
Richard Hammond's number plate,
it's an anagram of "liar".

Which today is very appropriate.

Oh, and James's, look.

That's an anagram of "gosh".

That fits as well.
A lot of anagrams going on here.

This is very clever.

The neat venting system
around the driver's window here

that allows the cooling, refreshing
breeze in to keep you alert

also allows just enough rain to
come in, just to splash gently

against your face and let you
know, "It's raining, be careful."

That's a safety feature.

'Another safety feature were the
fantastically uncomfortable seats

'fitted to a Jensen,
which meant you couldn't drive
too far without taking a break.'


Yep, yep, yep.

There you go.

We've done about 20 miles
which, if you're watching abroad,
is about 700 or 800 kilometres.

Oh, do come on!

And my back...
I mean, after a distance like that,
your back is going to suffer a bit.

1989, this car had
a mobile phone fitted.

I imagine it was enormous.

£37, £38 to fill it up.

That's about 50 US cents to fill it.

Just pop that shut.

While they attempt to
close my petrol filler cap,

I'm going to choose some music
for the next leg of the journey.

And a good thing about
having an eight-track is that

you can't gets N-Dubz in
this format, or Basement Jaxx.

It's just good stuff -
Blue Oyster Cult, Elton John, Bowie.

# They call them the diamond dogs

# Young girl... #

'We ploughed on and soon we reached
the beautiful city of Birmingham.'

There are more shopping
trolleys in the canals here
than there are in Venice.

This is right in the heart
of car-building territory.

I mean, my grandfather was in the
car-building business, everybody was.

we arrived in the beauty spot that is
Carters Green, West Bromwich.

'And it was here in this very factory
that Jeremy's Jensen was born.'

Think of all the people
you've got ramming through doors,

full of optimism,
"I've got a brilliant idea!"

Through there. Yeah.

'They also made the
Interceptor FF here, the first ever
four-wheel drive production car.

'It was the brainchild of this man,
Major Tony Rolt,

'one of the team behind the glider
that was built in Colditz.'

I wonder what he'd actually feel
if he could see this place now?

He'd probably wonder why he ever
bothered trying to escape
from Colditz, to be honest.

In the mid-1970s, 26% of the British
workforce was employed in some way

by the manufacturing sector.

Today, it's 9%.

It's not that we don't
make sports cars any more...

..we don't make anything.

'As darkness fell,
we headed on to our overnight stop.'

I've just realised something, it
probably looks as though I'm driving
along huddled in a towel

to keep warm and dry because the
window won't shut and it's raining
in, but that's not the case.

The window's open

because it's so warm, and the
little bit of drizzle - let's not
call it rain - is keeping me cool.

'Eventually I became so hot
I decided I had to pull over
to try to seal the gap.'

Hammond, why are we stopping here?

'Fearful the producers
might be listening,
Hammond had to think fast.'

Picnic! I fancied a picnic.

Just soak it in, enjoy the view.

Do you want some crisps?
Yes, please.

Cornish pasty? Lovely.

See that church? Mmm? That was built
in the Italian Renaissance.

You should see the frescoes inside.



# All night long
You've been looking at me... #

'Picnic over, we cruised to
our overnight halt with our
cars still running beautifully.'

# Oh, well now... #


OVER WALKIE-TALKIE: 'Have you just
run something over?'

Just a warning noise
to tell you you're on full lock.

'That's a safety feature.'

Edit that out.


We'll pick that up later on.

But now it's time to put a star
in our reasonably-priced car.

A couple of weeks ago we had
Andy Garcia, last week,
Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz,

so we were thinking, "Well,
there's no way we'll be able to get
a big Hollywood name this week."

But then we remembered, "Hang on,
Jonathan Ross isn't on any more."

So, ladies and gentlemen,
please welcome -

star of two of the highest-grossing
films of all time - Jeff Goldblum!


What an honour! Another hug.

Not as good as Cameron's.

Jeff Goldblum, everybody, is here!

On our poky motoring show!
Thank you. Thank you.


What an absolute honour to find
someone who's the right size.

Now, obviously we had Tom Cruise
last week... Yes, sir.

