Top Gear (2002–…): Season 20, Episode 2 - Episode #20.2 - full transcript

Jeremy Clarkson tests the 730 horsepower Ferrari F12 in the wide open spaces of Scotland, Richard Hammond searches for the world's best taxi, and James May pays tribute to BBC Television ...

Tonight, I play tennis.

Richard points at a minibus.

And James shakes hands with two men.


Thank you so much. Hello!
Hello, everybody, and welcome.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Now, a few years ago,

bosses at a Cheshire-based
engineering company called BAC

decided they'd like to make a car.

Now, because they're from
Cheshire, I assumed it would be made

from onyx and have bull's-eye glass
in the windows

and then door mirrors made
out of Wayne Rooney's ears. But no.

They decided it should have

the four-cylinder engine
from a Ford people van,

the gearbox from a Formula 3 racing

and that it should be upholstered

in the same stain-resistant and
waterproof material

that they use to line furniture
in old people's homes.

And then they turned their attention
to how it should look.

Most car designers,
for their inspiration,

go to big cats
and bats and jet fighters.

But the men from Cheshire decided
they didn't want any of that.

They decided to take
their inspiration from this.

MUSIC: "All Is Full Of Love" by Bjork

So, the styling of an Icelandic
robot from a Bjork pop video,

the gearbox from a racing car
and the engine from a van.

Bring them all together,
and this is the result.

It's called the Mono,
and it's amazing.

The engine may be
from a Ford people carrier,

but it's been fettled by Cosworth,
so now it produces 280 horsepower.

And fitting a 280 horsepower heart

in a car which weighs
just half a tonne is...

Well, the effects
are going to be profound.

I can see why they lined it

with material designed to resist
trouser accidents,

because my bladder's gone!

It's completely gone!
I've wet myself.

0 to 60 takes just 2.8 seconds.

And in theory, the top speed is 170.

But in reality, it isn't,

because the Mono has the same
problem as the Ariel Atom.

No windscreen.

At 70 miles an hour,
your face starts to move about.

And then when you get to 80,
it starts to come off.

'At 90, you're forced to accept
that really, you need a helmet.

'With a lid on,
you can start to appreciate

'just how clever this car is.'

First of all, I fit. I mean,
only just, but I do actually fit.

And even though it has

Formula One-style
pushrod suspension,

the ride is sublime. You could
almost call it comfortable.

Although, that said, at high revs,

everything starts to tingle
and vibrate.

I don't want to go into too many
details, but let me put it this way.

If I were a girl,
I'd like it very much.

Strangely, even cross-eyed women

can drive this car legally
on the road.

But realistically,
it's built for the track.

So, let's see what's what.

It's not really about
straight-line speed.

It doesn't actually feel that fast.

And when you get used to it,
it's not that scary, either.

If I'm honest,
it's not really like driving, this.

It's like conducting an orchestra

of parts that know exactly
what they're doing.

They're very well rehearsed.

There goes the French horns,
and here are the violins.


The brakes, they're good.
Gearbox is fantastic.

It really is an absolutely instant
change. Bang, bang, bang, ready.

'And there's more.'

Because all the heavy stuff,
the engine,

the gearbox and the driver,
is all in a line,

low down in the middle of the car,

it has the same centre of gravity
as a worm.

Couple that to the F1 suspension
and the specially-made tyres,

and the cornering speeds
are simply immense.

To demonstrate how immense,

we've set up a radar trap
on the follow-through,

and coming through it now, as fast
as possible, is a Peugeot 208.

83.5 miles an hour.

'Then it was the turn of a BMW M3.'

Ooh, now, look at that.
90.25 miles an hour.

'After a Nissan GT-R had a go,
we unleashed the Mono.'

See my point?

It is very fast, then, and it's fun.

But what about reliability,

traditionally not a strong point

for small-volume
British sports cars?

The first time I drove a Mono,
it set fire to itself.

The second time,
the engine went wonky,

and the third time, it broke down
before it had even left the factory.

So I thought of it, really,
as another typically British,

badly-executed good idea.

But since all those calamities,

they've had 12 months to work
on the design and the detailing,

and I have to say, it looks
not just very well thought out,

but absolutely beautifully made.

And it's not just the detailing
that's beautiful, either.

When you stand back,

that's one of the most exciting
shapes I've ever seen.

The Mono is the nicest thing to come
out of Cheshire since the cheese.

But it does cost £102,000, and that,

for a twice-a-year toy, is a lot.

In many ways, then,
this is a bit like an iPad,

because that's not cheap either,
and you certainly don't need one.

But you want one,

because it's such a lovely...thing.

It is. It's gorgeous. I know.

And beautifully made.
It's a piece of jewellery.


What? £102,000?

I know, it is expensive,

especially when you bear in mind

all the other brilliant track-day
cars you can buy for a lot less,

the KTM, Radical, Ariel Atom.

Morgan 3 Wheeler.
No, I said brilliant.

All right, the Caterham R500.

That's a brilliant track-day car,
and that's half the price of this.

Yes, and that is enormously fast.
But will this be faster?

To find out, we shall hand it over
to our tame racing driver.

Some say that he breaks
into people's houses at night

and leaves two mysterious extra keys
in a kitchen drawer...

And that as a result of buying
Pirelli condoms this week,

he now has 17 children.

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

Stig snaps to attention,
and he's off,

flicking off the line like a flea,

even though the start-finish line
was damp.

the rest of the track's dry.

Flying into the first corner,
he came in very hot there,

but sorted it out.
No problem at all.

No stereo, of course,

just the sound of that
Cosworth-tuned engine

as he zips round Chicago
absolutely rock-solid.

Now, Hammerhead.

What will this reveal about
the mid-engine balance?

No drama.
That is properly nailed down.

But look, a well-orchestrated drift
on the way out!

High revs now. The vibrations will
be stimulating his lady parts.

Follow-through and yes, he actually
changed up through there.

Stig is brave,
even on the brink of a crisis.

Controlling it beautifully
into the second-to-last corner.

Screams up to Gambon,
racing gearbox whining.

Slides it through,
and across the line. we have
the Caterham R500,

which did it in 1.17.9, yeah?

BAC Mono...


No way!

Wow! The second-fastest car
we've ever had!

That is something else.

Tremendous. Excellent.

And now,
now it is time for the news,

and it's good news,

because the Dacia Duster has been

budget 4x4 tow car of the year.

Great. Now, I've bought a bicycle. I
thought you were looking a bit trim.

Well, do you know, it's not really
the weight that I've lost,

but my core, what's it called?
Core strength.

Are we on Loose Women or something?

No, James, as you well know,

we have for many years been
on Last Of The Summer Gear.

Since I bought my bicycle,
what's driving me mad

is the amount of people
who come and say
"You need to get lycra shorts now".

Well, you do, because it's more
comfortable and it stops chafing.

No, Hammond, you don't.

People who wear lycra shorts go,

"Look, it's difficult and dangerous,
and I need special..." You don't.

In fact, the only thing I do wear
as a concession that I make

is this T-shirt, OK? This is

the back of it as I'm riding along.

"Motorists, thank you for letting me
use your roads."


Because I think that's polite.

I don't believe you have a bicycle.
What kind of bicycle is it?

I don't know, they're all the same.

Is it a mountain bike,
is it a racer?

When you went to the shop,
you walked through

the door of a bicycle shop
and the man went, "Oh, my God".

And you went "I'd like..."?

I just said, "Can I have the one
nearest to the door?"

He was trying to say, "You can
have this one for £10,000..."

I said "No, I just want a bicycle."
500 quid.

This bicycle he sold you,

is the front wheel a lot bigger
than the back wheel? No.

It's just a bike.
They're all the same.

Has it got two little ones
at the back?

No, it hasn't got stabilisers.

I don't believe you, and I think
this has become a new mystery.

It's like a yeti.

So if maybe somebody's seen him,

if you have seen Jeremy
on his bicycle, write to us, please,

at "Help, I've Burst From Laughing",
Top Gear, Wood Lane, wherever.

I don't believe you.

I'm going to ride... No, I'm not
going to ride down here next week.

That's idiotic.
I barely ride to the paper shop.

Now, who saw the British Grand Prix
last weekend?


You may have noticed there were
a lot of blowouts, OK,

and I must say,
I feel rather sorry for Pirelli.

For the last few years,

their tyres have been really good
and grippy and lasted too long,

so the organisers said to Pirelli,

"Can you design a tyre
that's a bit rubbish?"

So they did,
and now everyone's saying,

"Your tyres are a bit rubbish".

So how rubbish is too rubbish?

How much do you think Pirelli spent
developing those tyres?

It's got to be...100 quid?

It's going to be millions.

Yeah, millions of pounds
developing a tyre,

and all they get in response is
people going into tyre warehouses

and saying "I need four new tyres
for my car, just not Pirellis".

Right. And then I make silly jokes
when introducing the Stig about it.

It's gone wrong! It backfired.

This is exactly why
I don't get Formula One,

because surely it should be the
pinnacle of automotive technology.

Pirelli should make a tyre

as good as it is possible
to make a tyre.

They should have
active aerodynamics,

they should have traction control,
the most sophisticated in the world,

ABS, invisibility cloaks, all that.

They should be allowed to have
anything they want.

The problem is, the organisers
are trying to make Formula One

a level playing field to make it a
drivers' championship. And it isn't.

You could put Sebastian Vettel
in a Marussia

and he's going to come last.

Let's just make it
a championship for car-makers,

and then let the designers
have completely free rein.

You know what I'd do?

I'd make a car that was the exact
width of the track.


How clever's that?
That's interesting.

That would only work
if you qualified at the front.

No, you wouldn't have to,

because it would be a Top Fuel-type
dragster, OK?

So it'd be very poor
around the corners

and I'd qualify last,

but I would accelerate really
quickly past them all

before the first corner,
and then it would expand.

Oh, it grows.
I've just won the championship.

Jeremy, what you're proposing
is Wacky Races.

I know! Just think,
you could have, like,

a dog as your co-driver that goes...

I want a giant circular saw
on the front of my car.

But here's the clever thing.
I can only use it once a lap.

So you've got DRS zone,
then the saw zone. It's a good idea.

I'd fit my Formula One car
with time travel. Think about it.

The commentator would go "And
they're off! And James had won."

That's clever.
We've solved Formula One.

Again, the world just doesn't work
without us in it. No.

Volvo News! Hooray. They have
launched a car which parks itself.

And I don't mean you sit in it.

The idea is, you pull up
outside your office, get out,

go into your office.

It goes off, finds a space, I'm not
making this up, and parks in it.

The only problem is,
when you come out of your office,

how do you know where it's parked?

But what if it had to park
three streets away?

Or what if it's just given up
and gone home?

Hang on,
how does it know what the rules are?

You know those signs that go
with single yellow lines

and those ones where there
are two lines on the kerb?

They're complicated. And it's
Swedish anyway, so it can't read it.

What worries me about this is,

the roads will be full of driverless,
slightly panicky Volvos

scurrying about going,

"Can I park here? Can I park there?
Where can I go?"

It's going to be terrifying.
It's the lampposts. What?

All the lampposts will have missing
Volvo pictures on. Aww.

"He's only a year old
and he's called Tiddles

"and he went off to find a parking
space and I haven't seen him since!"

Anyway, let's move on.

There has been a whole rash of new
supercars launched recently.

This is the one I'm interested in,
this Ferrari. Ooh.

Indeed, ooh.
It has an 800 horsepower V12.

It has a KERS system
like a Formula One car.

It's going to cost around a
million quid,

but I think they've got a bit
of a problem with the name,

because they've called it

Sorry, what's wrong with that?
I mean, it is.

No, but that's the model name.

LaFerrari means "the Ferrari",
so that's the Ferrari the Ferrari.

Oh, yeah. The supercar
I really want is by Pagani.

They've got a new car out,
except they sort of haven't,

because it's yet another version

of the Zonda, their old car.
There it is.

And what's new about that? Not
a lot, really, apart from the price.

It's now £2.3 million. What?
Yeah. For a second-hand car?


You know, the one
I'm most interested in,

this is the McLaren P1, because this
is just shy of a million quid,

so it's almost a bargain. And it's
got a 903 horsepower engine. 903.

What fascinates me is,

there's a wing that comes out
of the back of it

which has got DRS on it.

You know what DRS is, with the...
In Formula One, it opens.

If you've got 903 horsepower,
when would you ever think,

"Right, I need more straight-line

"I'll deploy the DRS wing"?

Well, it could happen.

"That post office van is getting
a shift on. I'll deploy DRS."

No, you will need that, your DRS,

when you come across me
in the Ferrari the Ferrari,

because, I hadn't read this

it has got 800 horsepower
in the engine, but of course,

it's got a KERS system.

When you deploy it
and use the electric bit as well,

ahem, 963 horsepower.

And is that all going through
the rear wheels? Yes, it is.

Hang on, that's broadly
the same amount of power

you get from a Bugatti,

which is almost exactly
twice as heavy

as the Ferrari the Ferrari,
and it has four-wheel-drive.

That's going to be "an handful".

Exciting, though. I want a go in it.
I really want to go in the McLaren.

That would be an epic test.

You in that Ferrari, you in
the McLaren, me in that Zonda.

Anybody want to see that?


So do I. Let's see
if we can put that together.

But you know how people often come
up to us and say,

"When will Top Gear end?"

About three minutes after us three
have set off.

Yeah, in a big fireball.

Does anybody want to see THAT?


Right, let's move on, because it is
now 11 years we've been on air,

and in all that time,

there is one vehicle that we have
never reviewed, which is a surprise,

because it's the most popular,

important and used vehicle
in the world.

I'm talking, of course,
about the taxi,

the lifeblood of people movement
wherever you go in the world.

And Britain's contribution to
this effort needs no introduction.

It's a staple
of any London street scene.

There are currently
around 19,000 black cabs

moving people across the capital,

and this vast fleet covers
almost half a billion miles a year.

There's another.
They are literally everywhere.

London life has caused the black cab

to evolve into
an amazingly efficient vehicle.

Its famous tiny turning circle,
for example,

is the result of the need to tackle
the roundabout outside the Savoy.

Then there's the black cab driver.

No cabbie in the world
has to go through

an ordeal as fearsome
as The Knowledge,

which requires that all London
taxi drivers memorise 25,000 streets.

The test is so tough, in fact,

that cabbies develop an extra large

which is the area of the brain
associated with memory, navigation

and views on immigration.

Put this combination of man
and machine together,

and what you have is indisputable.

What you have is, without doubt,
obviously, unquestionably,

no arguments,
the best taxi in the world.

Or is it?

The thing is, a New York taxi driver

would probably disagree
with that statement.

He'd say "Yeah, you may have
more space in the back,

"but your London taxi is slow
and the ride is terrible,

"whereas my yellow taxi has
a big V8 and proper suspension."

But then a cabbie in Delhi would

"My Indian taxi is built
to last longer".

Basically, every cabbie
everywhere in the world

could argue for one reason or another
that their taxi is the best.

Which means, if we really want
to find out

which is the greatest taxi
in the world,

there is only one way to do it,

and that is, as ever,
in the prism of the furnace

through the looking glass
of the crucible of motorsport.

That means a race, and the venue
for our global showdown

will be Lydden Hill in Kent,

famous throughout the motorsport

for being the only race track
with its own cab office.

That plywood cab office looks
perilously close to the track.

I sincerely hope no harm befalls it.

Anyway, let's now meet our grid
of taxis from around the world.

Representing Great Britain,
we have a 1997 Fairway driver which,

with a mere 320,000 miles
on the clock, is barely run in.

From Mexico,
a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle.

50,000 of these things ply
their trade in Mexico City alone.

From America,
one of the titans of the taxi world,

a New York yellow cab.

This particular one is a Ford Crown
Victoria, rear-wheel drive,

4.6 litre V8
and in its day, good for 130.

That's one to worry about.

From India, the Hindustan Ambassador,
very much the old-timer here.

The Ambassador has been
India's favourite taxi

for an incredible 55 years.

Next, from South Africa,
we have this. A Toyota HiAce.

Whereas in most countries,

they will be rooting
for their local taxi,

you can expect the South Africans
to be booing,

because these things are hated and
feared for their wild aggression.

Moving on to this, from Germany.
It's the Mercedes E-Class.

Neat, smart
and fastidiously maintained.

And finally, from Russia,
a Stretched Lincoln Town Car.

Now, that might not look like a cab,
but it is.

In Russia, rich oligarchs hail limos
just like this to get around.

So if you think we've included
a powerful rear-wheel drive

30-foot long car just in the hope
that it will cause chaos,

get that thought out of your head.

So there we are, then -
the world's most iconic taxis,

each poised and ready to defend
the honour of its country.

Now, the cab drivers.

And naturally, because of the
magnitude of what's at stake here,

each country has sent its very best.

But they all must have got lost
or something, so instead,

we have the usual ragtag bunch
of racing drivers.

For Russia,
touring car legend Anthony Reid.

For South Africa,
touring car legend Matt Jackson.

For Germany,
touring car legend Matt Neal.

For India,
touring car legend Gordon Shedden.

For Mexico,
touring car legend Paul O'Neill.

For America, touring car legend
Tom Chilton.

And in the black cab, me.

So here we are, ready to plunge
once more into the abyss

of motorsport-based
scientific research.

I should point out that it's
the custom for Indian taxi drivers

to carry a figurine of their chosen
God on the dashboard of their car.

I think our guy may have
overdone it a bit.


The guys are getting impatient.
That's good. Five-second board.


The South African is through.

New York taxi alongside,
German...everybody is through.

Absolutely everybody has passed me.

But this is a marathon,
not a sprint.

'As ever, I'd issued strict

'for the drivers to avoid
body contact.

'Clearly, the South African
hadn't got the memo.'

The South African is completely
insane, largely out of control.

Huge slide from the limo!
That's incredible.

'But while the Russian limo may have
been struggling in the corners,

'I had issues everywhere.'

Yeah. I'm quite badly outpaced
on the hill,

on the straights and in the turns.

This is all I've got.

'However, I had a plan.'

When it comes to cunning, remember,
black cab drivers do The Knowledge.

I know where all the shortcuts are.
I'll nip down here, love.

Thanks to my super tight turning
circle, I can make this.

That's me back in the race.

I'd say more than back in,
I am leading it.

'Sadly, my fellow cabbies weren't
impressed by this tactic

'and when they caught up with me,

'they were quick to show
their displeasure.'

He's just ramming me!
That is just...oh, you're joking.

Yeah. Some good-natured jostling
from the other nations.

'With the race now at the halfway
point, no clear leader was emerging,

'which meant inevitably that the
drivers began to turn up the heat.'

There's been a crash,
but we're OK.

'Fed up of the South African's

'the limo gave him
a taste of his own medicine.'

Oh! Whoa! Getting a push now.

This is by far the fastest
I have been.

Oh, Jesus. Sorry about that.
Oh, God, it's the Mexican, isn't it?

It's going to be bad.

'With just two laps to go, everybody
was still running. But then...'

Oh, the limo takes
himself off entirely.

Oh, my word!
That is Russia taken out.

In fact, America has taken
itself out as well.

Right, still in play,
we have the Beetle...

The Mercedes is holding up well.

It's really sustained
very little damage.

'But the marauding South African
had other ideas.'

Oh! Bad luck.

'Now into the final lap,

'and desperate to beat the remaining
runners, I took another sneaky turn.'


There is the finish line.

I think I can win this.

I think I can win... Oh, no, no!

It's entirely possible
that I am a bit last.

'Nevertheless, the crucible
of motorsport

'had once more given us the answer.

'As it turns out,
the greatest taxi in the world...

'is the Hindustan Ambassador'.

Well done, mate. Excellent.

Excellent. Good science.

But may I ask, Hammond,
an important question?

How many people were killed
in the making of that film?

Actually, only three. Three. See,
that's more than I was hoping for.

But with science, there often
has to be sacrifice.

But you've decided, have you not,
after subjecting those cars

to the white heat of the crucible
of motorsport,

that the best taxi in the world

started out in life as a Morris
Oxford. Yeah, and there it is.

That would explain why the company
that makes the London black cab

has gone bust.
You say that, but they're back.

They've been rescued. They're going
to start production again very soon.

Pointlessly, as it turns out.

Yes, absolutely.

So, let's put a star in our
brand-new reasonably-priced car.

Now, you may be aware
that later on this year,

we're going to be treated
to a film called Rush.

It's about the epic battle
in 1976

for the Formula One
world championship

between James Hunt and Niki Lauda,

and my guest tonight
is the man who directed it.

Ladies and gentlemen,
please welcome Ron Howard!


Ron Howard is here.

How are you? He's here!

The man who made Rush. Have a seat.

Now, Ron, over the years,

your films have been nominated for
29 Oscars

and I think you've won two yourself.

And now you've made a historical

about a sport that most of the world
doesn't really watch.

So why did you think,
"Yeah, Hunt and Lauda"?

Great story.
Great human interest story,

and I knew just enough about Formula
One to just know how cool it was.

And I felt like the combination
of those characters,

the kind of human drama,

the world of Formula One,
particularly in the '70s,

was a chance to offer
something fresh to audiences.

It was a movie I wanted to see.

I was nervous about it
because I thought

oh, no, they'll make it too nerdy

and everyone will say
Formula One's boring,

or they'll do a Hollywood number
of "I love speed!"

and it will all be set in NASCAR

to make it easy for the Americans
to understand.

And yet,
it's neither of those things.

It is genuinely a film
that takes you back to the '70s,

when motor racing
was bloody dangerous.

You weren't the only one
who was nervous.

You certainly want the fans to feel
the sport's respected,

but you also need to make a movie
that works on a lot of levels

for a lot of people.

I had that opportunity
with Apollo 13,

and it's one of the films
I enjoyed making most.

And I've got to tell you,
Rush was right up there.

I had a blast.

We've got a clip for those of you
who want to see what it looks like.

We'll show it for you now,
because it is quite something.

There's a lie that all drivers
tell themselves.

"Death is something that happens
to other people."

What kind of person does a job
like this? Each year, two of us die.

I accept every time I get in my car

that there's a 20% chance
I could die.

Being driven round at 170 mph?
This thing's a bomb on wheels.

I'm quicker than all of you.
Then let's race.

I'm a world champion on the verge
to become world champion again.

I could beat this guy. Trust me.

The closer you are to death,
the more alive you feel.

This lot are going
to wet themselves.

In the film, you show Niki Lauda,
warts and all.

I had no idea he was like that,
this OCD, very straight guy.

How did he react
when he saw the finished product?

When he saw it, he was moved by it,

and I think it was because
he never really had a perspective

on that period around the accident.

First of all, he couldn't remember
much of it.

Secondly, what he does remember was
all about the anger that people were

writing him off, thought he had

He could hear that. And also the
myopic drive to get back in the car.

He was so single-minded that he
blanked everything else out

and when he saw this he began to
realise what other

people around him, Marlene, his wife
then, in particular,

what they were going through,
and a more human side of it.

and I think it was emotional for him
to deal with.

Then of course you've got James Hunt

as the complete counterbalance
to that.

We've got a picture of James Hunt
which we keep on our office wall.

This just sums him up.
His pop-riveted car.

He's thinking,
"When I've finished this cigarette

"and this can of beer,
you, my dear, are next."

You just don't see this today. It is
one of the tragedies.

You can't see Nico Rosberg posing.

"I would like to thank my
watch manufacturer

"and my hat manufacturer
and the people who made my oil."

That's what I really like about it.

There are two guys,
who bowed to no-one.

There was no Yoda guiding them to
their higher purpose.

These were guys who defined
themselves on their own terms,

very different terms,
and they would bear the scars

of those decisions, but they also
could certainly claim the triumphs.

I'm sure everybody in the room
here... We move off Rush.

I'm sure everybody in the room here
is looking at you thinking,

everyone over 40 that is,
thinking that is a familiar face,

because a lot of people don't
realise that you were in Happy Days.

You are Richie Cunningham.

I was him.


It's one of those things I think
people find hard to equate.

Here's this amazing film director,
but you were,

so you really did obviously switch
into directing and I was just

making a list of the better-known
ones that you've directed and...

This is extraordinary.

It's Splash, Cocoon, Apollo 13,
Da Vinci Code, Beautiful Mind,

Frost/Nixon, Angels & Demons,

Backdraft, Parenthood -
that's very funny - Ransom.

I'm just thinking, "Hang on a
minute, he did Happy Days and all

"that. I do a car show and I'm
flat-out." How do you find the time?

The simple answer is I enjoy what
I'm doing, so I don't need a hobby.

I love this.

Having been on a show like Happy
Days, you sort of are doing

the same character over and over

and when I realised I had a chance
to be a director I thought,

"I want to do as many diverse
things as I possibly can."

So I was renting 16mm cameras,

making my own little
independent movies.

Eventually doing my first movie,
which was a car movie,

Grand Theft Auto. Of course.
Car crash comedy.

I did that during one
of the hiatuses from Happy Days.

Moving onto personal life if I may,
four children? Yes.

Their middle names interest me.
Oh, yeah, I guess they might.

You've got one called, middle
name of Dallas. Yes.

Which I believe was named... After
the city. Where...?

She was conceived. Yes.

Then you've got twins, both of whom
have the middle name Carlyle.

Yes. In New York there is a
lovely hotel called The Carlyle...

OK. And...


And we sorted that one out, kind
of backtracked, and thought,

"That's a very beautiful middle
name, let's keep the tradition." OK.

The youngest son is called Cross.
Cross. Reed Cross Howard.

We sort of found out
we were pregnant again. Great.

"All right, well let's sort
through it.

"I wonder if we can figure it out.

"Volvo is not much of a middle


And... Yeah, Volvo doesn't work.

But there is a road near us called
Lower Cross Road.

Which is where the Volvo was.


We have a good marriage. Evidently.
Richard Hammond does the same.

I was talking to his kids
the other day.

They're called Bus Stop
and By The Bins.


Now, you are the first person to
properly drive our brand-new

reasonably-priced car.

What did you think of it?

First of all I will say
the right-hand drive

and the gearshift on the left
was a concern to me.

The correct way round.

It was... It definitely threw me.

And I also implore, before you get
into all this, I implore anyone who

has any interest in seeing my movie
Rush, I didn't drive in the movie.

Real drivers drove in the movie.

Right, there's
your excuses out of the way.

Now who'd like to see Ron's lap?


Let's have a look.
Oh, Lord.

Let's have a look.

Look at that mighty machine leaping
off the line.

AFFECTED ACCENT: You've got to stick
it, Ron.

You've got to really stick it.

Niki was giving me a little
coaching the other day.

That's Niki Lauda's explanation.

"You've got to stick it.
You've got to really stick it."

Holy smokes. Is that sticking it?

I don't know!
Not using all the track.


Right. I don't know.

That car is gripping quite well

This is the one that
always destroys me.

The fearsome Hammerhead.

I look like I'm being destroyed,
don't I?

This is looking good.
That's very good. Very tidy.

Listen to that engine(!)

Wow, what a machine this is(!)
Concentrate here a little bit.

See, I'm taking it seriously.

You were. That is
a man who is concentrating.

Tyres tortured as he goes through
the follow-through. Nicely done.

Nicely cut. Let's have a
look at the second-to-last corner.

This is the bit normally catch...
Oh! Bang on.

And then on into Gambon and look
at that grip. That's bloody good.

There we are across the line.


Thank you. So, Ron,
not many times on the board.

Where do you think you've come?

It wasn't quite as ugly as
I imagined it would be.

My director's eye on the outside had
it looking pretty bad.

It looked smooth. Not sure about
fast, but it looked smooth.

Where do we think?

I'd like to think I'm not
flat on the bottom.

That would be Mike Rutherford
out of Genesis.

I suspect I'm right down there.

That's where I think. Ron Howard,
you did it in 1...

Right. So that's good. OK.

..40. Oh, OK, not the very bottom.
So that's good. OK.

The next bit's not so good.


OK. You're not the bottom.

So what this means is we've finally
found something

you can't do.

Good at directing,
brilliant in Happy Days,

a charming human being,
but utterly crap at driving.

Fair enough. Ladies and gentlemen,
Ron Howard. Thank you.


Now you may have seen that a few
months ago

the famous BBC TV Centre
closed down.

When it did, the airwaves were
swamped with emotional

tributes from the giants
of television.

Ronnie Corbett, David
Attenborough, Michael Parkinson.

But nothing from Top Gear.
Until now.

This is the building in question.

For 53 years, it was the engine
room for some of the most iconic

television in the world.

But now, today,
this is all that's left.

And that is great news

because what we've realised is that
once you take away all

the people and the tea trolley
and you've locked all the doors

this abandoned building makes
an excellent venue for a race.

You have these curving corridors
that could be long, fast

sweepers on a top F1 track.

You have these beautiful offices
full of interesting obstacles

and technical turns.

And you have all this outdoor area
where you can literally

get some air.

All in all, a unique and exciting
racing circuit I think you'll agree.

And so to the racers.

Now, unfortunately this building
isn't very suitable for cars,

as indeed Jeremy proved a
while back with the Peel P50.

So today we'll be racing these two.
Of which there are three.

We have Dougie Lampkin MBE,

a trials rider with 16 World
Titles to his name.

And he's up against Tim Shieff
and Paul Joseph,

two of the finest Free
Runners on the planet.

They may not have an
engine between them

but apparently they can
run along corridors and scamper over

balconies and fire escapes
like a couple of randy squirrels.

So with the introductions over,
let's look at the route

of the race itself.

Here we have a birds' eye
view of Television Centre.

It's actually only a model.

And you will see it's shaped
a little bit like a question mark.

So what I'm proposing is
we start here, which is

roughly where we're standing now,

enter the building at the base of
the question mark

and then race all the way
through it to finish here

which is up there.

'As an excited crowd gathered,
I positioned

'myself on the finish line.'

Are you ready? In three, two,


This is interesting. Dougie Lampkin
has chosen to go through the door.

'But the youths are making their way
up the outside of the building

'which actually isn't such a bad

because once you're inside here,
you will be completely baffled.

'If they stay on the outside they
will have some idea

'of where they're going.'

Good thinking.

Right, this should allow me to get
a direct feed

from any of the
CCTV cameras around the building.

And there are the jumpy boys.

They are literally breaking news.

'As the youths made their way
through the newsroom,

'Dougie was looking for a way

There is Dougie Lampkin.

'In the Newsnight office, the youths
had found their path blocked

'and were having to
make their way down again.'

'Having found himself literally in a
lock-in in the BBC bar

'Dougie too needed to find a way
back down.'

So he is, God knows,
somewhere over in the main

leg of the question mark just
approaching the curvy bit.

I've no idea who's in the lead,
but it's very exciting.

'That, chaps, is a locked door.'

The Health and Safety department
will have something to

say about that.

Into the studio and the Daleks still

at the bottom of the stairs

'Amazingly even though the youths
were now at the management

'offices on the sixth floor

'they were having no trouble
making decisions.'

'Meanwhile Dougie, now completely
frustrated by the maze

'of BBC corridors, had
decided on a more direct approach.'


And Dougie Lampkin is going onto
the roof I believe.

I can hear a bike.

It's Dougie Lampkin,
ladies and gentlemen!

What a fantastic two-wheeled

to BBC Television Centre
W12 8QT.

Congratulations, sir.

Where are the Free Runners?

And here they come.

Tim Shieff, Paul Joseph, close,

not quite close enough,

but well done anyway.

Well done, great race. Your victor,
Dougie Lampkin. How was it?

I'm knackered.
That thing's a labyrinth.

You know there's a lift?
In that tall bit there.

You just go straight up to the top.

That was incredible. I couldn't do
a single thing that those guys did.

I was going to do the bike.
I couldn't put the helmet on.

The jumps were amazing.

I just want to say that
when I made that film

Television Centre had closed, but
since then, owing to the unique way

the BBC is run,
they've decided to open it again.


Right, so you've made a tribute film
to a building that isn't shut? Yes.

Isn't that like making an obituary
for Holly Willoughby? Yes.

But imagine how pleased you'd be

when you found out
she was still alive.

That's a point. Chaps,
may I interrupt?

Because I much enjoyed your
smashing-up-the-taxi film

and your race
between the motorcyclist

and the two pedestrians, but I'm
afraid we have to get serious now.

Because we've had a letter.
Oh, no(!) It's from...

Well, it's from a mealy-mouthed,
small-minded idiot.

And it says, "Dear Jeremy Clarkson,
because Britain is so crowded

"and there's so much traffic,
there's no point owning a Ferrari

"and therefore no point road
testing them on your programme."

Well, now I disagree,
Mr Small-minded Idiot.

Because there are plenty of places
in Britain

that aren't crowded at all.

This is Hertfordshire.

It's just 40 miles from London
and it's motoring nirvana.

Mmm! We have everything we need.

Huge scenery, swooping road,
no traffic.

The Holy Trinity for anyone whose
communion wine comes with

an octane rating.

Can't enjoy a Ferrari in Britain?
Oh, yes, you can.

But can you enjoy THIS one?

It's called the F12.

It costs £240,000 and thanks to
a 730 horsepower V12 it's

the most powerful road-going
Ferrari ever made.

It's almost as powerful, in fact, as
Fernando Alonso's Formula 1 racer.

Of course, at this point, people
with mouths of meal would say,

"What's the point of all that
when we've got speed limits?"

You don't have to use
all of it all the time.

In a town, you can sit back,
turn on the radio,

put the suspension in bumpy road
mode to make everything nice

and comfy, set the gearbox in

the air conditioning just so,

and then you can drive along quite
happily at 20 miles an hour.

Easy. 'It's not even
especially big.'

I'm not saying this is tiny,

but it's not preposterous. You don't
go through every gap like that.

So this car works in Letchworth
just like any other car.

But when the built-up area ends,
it's not like any other car at all.

Wow. Wow, this is fast.

Ferrari say it will
go from 0 to 60 in 3.1 seconds.

And that flat-out, it will be
doing 211 miles an hour.

And it's not just the massive engine
which makes it all so savage.

Unlike the old 599, this has
a double clutch gearbox,

so gear changes are immediate.

You build up the speed
until the noise gets too much

and your ears are bleeding
and then you change up

and there's no gap. How do
you do that?

They've also fitted a more
sophisticated traction

control system which lets you have
fun without allowing you to crash.

But the most impressive thing is how
this car manages the air.

These flaps down here,
when the brakes are hot, they open,

to allow cooling air to
pass on to the discs.

But the rest of the time, they're
shut for better aerodynamics.

And then you have these channels
on either side of the bonnet.

The air is funnelled along them

into here and out of here
so it provides a boundary

layer of smooth air passing down the
flanks of the car

making it more slippery.

There's real downforce as well.

At 125 miles an hour,
the weight of the air

pressing down on the car
is 19 stone.

That's like having half
of John Prescott on the roof forcing

the tyres into the Tarmac,
giving better grip.

They have done everything
in the book to exploit

the colossal firepower.

And the results are mesmerising.

In the past, big Ferraris felt big.

The Testarossa, the 612, they were
immense. They were fat-boy cars.

This isn't. This is light
and nimble and sharp.

It's... It is spectacular.

I must confess though that
while the car is fine,

I am struggling, because
it is a bit frantic in here.

I just went airborne then.

You read about those early test
pilots in Mach Two

jet fighters going to the very
limits of what was possible.

That's what it feels like in this -
like you're sort of out of control.

And it has incredibly fast steering,
so the slightest movement

of the wheel causes an immediate
dart one way or the other.

And then there's the throttle.

You put your foot down
and you think, "Whoa, yes,"

and then immediately you think,
"No, actually. Too scary."

And when life is as hectic as this,
what you really

want are for all the controls
to be conventional.

And they're not.

All the knobs and buttons
for the lights and the wipers

and the indicators are all
on the steering wheel

which moves about, so they're never
where you left them.

You can't even sneeze
when you're driving this car

because if you did... Well, they'd
have to hose you off the road.

To try and explain
what I'm on about,

I've come to this tennis court.

This is what it's like to drive
an ordinary car

on the roads of Hertfordshire.

There you go, Golf GTI...

BMW M3, Ferrari 458. This is easy

and manageable

and I could do it all day.

Now let me show you what
it's like to drive

a Ferrari F12.

Ugh! Ugh! Oh, in the face!

The Stig says, this is the only
car in the world that can hold

a candle to the Lexus LFA.

He also says it's the first Ferrari
he's ever driven that he

would actually buy -

if he had any concept of money,
which of course he doesn't.

Me, though... It is brilliant,

but I think it would be better still
if it had slower steering...

and it's hard for me to say this,
but a bit less power.

Yes, you can really enjoy it
in Britain,

but you can't really enjoy
all of it.


It is frantic.
I'd still have an LFA.

The LFA is 100 grand more

although the options on this,

they do take it up to 350 as well.

Hang on, hang on, hang on. What?

Did I just hear you,
Jeremy Clarkson,

say that you'd like "a bit less
power"? Yes, you did.

Isn't that a bit like Gordon Ramsay
saying, "Yes, I like this dish,

"but I wish it had a bit less

Or James May saying,
"Yes, I like this, but can it be

"a bit less brown?"

No, it is like that, but it is a
bombshell, which means we can end.

Thank you very much for watching.
See you all next week. Take care.

Good night.

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd