Top Gear (2002–…): Season 21, Episode 2 - Episode #21.2 - full transcript

Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson race an Alfa Romeo against a quad bike in northern Italy, James May visits Camp Bastion the British main military base in Afghanistan, Jeremy test the ...

Two swans move their heads about...

I eat a shoe...

and James says he's not fat.



I'm not fat.

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

Welcome, everybody.

Hello, good evening.

Thank you so much.
Thank you. Thank you.

Now...

Thank you. Now, our deep
and profound love on this show

for Alfa Romeo is a
triumph of hope over reality.

We always pray that their new
models will be brilliant

but sort of know they won't be
and then they never are.

But what about this?

The new and very pretty 4C.



Well, Richard Hammond has been to
Northern Italy, in the sunshine,

to find out all about it.

Jammy little bu...

BELL RINGS

CAR ENGINE REVS

Right, let's get this straight -

I'm in a mid-engined,
two-seater Alfa Romeo.

The first proper Alfa sports
car for 20 years.

And I'm driving it in Northern Italy,
on a lovely day.

In theory,
things don't get much better.

But, predictably,
there are one or two problems.

First of all,
it's going to cost around £45,000.

And that's a fair bit, especially
as you don't get a V8, or even V6.

What you do get is a turbo-charged,
reworked version of the 1.7 litre,

four-cylinder engine from a
Giulietta hatchback.

And under here...

Well, I don't know what's under here
cos the bonnet is bolted shut.

It's bolted shut for the same reason
this car has no power steering,

and no proper climate control -

to save weight.

That's why it has the same sort of

carbon-fibre chassis as a
Formula 1 car.

It's why there's almost no
metal in the body at all.

The upshot is,
the 4C weighs just 925kg.

That's about half what
a Mercedes SLK weighs.

And on a road like this,
that really pays dividends.

Oh, come on!

Lovely.

Because it's light,
it's unbelievably agile.

It changes direction like a kitten
chasing a spider.

And because there's no power
steering, I can feel

far more at the steering wheel and
know what the wheels are doing.

It grips...

..fabulously.

It doesn't need a massive engine -

it's got 237 brake horsepower.
Do you know what? That is enough.

More than enough.

0 to 60 takes four-and-a-half
seconds.

The top speed is 160.

And yet, because of the lightness,
it'll do 40 miles to the gallon.

Drop a window, sample the noise.

LOUD REVS

Oh! Lovely little
crackle on the up-shift.

Oh, it's great.

This little Alfa is growing on me
with a speed

and ferocity that I've
never before encountered.

It's just getting under my skin.

Because it's not like anything
else...

Oh, my God!

What?

What are you doing here?

As you well know, Hammond,
we receive thousands of letters

every single week from viewers
and they all say the same thing.

"Dear Top so-called Gear,
the Alfa 4C,

"is it better than quad bike?"

Well, I can clear than one up
straight away - yes, it is because

quad bikes are slow, ugly, noisy,
stupid and incredibly dangerous.

And I don't mean dangerous like you
might fall off,

I mean like they want to kill you.

Everybody I know, pretty much,
who's ever tried one, has been

killed by it at some point.

Yup. That's as maybe,
but we need to settle this,

so we're going to have a race.
We're going to race? Yeah.

You on that, presumably? Yeah.

Me in that? Yeah.

Jeremy's proposal was a race
from the top of Lake Como

to a hotel terrace at the bottom.

I would take
the 43-mile lakeside route,

whilst he would attempt to
go as the crow flies.

Good, you're going
to be killed and last.

And so, at exactly 10.37am,
the race began.

Here we go.

Let me talk you through my quad.

It's called a Gibbs Quadski,

designed and engineered in Britain,
built just outside Detroit

and the engine is German -
a 1.3 from a BMW motorcycle.

And you have 40 horsepower.

Doesn't sound like much
but like the Alfa, it's light.

Apparently it has the same
power-to-weight ratio

as a helicopter.

He's mad. I mean,
he doesn't stand a chance.

I know what he's thinking -

he's imagining he'll be crashing
off-road and cutting corners.

He won't - he'll be bumbling through
the woods on little tracks,

he'll get stuck, fall off,
break a leg - maybe two.

Hammond was wrong.
My legs were fine,

but I had got into a bit of a pickle
trying to find a shortcut.

Totally lost.

Literally no idea which...

No idea.

I'm just in weeds...

Oh, now which way?

With Jeremy stuck in the undergrowth,

I had time to admire one of the most
beautiful places on Earth.

Ah! Mountains, pretty village -
all present and correct.

Coming through.

See, this scooter rider will not mind
me whizzing past in my Alfa Romeo,

because I know he loves Alfa Romeo
just as much, if not more, than I do.

We have to love Alfa, it's the law.

Meanwhile...

Oh. God. No, wait.

Many nettles.

This may have a top speed of 40

but I'm not doing that now, really.

Happily, however,

Hammond was about to discover one
of the Alfa's drawbacks - its girth.

Oh, no! Oh, my God, this is narrow!

Oh! That's...

This car is wide.

That's a problem.

So what were they thinking
when they've got streets like this?

I mean... Oh!

Still, could be worse.

Oh, no! Now look what I've done.

I've accidentally
crashed into Lake Como.

But it's OK, because
if I push this little button here...

..the wheels have folded up
and now I'm on a jet ski.

Oh, and it gets better because,
on land, it has 40 horsepower,

but here on water it has 140.

I know exactly what music
we have to play right now.

♪ We are sailing... ♪

No, not that!

Cue the Bond!

MUSIC: "James Bond Theme"
by John Barry

Here we go - 45 miles an hour!

Hammond, wherever you are,
you can't beat this.

Narrow. Really narrow.
Really wide car.

I'd like to be driving something
narrower now, like a bus.

Right, clear of town, press on.

So let's just get this straight -

I'm wearing a wet white shirt
and I'm in a lake - I'm Mr Darcy!

Come on!

There is Richard Hammond.

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

I'll slow down a bit.

'Hello? Hello?'

Er, hello. Where are you?

'To your left, mate, to your left.'

You can't be to my left.
How can you be to my left?

What?

'Have you ever seen anything
like this?'

What are you on?
Is that the same quad?

It certainly is.

And I'm afraid
I must now say goodbye.

'Cheerio. See you soon.'

Cheating sod!

He can just go
straight across the lake now.

I've got to go all the way
down the bottom here

and back up the other side.

I'm going to lose this and he's going
to do his stupid smug face.

Spurred on by the horror
of his face...

..I put the hammer down.

Come on, little Alfa.

We were neck and neck,

but then Jeremy got
distracted by an Italian ferry.

Look at that!

What a machine.

I'm sorry I'm hearing the Bond
music again now.

You want a race?

I'll give you a race.

Oh, come on, I can't lose this!

By this stage, I'd disentangled
myself from the hydrofoil,

but had run into another problem -
Lake Como's weird winds.

Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!

I think we've got some chop.

Wow!

I've lost ten miles....

Aw!

Ow, my back bottom!

Wow! Wow!

They slow you down a bit.

Oh, my...

That was a big one.

I'm now down to 15 miles an hour,
and I can't realistically go

any faster, cos
I can't see where I'm bloody going.

The vicious chop had put Hammond
back in the lead.

We have to beat him.

Thankfully, on the lake,
I'd found calmer water.

45 miles an hour.

We are back in this race.

There he is.
There is Richard Hammond.

Oh, no! Oh, no! Oh, no! Oh, no!

Goodbye, Hammond.

He is history.

It certainly seemed that way,

because pretty soon
the hotel was in sight.

There it is, there's
the finishing line.

So, I was definitely going
to win this.

But then I realised
the victory would be a bit hollow.

Obviously, I want to beat Hammond,
of course I do.

But I don't want to beat that
Alfa Romeo, because, to me,

Alfas are special.

They're really special.

This is a bit like having a running
race with your four-year-old son -

yes, of course you can win, but you
don't really want to.

It's not far now.

Little Alfa, I think
we have to accept the inevitable.

He's not there, is he?

In a few minutes,
Hammond would arrive

and see my Quadski moored
alongside the hotel's jetty.

Damn and blast, I'm going
to win this.

Nothing I can do.

But then...

I spotted a hidey-hole.

Yes!

Sometimes I stagger even
myself with my genius.

Oh, no. Oh, no. I'm so sorry.

Right, where is he?

This is the terrace.

Up here maybe.

Do you know what?

He no here. I don't know how.
What I've done is win...

..in that little Alfa.
Hammond! Mate. Well done.

You beat me fair and square. I did.

In the Alfa. Do you know? I would
have bet £1 million...

when I overtook you,
I was going to win.

APPLAUSE

Your question is answered.

The Alfa 4C is better
than the quad bike.

Yes, but we saw you lose on purpose.
A bit, just a bit.

Did you not like the jet ski,
Quadski thing?

Yes, it's brilliant.

Do you know, the best
thing about it is its reliability.

It performed faultlessly all day

and then it performed
faultlessly all the next day

when we had to rerun the race
because an American

knocked the camera with all the film
it into the lake. Really?

LAUGHTER

I was on this thing for two days,
two days.

By the time we finished, my sausage
looked like a beaver's tail.

LAUGHTER

Right, um, is it expensive?
What, my sausage? No, the thing.

Oh, the thing, yes,
it's £26,000, but, no, hang on,

you do get a lot of health and
safety warning notices for that.

This is my favourite down here.

It's warning about what you have
to wear and it says, hang on,

"Normal swimwear does not adequately
protect against forceful

"water entry into rectum or vagina."

LAUGHTER

He's not making that up.
It says vagina on it.

Excuse me, does anyone mind
if we talk about the car for a bit?

It's a car show and everything.

Good, cos I've got some questions
about this. How wide is it?

It's wider than a Range Rover. Is it?
Seriously? Very wide.

And let me get this straight,

Alfa Romeo is selling a car
where you can't open the bonnet?

Yeah, I know.

Ballsy. Yeah. Ballsy. It is, yes,

but that's not the interesting thing
about it.

What is the interesting thing?

Well, it costs £47,000,
but when you get in it,

everything feels just feels a bit
cheap and plasticky.

Look at this handbrake, it's just...

It's like something that came
out of a cracker.

You know, if I got the handbrake in
a Christmas cracker,

I'd be a bit disappointed. You know
what I mean. Yes, I do.

It's just that there are a lot
of EU rules coming very soon

on fuel efficiency and emissions
and so on,

and the only way that cars
can meet them

is if they get very, very light.

Yeah. And pretty soon, all cars
will have to be made like this,

but do you know what? I don't think
that's necessarily a bad thing.

Yes, you get a shonky handbrake,
but your car is more nimble.

It's faster and it's more economical.

And for the ultimate expression
of that art, later in the show,

we have a review of this - the new
McLaren P1, which is astonishing.

Well, I am very much looking forward
to that, but first it's the news.

Yes. Now Kia is working on something
called "gesture control".

It's very interesting,
because of instead of having

buttons all over
the dashboard of your car, you just

sort of wave your hand around a bit,
and the car will do stuff.

Very futuristic.

Yeah, but I only make three
gestures when I'm driving a car.

LAUGHTER

What? One of them is...

which means I'm really sorry,
I didn't mean to do that.

Then there's...hi, to a friend.
And... Call Jeremy Clarkson.

LAUGHTER

Or navigate to James May's house.

Oh, now, now...you know
those motorway gantries

that are supposed to be used
to tell you

about stationary traffic ahead
or ice, but they're actually used

for telling you stuff
that doesn't matter.

We've got a picture of one here -
"Check your fuel level."

It might as well say, "Wash your
hands after going to the lavatory."

"Brush your hair."

Well, anyway, the committee that
decides on what messages
flashed up -

and it is a committee, we checked -
has been told to stop doing

that sort of thing, OK, because the
government says it's distracting.

But it isn't distracting,
it's irritating.

Scarlett Johansson in a short skirt
on a windy day on a motorway bridge,

that is distracting.
That would be. It's distracting now.

It's distracting me right now.

I think what would be distracting
would be painting

the surface of the motorway so it
looked like the opening sequences

of Doctor Who
as you drove along.

That would be really distracting.

I think they should use those signs
to put up a pub quiz questions

as you drive past.
That's a really good idea.

What, and then you'd have
the answer on the next one along?

Yes, journeys would just fly by.
"ooh, I don't know."

And then you get the answer.
That's brilliant. Yes, thank you.

Not if my little sister
set the questions.

Why? Because you'd get
the question on one,

and then the next one would go,
"Oh, come on, you must know that!"

Please can we move on?
I'd like to talk about this.

It's the new Corvette Z06. Oh, yes.

Supercharged V8 6.2 litres
625 brake horsepower.

It's got a magnetic ride control,
electronic diff, carbon fibre.

All the hi-tech stuff
you get on a European sports car...

But does it have the European
self-restraint, though, does it?

It's a bit more shock 'em all
than stiff upper lip.

Yes, but look at it.

No, Hammond, you can't drive
a Corvette in England.

It's like talking in a lift -
you can do that in America,

you can't do that in Britain.

In fact, we should have signs at
Heathrow telling American visitors,

"Please drive on the left
and don't talk in lifts."

Yes, yes, whatever,
but I think that looks stupendous.

Yes, yes, it would
look stupendous in Texas,

but it would look ridiculous
in Tewkesbury. It would.

Hammond, if you bought one of those
and drove it around England,

the next thing you would be
hanging up a Confederate flag

outside your house.

I did paint a Confederate flag
on the roof of my Toyota Corolla

when I was 17.

Where were you?
Ripon. North Yorkshire.

What? It looked brilliant.
Let me just get this straight.

You drove around North Yorkshire
in a crappy little Japanese
hatchback

with a Confederate flag
on the roof?

Yes. Yes. A symbol of slavery.

Ladies and gentlemen,
12 Years A Hammond!

I didn't realise -
I just thought it looked nice.

The base model of this -
not the Z06,

the normal one - 60 grand? 62, yes.

Well, for about the same sort
of money, you can have this,

which is the new Jag.

This is the F-type Coupe.

That's around the same sort of
money, and I put it to you that

what we have here is a lovely piece

of double Gloucester
on a water biscuit.

Your Corvette is 600 kilos of...

(AMERICAN ACCENT)
..Monterrey Jack on a taco.

Yeah, that's right.
I'd rather have that.

You'd rather have the Monterey Jack,
wouldn't you?

Yes. Hang on a minute.
Surely it's 600 kilograms of...

(AMERICAN ACCENT) Monterey Jack
on a taco with a strawberry on top.

Strawberry.

At as long as
there's a strawberry on top.

Are there any Americans here? Whoo!

You are. Oh, we've wondered
about this for years.

Why do you put these on everything?

Because they taste good.
Yes, but not on a shepherd's pie.

LAUGHTER

This is not an exaggeration.
I stayed in a hotel in LA.

I had to have some dry cleaning
done, and when it came back

in the morning, it was all wrapped
up, and there was a strawberry
on it.

What, on your dry-cleaning?
On my dry-cleaning.

Now, this isn't news -
it's a question.

Why is the world still
incapable of working out

a way of dispensing petrol?
Anyone been to America?

Well, you've all been to America,
I suppose, at some point.

You go into a petrol station there

and you have to pay for the fuel
before you fill your tank.

Well, you don't
know how much you want

or how much it's going to take.

Yes, but I hate those European
stations

where they have those automatic
credit card ones. Don't work.

Never ever work. The other one
that doesn't work,

and especially in France,
are those ones

where you're supposed to put
euro notes in a little slot.

No. You put it in and it goes,
"Nnnngh! Nnnngh!" Oh.

There's a lot of people doing
that, and it goes, "Nnnngh!"

I'll give you the worst scenario,
James.

Worst scenario is, "Nnnngh!"

"Yes, there we go," get the pump
out, "Nnnngh!"

But the worst country in the world
for filling up with petrol is
Britain,

because petrol stations here
now are also supermarkets,

which means that people pull up
at the pump

and then go and do their shopping.

Well, that is
exactly why I was late this morning,

cos I pulled up behind
the car that was at the pump

ready for my turn and I knew
who it was through the window -

it was a woman and she was doing
the whole weekly groceries shop -

and she came out with the
four massive carrier bags,

and I thought, "That's finally it,"

and then she went to
the cash machine... Oh...

..sorted out Greece's
national debt with her card.

I am a patient man, but even I...
I was thinking,

"I want to put your head in a brown
paper bag and bludgeon you to death

"with the blunt end of an axe."

That's quite bad. Do you know?
My question is petrol stations is -

and we could ask this here -
and it's mostly women,

what do you do in the 15 minutes
between getting into the car

and driving off?

I know what it is, I know
what it is. What? I watched it.

She turned round and she put her
handbag on the back seat,

fair enough, but then interfered
with it for some time.

Doing what, though?

I suspect women try to make sure
their handbag doesn't fall over,

which I don't understand,
because women's handbags
are not well organised,

so it doesn't matter
if it falls over.

I reckon I could put a house brick
in a woman's handbag,

and she would not know it was there
ever. Have you got handbag with you?

No. You haven't?
Anyone got handbag? It's in the car.

That's a shame,
because I was going to do this game.

I was going to put my car keys,

and it's a Jag this week,
in your handbag and then,

if you could find them by the end
of the show, you could have the car.

You wouldn't be able to.

Two angry old men
rampaging on about petrol stations.

Him and his cardigan, him...
just him.

Now, as I'm sure you know,
after 13 years,

the British military forces
are pulling out of Afghanistan.

What you may not know is that that
operation has been the biggest
deployment

of British military vehicles
since World War II.

Now, bringing that lot home
is quite a big job,

so I packed my tin helmet and
went out there to...get in the way.

'If you want to get a sense of just
how big the British involvement

'in Afghanistan has become,

'you just have to look at the size
of its main base - Camp Bastion.'

In 2006,
when British forces arrived here,

it was just a scrap of desert
with a few tents in, but now look.

It's the size of Reading.

'And inside its 25 miles
of blast-proof perimeter wall

'alongside the few comforts of home,

'you'll find a vast armada
of vehicles.

'At its peak, the number was 5,000.'

We've got a few of them here.

The names will be dimly familiar
from news reports.

That is a Ridgeback,
that is a Mastiff,

then you have a Foxhound,
the pale-coloured one is a Husky,

and that weird-looking thing with
the tracks on over there,
that is a Warthog.

Don't expect cute and cuddly
names like Panda or Fiesta -

everything here is named
after a dog, except the Warthog,

which is named after a warthog.

'To keep the wheels turning,
the Army has built this enormous
workshop,

'which, at full strength,
carries £60 million worth

'of spares and employs
150 mechanics.

'Bastion even has its own
purpose-built

'driver training ground, approved
by a squad of driving instructors.'

The sheer size of this operation
is truly impressive,

but equally fascinating is what
the Afghanistan campaign has done

to Britain's military vehicles.

'It has brought about the biggest
change in a generation.

'When the British first arrived
here, their staple patrol vehicle,

'the Snatch Land Rover, offered
woeful protection against IEDs.

'In 2009 alone, 79 soldiers
fell victim to such devices.'

'The 29-tonne American-made Mastiff
offered a quick fix,

'but in Leamington Spa,

'a small British firm devised
a more 21st-century solution.'

This is a Foxhound
and it's very clever,

because it's actually
made out of armour.

It's not a normal vehicle to which
armour plate has been added.

It's sort of armour monoblock,
if you like.

'The Foxhound also has a V-shaped
hull to deflect mine blasts

'and thanks to its state-of-the-art
armour, it weighs

'just seven and a half tonnes,

'which makes it a featherweight
around these parts.'

To drive, is pretty much like
an off-road car.

It's a positive mountain goat,
this thing.

'Now, history will record that
government bureaucrats

'dragged their heels
over the military vehicle crisis

'in Afghanistan,

'but the boffins who developed
the Foxhound certainly didn't.'

This machine was designed,
engineered, tested, proved

and got on the ground in large
numbers in just over three years.

Try doing that with a small
hatchback or something.

'Alongside the Foxhound...

'..the military drew on a policy

'called Urgent Operational
Requirement or UOR,

'which saw them combine
operational demands

'and the best vehicle-related
suggestions from soldiers
on the ground.'

Here's a very simple example
of UOR - this is a Mastiff.

It's got cameras mounted
on the sides.

Commander Buzz here can
look at the pictures on his screen.

On the early ones,
they were originally mounted.

When you went through things
like villages, they got smashed.

So somebody said,
"Why not put them on a hinge?"

So they did.

'Soldiers also needed their vehicles
to be more stealthy in the dark.

'So a night-vision system
was developed

'that would allow them
to switch off their headlights.'

I'm now driving the Mastiff
completely blacked out

but using the night-vision system
suspended in front of my face.

And this is quite amazing.

This is actually my eyes. I can't
see a single thing through the
windscreen.

'These lamps on the outside
are infrared

'and illuminate
the surrounding area.

'Our camera can see
the light they emit,

'but it's invisible
to the naked eye.'

We ought to point out that normally,
we wouldn't even have these
red interior lights on.

Those are there
so our cameras are working properly.

But actually,
you could drive this....

we could be completely
black in here, couldn't we?
Yeah, complete blackout, yeah.

Right, so I've missed those...

what are those, are they rocks
or are they...?

Yeah, they're just in front of you.

Straightening up, sir.

See that compound ahead of us?
Yeah.

You want to be going
round to the left of that.

I can see that as clear as day.

It's a good piece of kit, isn't it?
It's brilliant, isn't it?

'Now, on a machine is heavily
armoured is a Mastiff,

'the protection against
roadside bombs is good.

'But Afghanistan threw up another
issue that needed sorting.'

What if the vehicle is blown
over? How do you train for that?

SHOUTING

Well, what you do is
you build one of these.

It's a RODET - Roll Over Drills
Egress Trainer.

Oh!

And I think we're upside down.

'All these improvements have had
a dramatic effect on military
motoring out here.'

Since the new generation
of PMVs was introduced -

that's protective military
vehicles...the Mastiff,

the Foxhound, the Husky,

the Warthog, all those things -

there have been over 1,000
survivors of IED strikes
on vehicles.

And a senior British officer
admitted to me the other day that,

in the old days, when we had
the soft-skinned vehicles -

the Snatch Land Rover and so on -

that might have been more like
three casualties per vehicle.

'With our troops now coming home,

'this stuff is too valuable
to leave behind.

'So a massive operation is under way
to bring it back to Britain.

'At forward bases like this one,
all the vehicles and spares

'are being gathered up
for the drive back to Bastion.

'Which meant that,
in the middle of the night,

'I found myself in a convoy
of returning vehicles

'in full Ross Kemp mode.'

We're in a Mastiff.
We're in a convoy of 31 vehicles.

These legs belong to Sue, who's up
the top on the gun, keeping lookout.

Hello. Morning. Morning, ma'am. Is
there room for two of us up there?

We can give it a go. Right, I'll
move this way a bit. There we go.
Ow.

I don't think we're going to fit on.
I've pulled something off.

HE GROANS

I'm not fat.

What's to stop somebody... Cos we
can't really see very much out
there.

What's to stop somebody out there
just taking a shot at you?

Absolutely nothing at the moment.
So they're out there somewhere.

They are.
There're not that far away.

When was the last time a roadside
bomb went off on this bit,
do you know?

Very... Very recent.
Very recent? Very recent.

'Daylight found us
still in one piece,

'and back within the walls
of Bastion,

'the packing-up process could begin.

'Alongside a strip-down service,

'each vehicle gets a 24-hour-long
jet wash.

'Biological
decontamination.

'And, at the very end,
its own passport.'

And look at the size of it.

All these pages, all these
signatures, everything signed off.

Every single vehicle and piece
of equipment has one of those.

And there are over
3,500 of them.

So don't complain next time
you have to tax and MOT your car.

'For some poor souls,
the new machinery came too late.

'But the military has responded
to the brutality of this conflict.'

'And the vehicles we're
bringing home from Afghanistan

'are much better than the ones
we went out with.'

APPLAUSE

And there it is.

The big military Foxhound.

Or, since the Army loves
an acronym, the big MF.

Anyway, it's now time to put
an S in our RPC.

Britain has produced many great
Toms over the years -

Daley, Jones and, of course,
Mas the Tank Engine.

But, tonight,
our Tom is the newest of them all.

He's from Thor and Avengers Assemble
and War Horse.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Tom Hiddleston.

CHEERING

How are you? Very well, thank you.

Look! Thank you. Thank you.

Have a seat. Thank you.

I was half expecting you to ask
the audience to kneel before you.

Not here.
I haven't got my horns with me.

So let's get on to your car history
if I may. Yes, sure.

Your first car, then, what was it?
It was a Peugeot 106. Mmm(!)

Yeah. It was quite adventurous.
Mmm(!) 1.1. Wow(!)

Really phwoar - when you floored it,
you felt it. It was a 1.1 what?

They always had silly names. Zest.
Yeah, there you go.

Sounds like a washing powder.
It sounds like lemon juice. It does.

I bought it with my first
pay check for some TV work that I
got

while I was at university. And I
kept that for ten years. Ten years?!

Ten whole years.
All the way through my 20s, yeah.

But I presume that, obviously,

now, as result of you being Loki in
the Thor franchise... Indeed, yes.

..there's no need now to drive
around in cars with zesty names?

Well, I'm very fortunate
to drive a Jaguar.

And as you probably know,

I'm part of a campaign that they
have recently done. And they are...

Weirdly, Jaguar's been part of my
life for the last couple of years,

cos I keep playing characters
in films who drive Jaguars.

What, does Loki drive a Jag?

I think Loki drives a spaceship.

Yes, he does. Is it a Jag spaceship?
It is a Jag, I'm sure.

Goes to the petrol station and goes,

"Oh, dear, my dear, I seem
to have left my wallet at home.

"This is embarrassing."
I'm sure he would approve.

Caddish spaceship. Yup.

No, this Jag commercial, actually,
I don't know if anybody's seen it,

but have a look at this.

Have you ever noticed,
how, in Hollywood movies,

all the villains are played
by Brits?

Maybe we just sound right.

Good evening, sir. Thank you, Mary.

We're more focused.

More precise.

We're always one step ahead.

With a certain style, an
eye for detail.

And we're obsessed by power!

A stiff upper lip is key.

And we all drive Jaguars.

Oh, yes. It's good to be bad.

CHEERING

I have to say, the line I like most
in that is Mark Strong's,

cos he goes,
"And we all drive Jaguars."

What it should be is, "We all drive
Jaguars...now." Right!

"As a result of this."
Yeah. Or, indeed, a helicopter.

Was that really filmed in London?
It was all filmed in London.

It was one of the most
extraordinary evenings of my life.

I... We were allowed to go over
central London about 500 feet.

And the door of the helicopter
was open.

And Tom Hooper, who directed it,
was sitting behind the camera.

And we were up, banking right,
and I was leaning out the window,

and a certain point, he said,
"I'm afraid we have to cut,
we have to change..."

"OK, good, that's completely fine."
"Cut."

Argh! It's really high!
You know what I mean?

When the cameras rolling,
I was like, "I've got this -

"more focused, more precise." And
as soon as it was cut, I was like...

"Oh, God, the window's open!
Someone shut the door!"

It is a good point, though. It's
a very good business, isn't it,
that is raised

in that commercial about the
number of vets who are baddies.

Rickman and then Hopkins and you...

Alan Rickman, Anthony Hopkins...

I guess it started with
James Mason back in the day.

God, I thought
you were going to see James May!

The world's longest
and most boring film.

The undiscovered British villain.

Yes.

But what is it, do you think,
that the Brits bring
to a Hollywood movie?

I genuinely think
it's because Americans think

we're inherently distrustful.

They think, "Oh, my God,
your accent! You're so sneaky!"

Or something.
It's illusion, of course.

They like seeing us fail, I think
that's what it is. That's it.

Cos you have to fail if you're the
baddie. That's probably what it is.

Now, your career began, I believe,
at Slough Comprehensive.

It certainly did, yup.
As the front leg of an elephant?

I was the front leg of an elephant
carrying Eddie Redmayne.

He was grand enough to be the
passenger of the elephant.
Really? Yeah.

I was the arse of a donkey once.

And I ended up here as a result
of that. And then you did
the obligatory...

The greatest arse
of a donkey...in the world.

LAUGHTER

CHEERING

That was very good! Sorry,
couldn't help it. No, that was...

Somebody said that you were a good
mimic. Is that something...?

It's something I've done.
I've done it my whole life.

I remember, when I was a child, they
used to have a double tape deck,

and I would record my own radio
show, with all the different voices.

They were basically voices of people
I'd heard of the telly, you know.

Phillip Schofield's and... Could
you still do Phillip Schofield?

I don't know. I don't even know
if... Actually, don't bother.

I wouldn't know what he sounded
like. Throw me another one. Anthony
Hopkins.

HE MIMICS: Oh, Tony Hopkins... Yeah.

Have you had him on the show?
Top Gear.

Yes, I'd love to be on the show. I'd
like to drive fast around a track.

Being taught to drive by The Stig,
great man, great man,
I'd love to do that.

LAUGHTER

APPLAUSE

Let's think of some more names.

Anyone got any more names
we can fire?

Try to make them men,
cos that's probably easier. Yeah.

SOMEONE SHOUTS OUT
What? Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Arnold Schwarzenegger.
SOMEONE SHOUTS OUT
What was that?

Paul O'Grady.
I think I'll go for Schwarzenegger.

I'm trying to think of something
he says.

HE MIMICS: I know now why you cry.

That sounded a little bit like
Peter O'Toole. Sorry about that.

HE MIMICS O'TOOLE: I know now
you cry.

That is quite a skill. Yeah.
And what are you doing now?

Anything exciting?

I'm just finishing
a run of Coriolanus in the West End,

which I've enjoyed hugely.

And I'm about to go to Toronto
to make a horror film

with Guillermo del Toro...
If you know him,

the Mexican director
who directed Pan's Labyrinth.

Who did one with Tilda Swinton as
well just recently? That's correct.

There's a film called Only Lovers
Left Alive, which is coming out

in the UK, I think, on the 21st of
February, and it's basically
a love story.

Tilda and I play a couple
who are vampires, so...

Oh, it's about a vampire film?
It's a vampire film, but were
vegetarians, we don't bite.

Vegetarian vampires. Vegetarian
vampires. This I need to see.

We're much too classy for all
that 15th-century nonsense.

Now, I'm conscious of the time,
cos I know that you are appearing

on stage this evening...
Mm-hm.....in Coriolanus.
In Coriolanus, yes.

Which calls for you at the end,
I understand,

to be strung upside down,
bleeding profusely.

That's how it goes down, yeah.

Spoiler! Yeah.

It is a 450-year-old text,
so I think it's OK.

Did it occur to you when you
were driving around the track,

if you had an accident,
you could save the make-up?

If I just roll the car,
crash it... You could turn up...

And say, "I have my 27 wounds
upon me." 27 wounds,
blood gushing...

So, did you crash?
I didn't trash, per se.

Because, well, shall we have a look?
Let's have a look. I'm very nervous.

It was very wet out there.
Who would like to see the lap?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

Let's have a look. Play the tape.

Three, two, one...

Oh, I've stalled the BLEEP!

No way!

APPLAUSE

Oh, the shame! Yeah, you've got
double first from Cambridge,
have you not?

In Classics? I did. I did.
But you can't set off
in a Vauxhall Astra?

Oh, dear. Anyway, let's see
the finished product, shall we?

When you actually set off.
Right. Here we go.

Ooh, that's a lot of clutch.

Come on. Come on!
BLEEP. Come on!

God Almighty, that's wet.

Doing well, though.

Go, go, go. Go, go, go, take
the bend hard, take the bend hard.

Use the track.

Yeah, use the track. Better.

God, you've actually got
that thing sliding.

Normally, it's got very good grip.
Yeah, it was very puddly out there.

♪ I'm for ever driving in puddles. ♪

Right, could you see
the lines at the Hammerhead?

Yeah, just about, cos it was
very tight. Very difficult. Yeah.

Hugh Bonneville was here last week.

He said he couldn't see the lines
cos it was so wet.

It's weird in England... Yeah.
..to have two wet days(!)

Floor it.

You're not doing it flat.

Come on!

You are! No, you're not.
LAUGHTER

I was going to say,
that's ballsy on a day like today.

Stupid but ballsy.

Right. Ooh, the tail coming out.
You are very committed to this.

There you go. Second to last corner.
That's very nicely done. Gambon.

A bit safe, a bit safe?
No, I disagree.

There we are, across the line.
APPLAUSE

Now, we've only ever had one wet
lap, which was last week -
Hugh Bonneville.

So where do you think you've come,
bearing that in mind?

Oh, I'm a bit worried
I haven't beaten Hugh.

It'd be nice to be somewhere around
that, that area.

Right, somewhere around that...

There's Ron Howard.
He directed Rush. He did.

Ron Howard - that was dry.

He was just basically hopeless.

Hugh was 1.50.1.

OK. And you, Tom Hiddleston,

1...

Which is good. That's good? OK.

..40...

AUDIENCE GASPS

..but only just.

..9.9.

Oh! There we go.

Well...

All right. Thank you.

In the wet?

Very wet.

Thank you! I got a V.
Special very wet.

Well, I must let you go,
which is a shame

because I'm much enjoying
all of this.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Tom Hiddleston! Thank you.

Now...

..this is the brand-new
£866,000 McLaren P1,

probably the most advanced
and jaw-dropping car

the world has ever seen.

Hmm. The attention to detail in this
thing boggles the mind.

It is... It's almost science
fiction.

And so, there was
only one place on Earth

where I could test it properly.

Belgium.

LAUGHTER

This is Bruges.

It's a quiet, friendly,
cobbled sort of place.

And it's just a stone's
throw from Brussels,

home to all the environmental
EU law-makers.

All of which makes it an ideal
starting point

for my test of the new McLaren.

Because behind the front seats
there are 324 laptop-style batteries

which power a silent,
polar-bear-friendly electric motor.

This means that even the most
frizzy-haired sandal enthusiast

would welcome this
car into their city centre.

It's like that other two-seater
electric car, the G-Wiz.

It's Al Gore with
a windscreen wiper.

Do not think, however, that it has
the get-up-and-go of Jabba the Hutt.

Because the electric motor in this

produces a whopping 176 horsepower.

That's about what you
get from a Volkswagen GTI.

So it's pretty nippy.

The only problem is,
that after just six miles,

the batteries will be flat.

So you'll need to
plug your car into the mains

and sit about eating a chocolate
shoe for two hours

until they're charged up again.

Or if this doesn't appeal,

there is an alternative.

Because, you see,
the P1 is fitted as standard

with an onboard petrol-powered
generator.

And it is quite a big one.

In fact, it's
a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged

722-horsepower V8.

We push this button...

There it is, firing up.

And the great thing is,

it's not just charging
the batteries.

It's also working alongside
the electric motor

to power the wheels.

So the P1, then, is not like a G-Wiz
at all, in any way.

Thanks to that generator,

you can take this
out of a city centre

and onto the open road.

And that's another reason I've
come to Belgium.

Because there are
so many roads to choose from.

Belgium has three times
as many roads

and 50% more cars per square mile

than we do in Britain.

And the stats from this
remarkable country

just keep on coming.

There are so many
miles of street-lit motorway here

that Belgium is officially
the brightest country on Earth.

It's a little-known fact that
Buzz Aldrin's first words

when he set foot on the moon were,

"Good God! You can
see Belgium from up here!"

I made that up.

On the road I chose, there was rain.

There was sunshine.

There were clear stretches.

And there were traffic jams.

And the McLaren was quiet
and comfortable through it all.

But it was not what you'd
call luxurious.

It is, frankly, as well equipped
as a pair of monk's underpants.

And that's because,
like the Alfa we saw earlier,

this car was designed to
be as fat as Iggy Pop.

Inside, there's no glove box
and no carpets.

The glass is just 3.5mm thick,

1.5mm thinner than
the glass in normal cars,

except in the back windows...

where there's no glass at all.

No lacquer is added to
carbon-fibre trim

to save 1.5kg.

The whole chassis weighs less
than James May.

The trimmings are titanium,

and the body is
made from just five panels,

which means less glue
and fewer bolts are needed

to hold it all together.

All of this means that,
despite the bank of batteries

and the fact it has two engines,

this car weighs less than
a Vauxhall Astra.

That, of course,
makes it economical.

And fast.

Really fast.

Mind-blowingly fast.

Oh, my God!

Ohhh!

HE CHUCKLES

The speed, in fact,
is the main reason

I brought this car to Belgium.

Because Belgium is home to
this place.

Spa - the longest, wildest
racetrack on the F1 calendar.

How can they make something
go this fast?!

OK. OK, let me
just slow it down while I explain

what's going on here.

The electric motor
and the big V8 generator

are working together

so that I have at my disposal

903 brake horsepower.

Ohh!

Obviously, I've driven
a Bugatti Veyron

that has more than that,

but a Bugatti Veyron...

Oh!

..it has four-wheel drive

and it weighs more than most
mountains.

This is rear-wheel drive,

and the only significant weight
comes from the air

passing over the body.

INDISTINCT

Flat in a Formula 1 car.

Not flat in this.

Oh, they should have called
this the Widow-maker!

The throttle is a hyperspace button.

Step on it...

and you're gone.

And yet, somehow,
even in this appalling weather,

it got round all of the corners

without crashing once.

So, how?

Well, that's partly because it's
made of stuff from the future.

And partly because it's clever.

It adapts. It moves around to
suit its environment.

As the speed climbs,
the rear wing rises

to generate more downforce,

but as you go past 156mph,

it starts to go
back down a little bit,

otherwise the weight of the air
passing over it

would be so enormous it would
break the suspension.

Then you have the exhaust,
which works with the rear diffuser

to generate an area of low pressure

into which the back of the car
is sucked.

The wheels are made
from military-grade aluminium.

The brake discs from a material
that's only ever been used

in the Arianespace programme.

And they're coated with something
called silicon carbide.

Apparently it's the hardest
substance known to man.

Apart from dried Weetabix,
obviously.

And then, the whole thing

sits on four tyres that were
designed and made by Pirelli.

All of this means you really
have the confidence to open it up.

This thing goes from 0 to 160mph

faster than a Golf
goes from 0 to 60.

130, 140, 150,

160, 170, 180, 190...

Bloody hellfire!

And as you hurtle round in a puddle
of your own faeces,

girning like an infant,

the car is working on ways of going
even faster.

Let me give you an example.

The electric motor is used

to fill in the little gaps
when the petrol engine

isn't working at its best, like,
for example,

during gear changes

or while the massive
turbos are spooling up.

And what I find hysterical
about that is that McLaren

has taken this hybrid technology,

which is designed to reduce
the impact

of the internal combustion engine

and is using it to increase
the impact.

That's like weaponising a wind farm.

Or buying the Rainbow Warrior
and turning it into an oil tanker.

For years, cars have all been
basically the same

but this really isn't.

It's a game-changer.
A genuinely new chapter

in the history of motoring.

In a town, it's as eco friendly as
a health-food shop.

On a motorway, it's comfortable
and produces no more carbon dioxide

than a family saloon.

And on a track,
it can rip a hole through time.

And it's all been achieved using
something that's been around

for centuries -
brilliant British engineering.

You could argue
that it doesn't have

the passion or
the flair of a Ferrari,

and I'd probably agree with you.

But look at it this way.

It was passion and flair that built
the Leaning Tower of Pisa,

and it was British engineering

that built the plumb-dead-straight
Westminster Abbey.

Hair on end.

Great, but weren't we supposed to
test that against the hybrids

that Porsche and Ferrari are
developing? The Ferrari isn't ready.

The Porsche is. It wasn't
when I filmed that. But it is now.

I shall be driving it on the show
in a few weeks' time. Yes.

And after you've done that,
we're going to put the Stig

in both of them and do some time
laps around our track.

Now, that should be quite
something, I think.

I don't think it will be. Hey?
Why not?

Well, because... Were you not
listening the film? Yeah.

The speed of this is beyond
anything I've ever experienced.

It's animal savagery.
It's beyond belief.

Yes, yes, yes, but the Porsche might
be faster. It won't be.

But it might be. No, but it won't be.

But...it might be.

I guarantee it won't be.
But it might be.

Hammond, I'll do you a deal.

If the Porsche is faster
round our track than this,

I will change my name, by deed poll,

to Jennifer.

Really? Yes.

Promise? Yes.

And on that potential bombshell,
it is time to end.

Thank you so much for watching.
See you next week. Good night!