Spoke about fighter planes.
I'm thinking

we won't be doing that with you?
Fighter planes? No.
Although I was in The Right Stuff...

Of course you were! I had a little
part, I wasn't a fighter pilot...

You were the man that ran into
the room and said...

"Here comes Sputnik!"
Or something. "It's called Sputnik!"

"It's called Sputnik!"
That's right. That was your line.

But of course the films we know
you best for - well, there are
three big ones, obviously, The Fly

and Jurassic Park and Independence
Day - you play a boffin.

A what? A boffin,
how do we say boffin in American?

That must be British speak.

But not really...
don't say geek. You can't bring Jeff
Goldblum on and call him a geek.

But boffin,
that's the British term for...

Boffin often means... Techno person?
Mathematician. Academic.

Yeah. I have to ask this, you know
Independence Day, you get up there,

you insert the virus,
how did you have the right lead?

Cos I never have the right lead
for my computer,

and yet you're in
this alien spaceship, and I thought
that was pretty bloody clever.

I was supposed to be very smart.
You were really smart.

Figuring things out that you
didn't even know I was figuring out.
I was very impressed with that.

So you are over here in London
appearing in...

A lovely play by the great
Neil Simon, called
The Prisoner Of Second Avenue

at the Vaudeville Theatre
eight times a week, 7:30 at night,
2:30 on Saturdays and Thursdays...

And ticket prices...?

Comfortable seats available?

Well within their reach. And we do
it until the end of September.

One of the things
I'm absolutely fascinated by is,
you are a big name, OK?

You have appeared in, as I've said,
two of the highest-grossing films
of all time.

What is it that causes you to say,
"I'm going to appear
in a play in London?"

Why do you want to do that?
Well, the theatre in London...

London is, first of all, one of
the great cities of the world,

it's just a thrill to be here,
and the theatre here has a tradition
and a standard of excellence that is

the highest anywhere. And so this is
the height for me. So it's acting
is what we're talking about here,

because you have a great love
of acting? I do. Now, cars.
What do you drive now?

I've got an SUV Mercedes M-Class.
It's an interesting...not so
interesting, but here's the story.

In 1990... Whenever the second
Jurassic Park came out...
The Lost World. The Lost World.

..they introduced the M-class,
that SUV, Mercedes, in that film.

They were camouflaged
and we took them on the adventure.

They told me a few months later,
when the film came out,

"Hey, if you show up at one of our
international sales meetings

"and say hello to everybody, we'll
give you one." I said, "Oh, OK."

I did like that.
They gave me one and that's
the car I'm still driving.

So you just get a free car and then
thought, "Just stick with it?"

That's correct. In the meantime...
I know you have

strong feelings about this, but
I got a Prius several years ago...

No, no, no...
I want to make this quite...

Since Cameron came here last week,
and she's very much in love with me,

she's converted me to
environmentalism, and I like the
Prius now because she's got one.

Sweet, sweet.

Just because
she didn't fancy you lot!

But I want a new car maybe,
and I'm open-minded to what

is the most environmental -
because I like that idea... As do I.

You know? But I want a fun car, too.
Let's see if we can't work out

what this car should be.
What should Jeff drive?


A Bugatti Veyron,
I'm not sure that fulfils

the environmental side of it.
I see you and something Italian.

My older brother had a love affair
with the Lancia Aurelia years ago,
and had one.

He was a car fanatic,
and he was restoring it
and tinkering with it every day.

"Tinkering with it" when you have
a Lancia is another way of saying
"trying to make it start."

You go to a Lancia and... "I'd
better just tinker with it and see
if I can coax some life into it!"

Has anyone else
got any more thoughts?

An Evo?!

Do you...
How stupid do you think he looks?!

An Evo, what...? An Evo, It's a car
driven by people who look like this.

When you say to them,
"What do you drive?," they go,


"Evo." "Evo."

That's it. You could have one,
actually, you're very good at that.

Anyway, we get onto the
whole business of the day here.

You arrived and you had,
like Christopher Eccleston,

the actor, the former Dr Who
who came down, he could not drive
a manual car.

So we found an automatic. You say it
broke down? Here's what happened.

They didn't tell me that
the automatic, even at its best,
would be slower.

Did you not feel that? It's one
second slower to 60. I didn't know.
I hadn't done the other one.

But anyway, luckily it broke down
and I thought,
"Oh, no, what do I do now?"

I had to learn the thing,
and they told me,

"This is going to be a little faster
car anyway," so I said,
"Oh, that's good."

So you went to the manual.
Here's what

a little bird has told me,
you did the entire lap,
apart from the start, in third gear?

Well, this is the first I've heard
that that might not be advisable.

I said I was... The great teacher...

The wizard said...
The Stig, you mean? Yes!

Is he a wizard as well?

He can do anything,
he's a magical, magical man.

He got me through the first...
"Here's first, second."

And I said, "And third?"
He said, "Stay in third."

Now why would the Stig do that?

I'm sure he had his reasons.
He was masterful and I adore him,
but what happened?

It was not good to stay in third?

No. Really no, no, no.
Coming down the back straight,

you need to be in fourth
and even fifth because the car
will go to 100 mph,

but not in third. Well, it will,
but valves will come out.

I'm very upset,
cos I was thinking...

I was enjoying it no end,
and once I, you know,
got the hang of what to do,

when you're really pressing it
and you're going on, I went, "Jeez,

"I wish there was more car
under me, I wish it would do more."

Is it something you've done before
ever, driving around a track?
No, no, never.

Never in your life?

Never in my life, no.

So who would like to see Jeff's lap,
bearing in mind

he's never driven round a track
before, and was in third
the entire way?


Come on, let's have a look here. OK.


'You see there's first
and second and third.'

'I understand.'
'That's second, I saw it change.'

All right, baby.
Feeling better with that, er, stick.

'Stick, that's gear lever.

'Oh, late brake.

'Still in third.' 'Yes.'

'OK, well, there we are.

'Got round nicely,'

very nicely, actually.

Really? Yup.

Can you believe that?
Now, watch this!

'Don't say "watch this".
It's the precursor

'to all big crashes when a man says,
"Watch this!"' 'Really?'

'But you DIDN'T crash.'

I wish it was faster right here.
I'm putting it to the floor
but I wish I had more car.

'That's what I said.'
'Go into fourth!

'Second gear here,
or are you in third?'

'Third. I didn't know fourth.'

I did not know fourth or fifth
would give me more power.

'Up to third.
You need to go in second
and that would go a bit more.'

I wish I had more speed right now.


'The stick, pull the stick!
Listen to it!

'Valves are bouncing out
through the bonnet.

'Third gear,
listen to the little thing!

'You must have been sitting with
the revs right on the red line.

'That's a good run through
that corner. That is third.

'And here we go, all four wheels?

'Yes! Very un-Tom Cruise-like
and there we are,

'across the line, everybody!'


It's a whole new thing. Anyway.
Here are the people who have been
around so far. We have got

the 1:44.2 sitting at the top
with Mr Cruise.

And then 1:49.9 was the slowest
we've ever had round here, who is
a man called Nick Robinson.

So, where do you think
you have come?

I mean, I must come last.

I must be in last.

You, yeah, you, yeah.

Oh, this is a bitter pill.

Because on the track
they were saying, as I was doing
another lap or two,

they were saying,
"Jeez, and you just learned.

"This may be a very happy ending.

"Just fix another thing
or two..." I thought I was
breaking records or something.

You were breaking records.
Uh-oh. Uh-oh.

No, no, no, you did it
in third gear in one...


nine dead.



You're faster than
Peta, 23, from Essex.

Thank you very much.

Are you pleased, are you proud?

Yes. Yes.

I'm happy as a clam. Excellent.

Ladies and gentlemen and what a huge
pleasure to have you here, good luck
with the play, Jeff Goldblum!



Now, tonight, we are on a quest

to prove that old
British sports cars were brilliant.

Meanwhile, our producers are on
a quest to prove that the reason

they were killed off
by hot hatchbacks is because
they were better.

So, we now rejoin the action
for a safety test

at the top-secret
Prodrive test track,

just off the A 4177 between Honiley
and Baddesley Clinton.
It's on the left.

'To try and show us that hot
hatchbacks are safer than our cars,

'the producers asked The Stig
to get into a Citroen AX GT,

'which would then be dragged by
a special cable into the side
of a lorry at 50 miles an hour.'

Didn't do well at all, did it?

Well, there it is.
That's the benchmark and that is
a fail, isn't it? That's a fail, yes.

'We then decided that
because we are a team, only one of
us actually needed to do this test.'

Should I wear a crash helmet?
If anything goes wrong here, a crash
helmet will make NO difference, mate.

It'll make it easier
to find his head. It will keep
the bits in one place.

This is the safest thing
anyone has ever done.

Look at the inertia reel
seat belt you get in a Jenson.

Could you just make that go
a bit further in the back.

I don't want you to ever
say that to me again!

You see, how cheerful am
I about what I am about to do? Yeah.

# Sunrise

# This is the last day... #

I've got Tony Christie
on my eight-track.

The seat belt is on, good, strong,
dependable seat belt... Oh, I'm off!

Bye! I see a mean...

Oh, I'd better concentrate because
I'm going into the lorry. Brace!


How safe is this car?

That's a pass. That is a pass.

Thank God he wasn't
in that little Citroen.

'Having proved, as a team, that our
cars are safer than hot hatches,

'we continued onwards and soon,
we were in a very special place.'

This is where Richard Hammond
was actually born.

This is a beautiful town, Richard.

You are very lucky to have
been born here, Hammond.

Am I ever?

Fond memories.

"complete home furnishings".

That's where the Queen
buys all her furniture.

Happy communities.

Man cleaning windows, or is he
breaking in? No, he is cleaning them.

'Sadly, my trip down memory lane
was interrupted by the producers,

'who said we must go to
a petrol station where they would
test our cars' waterproof-ness.'

Shakespeare country, this.

I know. I noticed Shakespeare's
Estate Agents. Yes, very much.

I presume we're having to do
the test of the waterproofing

of the cars at a car wash because
it so rarely rains in Britain.

When would it happen?
So we need to do that, yes.

OK! What is that?

Nothing, nothing.
I've parked over an oil spill.

Can I just check that? Is it?


You've parked over a bit of
hanging-off bodywork as well.

'To try and stop the producers
endlessly filming the boring oil
spill, James started the test.'

Do your worst.

A lot of people do like to turn up
and watch cars being washed
around Solihull and Shirley.

Edit that out.

'The TVR passed with flying colours.'

Death Valley.

'And so did the Jensen.'

Nuclear submarines have
more leaks than this does.

'So, then, I lined up the Lotus.'

There is a bit coming in,
I'll be honest - yeah, some.

Let's have a look.
I'll be staggered if he's dry.

No, It's fine. I spilt my drink.

Not again? Was it just water?

Yes, water and a bit of soap.

'To then prove, again, to the
producers why hot hatchbacks
were so poor, we asked The Stig

'to take a Ford Escort XR3i
through the same car wash.'

Has The Stig ever been to
a car wash before? No, it'll be
a whole new experience for him.

What do you think?

Well, it's got a solid roof.

What is that coming
out of the sky now?

That's a bit of over-spray
from the car wash.

He's coming now, gentlemen.

Here he comes now.
Oh, it's not gone well!

Oh, my God!

Now I come to think of it,

this is the main reason
I didn't buy an XR3.

I lost a couple of friends
like this.

MUFFLED: It's one of the reasons

the insurance premiums were so high,
it's because of this leaking issue.

'Buoyed by yet another victory,
we rolled on up our equivalent of
Highway 1 towards Blackpool.'

Oh, God. Now, this is something,
if you're watching this abroad,

it's something I have
never seen before,
roadworks on a British motorway.

That is unusual.

'But then, we were made
to turn off Highway 1.'

I don't know why the producers
have made us come THROUGH Stoke
rather than round it.

But I'm mighty glad they did.

We three can count ourselves
amongst the four million tourists
visiting Stoke every year.


The car is beginning to smell
like I need a picnic again.

What do you fancy?
Oil - er, sorry, biscuits?

No, I'm fine.
One of the more popular places
in England, this, for a picnic.

The reason is, that house there,
you see the lilac one,
four along, can you see that?

Robbie Williams lives there.

Have you admired it for long enough?
Yes, it's a good idea when you stop
to check your engine is still there.

Just having a look, it's nice.

Lovely. Better for seeing that.

Have you had your picnic?
I have had a lovely picnic.
I am absolutely full again.

Would you be needing a picnic again?

Another hour or so and I'll want
a quick picnic before Blackpool.

'Blackpool was just
15 miles away but the producers,
infuriated by our good progress,

'ordered us to pull over at a garden
centre for yet another challenge.'


"One of the main reasons people
switched from British sports cars

"to European hot hatchbacks,
apart from reliability, price,
comfort, speed, handling..."

I don't think so, as we have proved.
" practicality.

"To prove this point, you will
load up a Golf GTI with items

"from the garden centre
and then you will see how much
you can get in YOUR cars."

'This is a MkI GTI,
the first of the breed, the breed
that killed the British sports car.

'So, let's see
what we can get into that boot.'

Whoa, careful.

I shall open the boot.

We'll just... You need to take...
The parcel shelf down.

There it is. OK. There we are.

No. Ah. No, you see.

If you can't get a rose arch into
a Golf GTI... What can you get in?


'After a quick shop, we hit the road
and made our point.'

Here's the thing.
If you had gone to the garden
centre with a hot hatchback,

the biggest thing you could
have brought home is a pansy.

I'm going home with
a bamboo and a conifer.

TVR, the car that came out of
the shed, now, underneath one.

This is awkward.

Her bottom is quite close to my face.

'There was, however,
a serious point to be made here.'

We were all rather dazzled by the
XR3i and the Golf GTI and so on,

but really, it was a bit of a fad.

Nobody these days is saying,
"Oh, I'd love an old XR3."

But a Jensen Healey,
a Lotus, a TVR, yes.

'As we neared journey's end,
Richard became a bit emotional.'

I think driving to a British
seaside resort, Blackpool,

in a funny little British sports car
with a naked lady statue and a giant
urn on the seat next to me,

is, above all else, fun.

And for all our serious side,
the British have always
been rather good at fun.

The whole experience is tinged at
all times with the knowledge that we
are doing something that has ended.

And finally,
we end with James's TVR coming home.

'This is the home in question.

'The factory where it was made.'

This one, I remember.

I remember this.

Because they made them everywhere,
didn't they?

They were in that one and that
one and this one and this one.

It was busy. Everything got moved...
It wasn't efficient.

No, but busy and they made stuff.

Oh, my God, look at that.

Ooh, I remember those.
They were Tamsins.

And the grey one was a 3-litre.

That was the Taimar.

Because it wasn't a little burst,
was it?

It was a few decades.
1947, TVR started.

Same as Land Rover.

That is actually a part of
the manufacturing process
there dumped on the floor.

A huge amount of work
went into making that.

Isn't that the mould
for the bonnet of your car?

There's nothing quieter than
a no-longer-functioning factory,
is there?

It's particularly noticeable quiet.

I hate it.

My car was in here once, though.

Going through here, being built.

And it was all new and somebody was
very excited about it somewhere.

My TVR is coming next week,
it's an S2.

What have you found?
Some more Nobby work?

Yeah! Oh, really?

I'll lean on that bit.


Oh, that's really sad.
Let me just see what the word was?

I thought so!

'It was horrible to walk round
this industrial wilderness.

'There were so many memories,

'so many thoughts
of what might have been.

'There are, of course,
good reasons why almost all
these great names are gone.

'But after our journey
across the width of Britain,

'we really couldn't
remember what they were.'


The weird thing is, I think,
when you drive a car like that,

you actually can't help becoming
a bit misty-eyed and wistful.

You drive them really with
rose-tinted spectacles on.

Exactly, and there was
a little piece of music
in the first part of the film

that summed it up perfectly,
they are diamond dogs.

You are exactly right.
And I have to say, this hurts, but,
Richard, I think yours was the best.

No, I think James's was the best.
No, I have to disagree
with both of you.

Your car was definitely the best.
It was superb.

Why don't we just say that they were
all the best? Let's agree on that.

And on that unusually harmonious
bombshell, it is time to end,

not just the programme,
but the whole series.

Thank you so much for watching.

Take care. See you soon.


Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd