Top Gear (2002–…): Season 6, Episode 7 - Episode #6.7 - full transcript

Jeremy races a Fiat Panda against marathon runner A.C. Muir around the London Marathon circuit in the morning rush hour. Jeremy reviews the TVR Sagaris. Justin Hawkins is the Star In A Reasonably Priced Car.

--CLARKSON: Tonight, a rock star -- gets in a jam.

-- Attacking the Nurburgring  -- in a van.

-- And is a car faster  -- than a man?

Hello and welcome  to this handy Top Gear--chart

which features all the cars  currently made by TVR.

You've got the T350C,  the T350T,

the T440R, Typhon,  Tuscan and Tamora.

And I've no idea  which one is which.

They're all exactly the same.  They are!

They're identical. They're all plastic shouty things. However,

I was driving a new type of TVR the other day

and I thought  this feels a little different.

So I brought it to our track  to see what's what.

CLARKSON: Like all TVRs, this new Sagaris has insane styling.

It appears to have been   designed by a lunatic   and then hit with an axe.

And like all TVRs,   you can't just jump in   it and go for a drive.

I mean, look at this  for a starting procedure.


(SCOFFS) It's like firing up  the Starship Enterprise.

Those are the dilithium crystals being warmed.

And would you like to guess  where the door handle is?

No, you're quite wrong.  It's that little button there.

And the radio is completely  unfathomable. And  the ashtray is inaccessible.

And according to  the speedometer,  the top speed is 20.

(CHUCKLING)  Oh, no, it isn't!

CLARKSON: It's got a four-litre engine under the bonnet,

-- which produces 400-brake -- horsepower,

and it's got a glass-fibre   body which weighs   about two ounces!

-- So like most TVRs,  -- it goes like stink.

-- 0-60 is dealt with  -- in a staggering 3.8 seconds.

-- And flat out, you'll be moving -- at three miles a minute.

That's 180 miles an hour.

The whole car is tingling and  vibrating. It feels like the  engine is trying to escape.

It's melting the road!

-- There really is -- a lot of power,

especially when you remember   this car costs   less than £50,000.

-- Mind you, you don't get much  -- in the way of luxury,

or toys,

or safety equipment.

There's no traction control.

-And there are no   anti-lock brakes. -(TYRES SQUEAL)

There's no airbag, either.

TVR's argument has  always been,  "Well, don't crash then!"

I have never been particularly  big on the nanny state,

but I said to one of their  guys the other day,

"You know there's  a Europe-wide agreement now

"that all new cars will have  anti-lock brakes."

And he went, "Oh, we didn't  get that memo."

So like all TVRs, the Sagaris is a devastatingly fast, loud, brutal

and relatively cheap poke   in the eye for Britain's   health and safety executive.

And, like all TVRs, it smells  of glue and bits of  the body are coming off.

Look at the bonnet!

The engine  really is trying to escape!

-- So what makes it different?  -- Why have I brought it here?

Well, take these slashes as an example.

On the prototype Sagaris  they were vents.  There were holes in them.

But they found that mud and stones were being flicked off the tyre,

through the holes, and into  the windscreen.

Now in the past TVR  would have gone, "Oh, dear.  That's terrible."

And then put it on sale anyway.

But now they are owned  by a very wealthy  Russian business boy,

they took the car  back to the drawing  board and filled them in.

It means they're thinking  about customers,  which is nice.

In the olden days, I always   got the impression   that TVR built a car,

put it on sale,   and then found   out how it handled.

Usually when one of their  customers wrote to the factory

complaining about  how dead he was.

With this one, though,   they employed the guy   that set up the Noble,

which is probably the   best-handling   car in the world.

And it shows.

It doesn't dive or squat down  at the back, or heave.

It's been given surprisingly   heavy springs and a much   wider track than is usual.

-- And the results -- are sensational!

Owning a TVR in the past  was like owning a bear...

It was great, until it pulled your head off, which it would.

One day, it would  pull your head off. This one,  though... This is...


This is excellent!

Pedals are perfectly  positioned for heel and toe.

There's a bit of understeer.

And a little bit of oversteer.

Oh! Oh...

My! Yes! Yes!

TVR, you've made a decent  proper-handling car!

Whoa, ho-ho-ho-ho!

Oh, yes!

Wonders will never cease!

Every single TVR  I have ever driven

within the last 20 years has been terrifying.

What makes this one  so special

is that it isn't.


Well, very nice, very nice.

Nice TVR, lovely film,  all that...


I think if you had £50,000  to spend on a car,

you wouldn't buy this because you're a coward.

You'd have that Mercedes SLK55  we had on  a couple of weeks ago.

You're right. I would.  I would do that for  a very simple reason.

Because the Mercedes is lairy  when you want it to be,

-but when you just want  to get home at night... -Yes.

-Then it settles and becomes  a normal car. -Just a car.

This is always a clown car,

with its big shoes  and spinning bow tie, and  "Smell this flower, go on."


The thing is, though...

Two things about it.  One is it's a hatchback  and surprisingly comfortable.

And the second, thing is, I  reckon it will be unbelievably  fast round our track.

So do I.

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

Some say that he lives in a  tree and that his sweat can be  used to clean precious metals.


All we know is that  he's called The Stig.


CLARKSON: Okay. Away he goes!

-- And look at those stupid -- sideways exhausts there!

-- This car really does think  -- it's bonkers

but can it do a bonkers lap?

-- First corner, and drifting  -- nicely through there

-- and really quite sideways  -- on the way out!

Stig still into his prog rock. Emerson, Lake and Palmer this week!

-- Chicago.  -- Looking a lot neater there.

Yeah, he's got the tail in check but now it's the real test.

-- It's the Hammerhead! -- A bit hairy under the braking.

He's got it very sideways now!

This really is a raw-meat car, which, funnily enough, is Stig's favourite food!

We're coming up to   the Follow-through.   Will he lift?

Will he?

Not even slightly!   This is going   to be a fast lap!

Two more corners to go. I should say this car rides incredibly well,

-- which is useful if the Stig's  -- going to do that!

Going round the Gambon   very sideways and   across the line!


Anybody want to hazard  a guess?

-Do you want to guess? How quick do you reckon? -1:24.

-1:24? So this sort  of area here? -Yeah.

You're exactly right!  It's 1:24.6!

And that...


That is the fastest...

That's the fastest  kind of normal car,  sub-supercar.

It's faster than the 575.

It's faster than an Evo FQ.

It's just below the  Koenigseggs and  the Zondas and so on.

That is really, really quick.  I've got to get a Mercedes  55 to keep up with that.

Erm, anyway, we must move on.  We must do the news.

And the big news this week is,  Jeremy has been banned  from driving for six months.

Yes, he has!



What do we do?  What do we do?

I'm really sorry  to disappoint you.  I have to point out

that it wasn't his local  magistrate that banned him,  it was his doctor.

It was, and that's why it's  taking him so long  to get to the stage.

There he is,  ladies and gentlemen.

Oh, you look  like you're in pain. Oh, dear.

-Yes, I am. I have  a top speed of one.  -What have you done?

-I've slipped two discs in my back. -Really?

And they've told me  not to drive or write.

Thank you so much for that.

That's what you do.

That's kind of what I do.

It's quite interesting. The doctor said, "How? Do you take exercise?"


Not really. So he deduced that  I must have done it by  all that oversteer stuff.

On the track.

So you've over-oversteered?  I've over-oversteered.

I've now got repetitive oversteer injury.

And we therefore have a problem, because if I...

We're okay for this series  because we've done all  the films we need to do.

But for the next series, if I  can't do the oversteer  stuff on the track...

I can start it but I... It's where I'm going to end up.

-Usually in a tree or Berkshire. -Anywhere.

And James can't do oversteer  because he thinks oversteer is  a left-wing plot of some kind.

Yes, no, it really  isn't funny.

I tell you what is  a giggle, though.

The doctor said to me,  the three most painful  conditions in medicine

are giving birth, passing a kidney stone, and what I've got.


Women, have you had children?  You have.

You know that lying around  screaming thing you do?  "Argh, it's so bad!"

I'm presenting a show while in that much pain!


I'm off my face on morphine.

Shall we move on?  CLARKSON: Yeah.

Yes. I'd like to talk  about Proton. They're  a Malaysian manufacturer.

They work in a jungle clearing  and they produce small,  cheap and cheerful cars.

There's no such thing as cheap and cheerful. There's cheap and nasty,

and expensive and cheerful.  Just get that  clear in your head.

I retract the word cheerful.

Proton, they're a Malaysian  company making cheap  cars in a jungle clearing.

But, of course, the interesting thing is that they own Lotus.

They've come out with a new car.

They're saying,  the way you should think  of this is "My first Lotus."

Do you wanna see it?

The Proton Savvy.  (AUDIENCE LAUGHS)

First and last Lotus  if you ask me.

It's on sale in September  and it's going to cost £7,000.

-So it's actually,  "My first Proton"? -Exactly.

Get it off the screen.  I don't want to  see it any more.

Have you got anything  more interesting?

I'd like to talk about the Mustang. We drove the new Mustang

on this programme last series.  They have now given it  the power to match its looks.

With this, it's the Mustang GT500.

I know, it's fantastic.

They styled that to look like the 1960s GT500.

Supercharged V8,  450 brake horsepower.

In the States, that's  gonna cost the equivalent  of about £20,000.

For all that power  and all that energy!

Sadly, we're not gonna get it over here. I know.

But there is another Mustang.  We've got one in the metal,  in the studio over there.

It's the Mustang  convertible version.

That, in America, is gonna  cost the equivalent  of just £17,000.

We won't get that one either.

Why have they never  sold Mustangs here?

Because they're rubbish.


I've driven the whole range  there, from the original one  right up to that convertible.

Which we arrived in today,  looking like Siegfried  and Roy, as you pointed out.


It wasn't a good arrival!

The problem is they've styled  them to look like  the 1960s Mustangs,

but they drive a bit like the 1960s Mustangs.

-Which actually drove  like 1940s oxen carts. -Yes.

You know, cars over the years  have been styled to look  like sharks, the FW6 series.

Sting Ray.  Corvette.

Or lions, big cats. What?

Big jets.

Fighter jets.

The point is that Mercedes  has decided that what we want  is a car styled like a fish.

There it is.

HAMMOND:  That's a small yellow fish!

It is. They say that's  the most aerodynamic  shape of any creature.

Aerodynamic? It's a fish!

It is a fish. They've got  the wrong word. It's hydr...

If you threw that through  the air, it would rot,

and it would be just be a glutinous mess! It wouldn't work at all.

Nevertheless, they say  we've made a car  that looks like this.

-Would you like to see it?  Here it comes. -Yes, please.

-HAMMOND: Oh,  it does, actually!  -(AUDIENCE LAUGHS)

-It's just potty.  They say it's a bionic car.  -Really?

-I thought bionics were like  robo-cars, half flesh with... -Yeah.

Yeah, Steve Austin. Transistors and muscle.

Yes, exactly. But they say  it's bionic because  it looks like the fish.

If you're gonna buy one of these, and it's not  for production yet...

It's a car that looks  like a fish,  so if you live in Cornwall

don't leave it on the street  'cause a Spanish  person will nick it...


Technology-wise, it's got  a normal diesel engine,

but, they say they've developed a magic fluid

which is sprayed into the catalytic converter,

which removes all the  unpleasantnesses that would  normally come out of the back.

-Would anybody like to guess  what this magic liquid is?  -No idea.

Not Red Bull!

It's urine. Wee-wee.


You wee on  the catalytic  converter and it...

So, what you're telling us,  Jeremy, is Mercedes  has invented a car

that looks like a fish, is bionic

-and will save the planet  if you wee on it? -Yeah.

Did you read the label  on the tablets this morning?


It's true! Mercedes have gone potty! Just give us the fuel cell stuff.

I don't know why we have  to have that,  but there you are. We do.

Shall we talk about the Top Gear--Survey, which is, of course, very important?

CLARKSON: Yes, it is.

We looked at the TVR earlier.  We presume it will break down.

We presume the Alfa Romeo that  was here last week,

we presume that will  break down, too.  But we don't know.

The only way that we can  find out is if you, the people  who actually buy the cars,

get in touch with us and tell us, which is why we have this survey.

How does it work?

The rules are, you have to have a car registered

between 2002 on an O2 plate,  and 2004 on a 53 plate.

We're interested in that range  of cars. And all you have  to do... It's really easy.

and just click  a load of buttons.

Right, now we must move on  with a question.

Have you ever wondered  which is the fastest,  a car or a man?


I have. So we decided  to find out.

CLARKSON: This is our man.

His name is A.C. Muir   He's 32 years old, and   he's a lecturer in marketing

at Glasgow University.

-- And this is what -- he'll be racing,

-- the new four-wheel drive -- Fiat Panda.

Has a top speed of 90 miles   an hour, and is fuelled by   a highly explosive liquid

called petrol.

Mr Muir, on the other hand,   has a top speed   of 15 miles an hour

and is fuelled this morning   by eggs, bacon and   two pieces of toast.

It sounds like a foregone  conclusion, but...

Mr Muir is a keen  marathon runner

and we're going to be racing  over the marathon  course in London

on a very chilly, sleety,  Tuesday morning at rush hour.

So, 26 miles 385 yards.

The Panda versus the man.


CLARKSON: And we're off!

Oh, this is easy!


And goodbye. Goodbye!

The route pretty much follows   the normal London   Marathon course,

starting in Greenwich and ending on the Mall.

On a clear day, Mr Muir could do this in two hours and 20 minutes.

Theoretically, it would take me two hours and 27 minutes,

seven minutes more.

-- That's because  -- the doom-mongers say

the average speed of a car   at rush hour in Central   London is 10.6 miles an hour.

But, to begin with at least,   I was doing a damn   sight more than that.

Oh, look at this. Rush hour  on a sleety,  miserable morning in London,

not a thing on the roads.  What are people on about?

I'm doing 30 miles an hour.

-- I even had time to think about -- my Panda.

This is such a great  little car, it really is.

It's like a little donkey.

Sweet, hard-working,  go anywhere,  cheap to buy, cheap to run...

It's brilliant!

I have to say, folks, I don't see a lot of congestion this morning.

Mr Muir, you haven't got a hope in hell.

-- Things weren't looking good  -- for Mr Muir.

-- By the time the machine -- had covered three miles,

the man was two miles behind.

Oops! Speed camera.  Or "piggy bank"  as I now call them.

All I see is open dual  carriageway and no Clarkson.

But then,   with   a three-mile lead, disaster.

The marathon course turned, and I was no longer going against the rush hour traffic.

-- In fact, I really wasn't -- going anywhere at all.

A survey came out  the other day,  said that people now spend

four years of their lives  in cars.

Four years!

This is good, look at this.  City steering.

You push this button  and it makes  the steering go really light.

Look at that. Something to play with.

-- While I played, -- my lead was being eroded fast.

-- In 10 minutes I'd covered  -- just 600 yards,

-- and any minute I knew I'd feel -- Mr Muir's hot, sweaty breath

on the back of my neck.

Oh, my God!


He just...  You can't just run by!

He just overtook me  without so much  as a by-your-leave!

This is a welcome sight. Traffic as far as the eye can see.

CLARKSON: Never mind.   This was a marathon,   not a sprint.

Just as soon as I'd cleared   this pocket of   congestion in Greenwich,

-- I knew the Panda  -- would strike back.

Unfortunately, the pocket   of congestion was, in fact,   a river of congestion,

-- and Mr Muir was now  -- a mile ahead.

I'll do the Richard Hammond  school of  driving in a minute...

"What are you doing? Why have you got a van?

"Why are you left...  Why are you looking at me?  I'll get him!"

Right now, we're...

That's just through  nine miles,  and I'm feeling all right.

He went past me two miles ago,

and I've barely moved since.

As Mr Muir cruised through   the 9,   10, and 11-mile markers,

-- the Panda was still caged  -- by congestion.

I'm gonna have to start getting nifty.

Oh! Damn, there's a bus lane.

See down there? The bus lane's  packed out with buses!

But then, joy!

-- With Mr Muir crossing -- Tower Bridge four miles ahead,

the traffic jam ended.

Now we're making progress.  Oh, yes.

Now, the supremacy of the car  will once again shine through.

One of the little snippets  I have about  the Fiat Panda is this...

From starting the engine to hot air coming out of the vents

takes just 19 seconds.

Which means it goes  from 0 to 60 degrees  a damn sight faster

than it goes from 0 to 60  miles an hour.

--MAN ON RADIO: Just got  -- a report from the runner.

-- He's on the Isle of Dogs -- by Canary Wharf.

That there is Canary Wharf.

That's where the runner was,

-- which meant he was  -- four-and-a-half miles ahead.

-- And to get there I would have  -- to cross the River Thames.

Well, if the traffic   stayed light,   I couldn't see a problem.

I'm coming to get you,  Mr Muir!

See, a road with no bus lanes,  no cycle lanes...

Everything's working well  as a result of that.

Seventeen miles gone.  9.25 to go.

That was a really good run  of a couple of miles  at 30 miles an hour.


-- Ah, Tower Bridge!  -- The car is supreme.


Oh, no! You are joking!

I was catching him up,  and now why are  you doing that?

Now I've had it.  I have completely had it now.

There aren't any sailing boats  any more.

I wouldn't mind  if you look down the river

there's another bridge  200 yards away.

So it's not like they're even  going anywhere.

I'm not sure I could make that  even with my four-wheel drive.


-- The bridge had cost me  -- four minutes.

And when I got   to the other side, there   was another cost to consider.

-- Congestion,  -- damn congestion charging.

How do you buy congestion  zone things?

I've got directory enquiries,  one... I can't remember  what the damn number is.

So I can't ring  directory inquiries

which means I can't get the number for the congestion charging

which means I'm going  to have to find  a shop that sells one.

I'll deal with that later,

because at this stage   I was once again   going against the traffic,

and there was time to make up.

My confidence was high.

-- Ah bon, c'est -- l'Ile du Chien.

I don't believe it's possible  for a human  being to run 26 miles

even in London at rush hour,  faster than a car goes.

I just don't and  won't believe it.

He has to slow down  and when he does slow down,

my Panda's gonna pounce.

There's a junction ahead.  Bit of a concern,  I might not be too quick.

CLARKSON: Sure enough,   at 21 miles, Mr Muir hits   what runners call "the wall."

-- His body had used up  -- all its glycogen,

-- its fuel, and from now on,  -- it would be eating itself.

-- Meanwhile, Ken Livingstone  -- was eating my wallet.

Oh, joy! Hi, there.

-Have you got  a congestion charge? -Yes.

How much is it?

£5, please.

(STAMMERS) £5?  Yes.

CLARKSON: What's more, if Ken Livingstone gets his way

-- I would have to pay  -- a surcharge for the Panda.

-- Because it's a big, -- gas-guzzling, anti-social 4x4.

I'm feeling actually not bad.  I had a bit of  a bad spell back there.

CLARKSON: I've just heard  that Mr Muir is going  past the Tower of London.

He's exactly three miles ahead of me.

I'm going to get you!

A car will not be beaten by a pedestrian, and that's an end of it.

Up to the red light, oh, yes, that was nice.

-- With Mr Muir just two miles  -- from the finishing post,

-- I was heading back  -- toward Tower Bridge,

-- and the rush hour was over -- so I could pick up some speed.

According to this,  I've done eight miles an hour.

In 2005, not 10.6,  eight miles an hour.

I'm at the Tower of London,  I'm no more than, ooh...

Just a couple of minutes behind him now.

Down the Embankment,  at 10:10 a.m.  that's not gonna be too busy.

Come on, I can do this.

He must be  absolutely exhausted.

For the first time, I'm actually making steady progress.

I must be reeling him in.

Why have we stopped?

This is what congestion  charging's supposed to...


Westminster Bridge,  Parliament Square,

up that wiggly bit,  Birdcage Walk,

Buckingham Palace, the Mall.


The last couple  of marathons I've done,  I never felt good at the end,

but I'm feeling good.  This is great!


That's the Savoy,  Savoy to the Mall.

No distance.

I've only got to get  to the Mall.

Don't do that.

♪ Land of hope and glory...

Here we go.  I haven't seen him.

♪ Mother of the free... ♪

CLARKSON: I had no idea that Mr Muir had crossed the line.

I really thought I'd   overtaken him   somewhere on the Embankment,

-- so I was in for a bit  -- of a shock.

Where's the big guy  with the car?

And here's the finish line.

Oh, yes. Oh, my...

What time do you call this?

-How did you do that? How long  have you been here for?  -Ten minutes.

He's not even out of breath.


I'll go and park.

That's amazing.

You've done it in two hours.

About 2:28-something.

And I was 2:39.

You're 11 minutes faster than a car.


It's not a bad way to be.

Now go back to Scotland and don't tell anyone.


Can you believe that?

You can stop laughing.

You can... Hang on!

Wipe that smile off your face.  That is an astonishing result.

The thing is, you failed to beat me when you had a train, a plane.

-Last week you went  on a boat and you were sick.  -Twice actually. Yes.

Whereas Mr Muir beat me using  nothing but half  a horsepower and some toast.

-And ladies and gentlemen,  he's here!  -(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING)

Wow! Well done!

And you ran that?  Yep.

You did a whole marathon in two hours and 28...

Two hours and 33 minutes,  is the equivalent.

-That is a respectable marathon time, isn't it? -I was pleased with it.

It wasn't all closed off or anything, was it?

No. It was interesting,  a couple of road junctions.

You have to take a bit  of a gamble.

It's just a day in London.  I have done a little running  in London, and it's horrible.

You have to keep stopping.  And when you do,  people squeegee your face.


What astonished me, okay,  absolutely astonished me,

when we got to the finishing  line, I was expecting to  see you in a puddle of sweat.

Know what he said as I got  out of the car? "Do you  want to go get a pint?"


I couldn't believe it!


So, there we are. We have  a Top Gear--top tip for you.

If you live in Greenwich,  and you work in  Buckingham Palace,

and you're looking for  a new way of getting to work... Run!

Right. The greatest driving  song of all time. You  should know the form by now.

Here are our five finalists.

Would you now please plug in  your air guitar  and let's rock!


♪ Nobody gonna take my car

-- ♪ I'm gonna race it  -- to the ground

♪ Nobody gonna take my car

-- ♪ I'm gonna break  -- the speed of sound

MAY: It's called--Highway Star, and this is a driving song for the speed freaks...

The thrill seekers...

The unsung heroes who swim in   adrenaline and   never use the brakes.

--Highway Star was written -- in classic rock style,

-- in the back of the tour van  -- on the way to a gig.

Singer Ian Gillan said, "The best songs are written in five minutes,

"and--Highway Star  -- proves the point."

Deep Purple like their cars and this song was deliberately written as a driving anthem.

-- So it may not be subtle,  -- but it has got real pedigree.

So, to vote for Deep Purple's   Highway Star,  you telephone 09011

98 6363,  and press number  four on your keypad.

That will cost you 10 pence.

You can vote for any song  at any time.

However, we have been told  that if you vote for  Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell,

your Internet service provider  will change your  domain name to "loser."

It's now time to put a star  in our reasonably priced car.

This guy really is a modern  rock colossus.

He sold three million albums,  he's won three BRIT awards,

he's won an Ivor Novello Award  and he's had  an entire South Bank Show

dedicated to his bands.

So, out of The Darkness and into the Liana...

Ladies and gentlemen,  Justin Hawkins!

Ooh! How are you?  Okay!

Have a seat.   Merci!

Oh, yes! Ooh!

That's comfy!

-David Dimbleby last week  and now you.  -Clash of the Titans.


Presumably our driving songs  are right up your street.

Some of them are, yeah.

I tend to agree with you on the Meatloaf subject,

although we have toured with him.

And he did say to me  to consider him my father.


I had to explain to him  that I already have a father

who doesn't sing or act and is there for me!


-And isn't 140 tonnes,  presumably. -Yes!

You've just brought out a solo  single, I gather.

It's coming out soon, yeah.

It's a cover of...

--Sparks' This Town Ain't  -- Big Enough for Both of Us.

Funny, 'cause one of your  tracks sounds a bit  like Sparks anyway.

Yeah. We've ripped them off  all the way through  our career thus far!

So it's only fair  to do a cover!

I used to love it.   ♪ This town   ain't big enough... ♪

We've a clip, I think.  Haven't we?


Have we got a clip?  Let's look at this.


♪ Flying, domestic flying

-- ♪ And when the stewardess  -- is near

♪ Do not show any fear

-- ♪ Heartbeat  -- Increasing heartbeat

-- ♪ You are a  -- khaki-coloured bombardier

-- ♪ It's Hiroshima  -- that you're nearing

-- ♪ This town ain't big enough  -- for the both of us

-- ♪ And it ain't me  -- who's gonna leave... ♪

Brilliant! Brilliant,  brilliant, brilliant!

You recognise, as far as I can  see from The Darkness, the  importance of having a show.

It's a show,  it's an extravaganza.

We used to do  stadium shows in pubs,

and then we did stadium shows  in stadiums!


It was an easier jump for us  to make, but I think a lot  of people don't recognise

I have to communicate with the person who stands at the very back,

as well as the one  that's giving me  the eye in the front.

How many years did you tour  pubs and clubs  before stadiums?

As The Darkness, about five.

But for me, all my life, really, since I was about 14, I suppose.

So you've done that whole  transit van...

Actually, I used to drive a  Volkswagen Transporter.

It was blue.

Was it as disgusting in  the back as I like to imagine?

Shocking. There were so many  things in it, your  guitars would get damaged...

But you've learned.

Everything you can do now  in the big stadium is  learned from doing all that.

It would have been nice having sung a song

and then had someone sitting at a panel say,

"There you are, my friend.  You may have  a career in music,

"beginning from now!"

-Simon Cowell is where  we're going.  -That's the man, yeah.

You are a complex soul, if I may say,

because I caught you at  Wimbledon just the other day  strolling around in a blazer.

And yet, if we could look at a  photograph of you in  your stage costume here...

Here is a man with...  Your pubic hair's on fire.


There you are, you see?

How did you ask? When you go  into a tattoo place...

"What do you want, sir?  Your wife's name on your arm?"

It's actually something I designed myself.

When I took it in there  he placed it around  about here, moving upwards.

And I had to explain to him,  listen,  down a bit, down a bit...

So, how far down would that go?

That's for me,  my mother, and pets to know.


You see? You don't get this  on any other chat show!

The lovely thing was I think  U.S. Customs once  arrested you, didn't they?

-Yeah, that wasn't  tattoo related.  -I was thinking,

how could they mistake you  for someone when you're  wearing a spandex cat suit

and your pubes are on fire?

That's something I adopted  after that incident, to  avoid further embarrassment.


You're from Lowestoft.

Yes, Britain's most easterly mainland point.

That's interesting.

That's  an interesting fact, isn't it?

Isn't Bernie Ecclestone from Lowestoft?

If he is, he's disowned it,  and has subsequently been  ostracised by everybody there.

Because you'd expect them  to be cheering him on.  He's a successful man.

He is a very successful man,  but stupid haircut.

I'm not really  in a position to comment.


Let's assume  he is from Lowestoft.

-Have you got cars  in the blood?  -Cars in the blood?

Mmm-hmm. I was...

I learnt to drive  in a Suzuki Rhino...

That's not really...

But it was the SJ410,  it was white,

with a red rhinoceros  on the side.


The bounciest  car in the world.

But not in East Anglia. It's the flat lands.

You did drive across America  in a Reliant Regal?

That is a Regal.

Yeah, there she is.

---That is a Regal.  -- ♪ Isn't she lovely? ♪

No, she is not. This thing  has a 25-horsepower engine.

I know, it's immense.


How fast did it go?

Top speed, 40 miles an hour,  eight lanes of interstate.

Very scary.


I wouldn't want to...  It's a hell ride where

everyone else is going fast  and you're not.  If you can picture it.

And now you've got a Jag?

Yeah, the XKR, fast one.

Rock 'n' roll car.

-Yeah, you like those,  don't you?  -Yeah, I love those.

-And you also like the  advanced lightweight coupe.  -Oh, the new Jag?

You love it.

Oh, yeah.

You gonna get one of those?

I think there are design  features within the XKR  that should have remained.

Such as?

With the hardtop version,  you get these two lumps

behind the driver  and the passenger.

Yeah.  That's gone.

That's one of my favourite bits.

From above, when you look  at it from a helicopter,

which is how I anticipate  people do look at me  when I drive my Jag,


It looks like the Batmobile.

That's my favourite thing  about the car  and they're gone.

Never noticed that.

Mine's got lumps on it. I don't know if...

Maybe they put them in for you  'cause you're  trailed by helicopters.

It's possible.

I did mention to them,  does it look good from above?

And they were, "Ooh..."

"We'll address that."

"Never really thought  about that."

Okay, now, listen. We know  that your crotch is on fire,

but did you set  the track alight?

It's highly unlikely. I'm not  the fastest driver  you've ever seen.

Really?  But I did enjoy myself

and I am very grateful  for the opportunity.


Shall we have a look  at Justin's lap?


Let's play the tape.

CLARKSON: Oh, yes.

As you can see, we've decked   the Liana out in   that Darkness way.


--CLARKSON: Whee! Ooh, -- wow, that's quite fast.

The Stig did actually say...



-- ...that you were a natural.  -- Yeah, he was very impressed.

I like that line a lot.

That's good through there.  That will be quick.

CLARKSON: Quick through here.


Quick through there, as well!

Could he get the back wheel   off the ground?   Is that back wheel off?

-- No, not really.  -- Ooh, you didn't go off there!

-- Oh, that's really  -- very fast now.

And there we are,  across the line!


So! So, so, so.

There you go.

There's a lot of big names  up there.

A lot of big names.  Where do you  think you've come?

Well, I feel as though  I'm going to be about middle.

-You think you're going to be  somewhere in the middle?  -Yeah, I think so.

You're wrong. You're better than that.

You did it  in one minute, 48 seconds.



is right up there. (CHUCKLES)

Fantastic.  Great time!

I've been beaten by Cowell  and his cronies again.

-Cowell has beaten you  again there... -Oh, well.

Ronnie O'Sullivan...

That's  a respectable score, isn't it?

Rory Bremner and Jimmy Carr,  the only ones faster.

-His name is actually Carr,  so that's not fair, is it? -Yeah.

And that was the luckiest lap  in the world

because he's actually  a rubbish driver.

Face like a fat kid  stuck in a lift  in that helmet.

He came down and was all over  the place and  had one lucky lap,

which was that one, so he's  now at the top of the board.

Cowell was good,  Ronnie O'Sullivan was good.

These are the best drivers  we've had and  you're one of them.

Wow, fantastic!

-Great, so good of you  to come down.  -I had a great time.

Thank you so much.  Ladies and gentlemen,  Justin Hawkins!


Now, it is, ladies and gentlemen, time for the Cool Wall!


Obviously, there's just me here.

Jeremy's limping in.

I'm here and we're  going to begin with

the Aston Martin DB9 Volante!

That's a tricky one!

Your opinion is...

I love it.

You love it. She loves it.

It's not that simple!  It's not that good?

It's flawed!

It's not very pretty.


It's windy, it's wobbly.

HAMMOND: Not as good to drive.

But if you had one, one day,  somebody over  a tannoy is gonna say,

"Will the owner of the  Aston Martin DB9  Cabriolet please move it"

and you're gonna go,  "Yes! That's mine!"

I parked it in  a disabled space on purpose!

As a result of that,  without any question of doubt,

not in the safe,  but it goes there!

Pretty cool! Sub-zero.

OK, I've got  a Maserati GranSport.

This is an Italian sports car  that isn't a Ferrari,

beautiful V8 engine,  good-looking car.  Are you in agreement?

That is a cool car, in fact.

-Normally, what I would do at  this stage is beat you up.  -Yes, but you can't!

You're poorly, aren't you?

Take it off me, come on! I can't!

Aw! So, for that reason, it's cool!

In fact, I'm gonna  put it there. Do you wanna...

-In fact, you can't bend very well, can you? -No.


There you go!  "Oh, I can't move it!"

Don't applaud him!

Hey! Welcome to a new world!

I'm gonna enjoy this, Jeremy.  I might get my  way occasionally.

While I'm on a roll,  I'd like to talk about this,

the Peugeot 1007.

-Look, it's small,  it's European, it's cool!  -Wrong!

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!  It's not!

It is small and European.  It should be cool,  but, it's fiddly!

It's got these sliding doors.

Who wants a car that when  those door slide open, they'll  think Stephen Hawking's

going to come out, or you  with your bad back.

It's got interchangeable dashboard, fixtures and fittings...

It's uncool.  Look, there it is!

-Look, you are ruining  the Cool Wall. -Sorry.

You are ruining it and one day  I will be better and  put it right again.

You got to have an operation  first, though, don't you?

Yes, I may have  to have an operation.

So, there is presumably a chance that it could go horribly wrong?


5% chance I'll be  in a wheelchair.

5%? Well, people do  the lottery every week  with worse odds than that.

I'll take my chance! And if it does go wrong,

just imagine, you're there in your chair, they'll  wheel a telly in. (SQUEAKS)

"You like cars, Mr Clarkson.  Watch this Top Gear."

And there'll be me  with your Cool Wall!  "Welcome to..."

It could happen! It could.

One day!

Oh, I wish I were fit!

Listen, I wanna do  the Fiat Panda. We  looked at it earlier, okay?

This is officially the slowest  accelerating  car money can buy.

Naught-60 in 20 seconds.

That is very slow.

-It's a true fact.  But, it's 8,500 quid.  -It's fabulous!

And really good, it's  four-wheel drive, which  annoys environmentalists.

You said it was a donkey?

It is. And it really does  annoy the eco-mentalists.

Weird beards that go,  "It's  four-wheel drive, but..."

-So, on that basis, it is a cool car. -It is a very cool car.

The Range Rover Sport.


Yes, it is menacing.

What do we think to this?

Pointless. It's not  a proper Range Rover.

There. I agree with this.

You're exactly right,  you've got a beard, though.


You were right.  It is a pointless car,

but we're not discussing  whether it's pointful or not.

-We're just going on cool  and I think it is.  -It is menacing,

but the other day,  I met that guy from   Celebrity Love Island.

What's the name of the guy  that went bonkers and  hit people and stuff?

What's his...  Paul! Paul thing. Whatever...

The only car he talked about  and the only car he  wants is Range Rover Sport.

And for that reason, I'd say that was uncool.

Yep. I'll tell you what's  even more uncool

is admitting that you  ran into the man from   Celebrity Love Island.


Now, finally,  the Mercedes SLK 55.


Oh, yeah!  Seriously cool, this.

What? Hang on...

You should put it on top  of the fridge. It's not  quite cool enough to go in it.

Somewhere near the fridge.

I find myself in  disagreement with you.

I think it's too fiddly.  It's got fiddly, childish...

And I love it.  It's a great car,  great drive, great noise...

I just don't... You'll hurt yourself!

You will hurt yourself...

You!  You're a big man. Come here.

Get that off him  and get it in  the cool section!

Stand there!

Just get that and get it on the cool section!

Hang on... Go!


Don't! You've lost!

Fight him! You idiot!

That's it...

We don't do birthdays  on this show  because we are men,

as you can see by the fight  going on in the background.  Keep going!

Don't give up like that.

But, this year marks  the 40th birthday of  the Ford Transit van.

Now, that was something  that we had to celebrate.  Kill him!

Just...  For crying out loud!

If you want to pick up bits  of fluff from the floor,

the machine you use isn't  a vacuum cleaner,  it's a Hoover.

If you write something, you don't use a cheap disposable ball-point,

you use a Biro.

If you wanna  move stuff around,

you don't just get a van,  you get a Transit.

HAMMOND: The Ford Transit  is one of  the great motoring icons.

-- Over five million  -- have been sold worldwide.

And today, even though it's 40 years old, the recipe has hardly changed.

There's good reason  for Transit becoming  the synonym for van.

We may take it for granted,  but it's one of  the great originals.

In the early '60s,  Britain was changing.

Motorways meant that people  could travel  further and faster.

But there was a problem.  Because vans were hopeless.

Ford's best shot  was the Thames. It was small,

it was slow and it couldn't   have handled worse   if you'd driven it

on the actual Thames itself.

If you had a crash,  the only crumple  zone was your face.

-- The only way was up.  -- So Ford pulled in engineers

-- with proper van drivers' names -- like Charlie Baldwin

-- and Fred Ray.  -- Not the sort of blokes

who cried at films.

The first thing the Charlies   and the Freds did   was make the Transit

the best at carrying things.  So this floor has been  specifically designed

to take sheets of 8x4  and builders  only think in 8x4.

Show builders  Westminster Abbey  and they'll think,

"A lot of 8x4 went into that."

And it worked.

It was the van for all people.

-- It helped small transport  -- firms break the monopoly

-- of the corrupt  -- haulage business.

-- It ferried young rock stars  -- from gig to sweaty gig.

The Transit has always been  a bit of a Swiss Army Knife.

But if you buy a new one today,

how many combinations  of length, trim,  colour, engine, doors, shape

do you think there are?

A thousand?  Ten thousand?

Nope, 13 million.

Transit had another ace up its sleeve. It drove like a car.

-- It had car engines,  -- car suspension, car steering.

-- In fact, it could hit  -- 90 miles an hour,

-- faster than the best-selling  -- cars of the time.

Its combination of speed and load space was loved by villains.

In the '70s, the police   reckoned 95% of robberies   involved the Transit.

So, how to celebrate  this remarkable birthday?

We did think about a cake.

But I reckon nothing says  "Many Happy Returns" better

than rubbing Jeremy's  face in it.

Which is why we've come once again to Germany and the Nurburgring,

-- the fearsome 13-mile track  -- with 147 corners

-- that over the years -- has claimed hundreds of lives.

Last year, Jeremy was set   the challenge of   taking a diesel Jaguar

around this fearsome widow-maker in   less than 10 minutes.

And he did it! Just.  With a time of 9  minutes 59 seconds.

Unfortunately, it didn't cut  much ice with his instructor, Sabine Schmitz.

-- Sabine is the queen  -- of the ring,

-- a professional racing driver  -- who knows this place

-- better than any other  -- living person.

9 minutes 59 seconds!

When she heard Jeremy's time,   she threw down   an unbelievable gauntlet.

It's under 10 minutes!

I tell you something,  I do that lap time in a van!

She reckons she can get round  the world's most  demanding race track

in under 9 minutes 59 seconds  in a diesel-powered  commercial vehicle.

-- Well, what else could we do  -- but pick up the challenge?

-This really hasn't been built  for this sort of thing.  -(LAUGHING) No! Really not.

It's really not easy  with that heavy car.

The centre of gravity  is quite high here. It's  like a school bus, maybe.

But, under 10 minutes...

Some people struggle to get round there in a Porsche in that time.

This is a van.

They are slow, but I'm fast.  (LAUGHS)

HAMMOND: This van has got   just 136 horsepower and   does 0-60 in 21 seconds.

How many laps do you think  you've done in your life?

14 or 15,000.

-How many times have you  crashed? I'm just wondering.  -Oh, many times.

I can't count, actually! (LAUGHS)


At the bridge,  I start the stopwatch.

I'm feeling a little bit of fear right now.

We're away!

Go, go, go!


-I have to brake  with my left foot. -Okay.

Then I can keep my right foot  on the gas. See?

110... 150...

Hurry up, please!


Whoo! Whoo! Oversteer and understeer and everything! Whoo!

Bike in my way!

(MUTTERS) ...on a bike!

We've passed a motorcyclist.  I'm glad it wasn't me

being overtaken by a van!

The carousel is coming! Fasten your seatbelts.




That was frightening.

HAMMOND: With just   a minute to go,   things were looking grim.

Drive like the wind!  You've got 30 seconds.

You're gonna have to bend  the laws of physics now.


Nice drift.


Oh, no! Ten minutes.


Oh! It's all over!




-- We had to find 23 seconds,  -- almost an impossibility.

-- So, we did  -- some emergency streamlining

-- and put the van -- on a crash diet.

-- Every unnecessary kilo -- had to go, including me.

Then we recruited   a Dodge Viper to run in front   and create some clean air.

On the uphill sections, this might just make the difference.


Go, go, go!

Slipstream!  Mr Slipstream, I'm coming!

Closer, closer, closer, closer.

Ja,--now it's working...

And sixth gear!

Go, go, go!

Where are the brakes!  Whoo, I'm burning.

Ugh, smells.

Go, go, go, go, go!

Whoo! I must be crazy!

Come on!

Jeremy, everything's for you,  just to beat you.


I've got no more ABS.

That looks good,  that's half a minute!

Go! Go, please!

Eight seconds left! Go!


Oh, 10:08.


It was the hardest race  I've ever had in my life.

HAMMOND: And that was that.   Sabine said she   could do no more.

I pushed hard,  I'm telling you.  I was sweating everywhere.

Can you not get that extra...  It's 10 seconds in total.

I pushed that hard.  I thought to myself, "That's  my last lap for my life."

Were you scared? Yes!

Then end it there.  (LAUGHS)


So close!

Now, look...

She was...

I should...

I should be feeling smug that  you failed to beat my thing,

but, I have to say, that was  an astonishing  piece of driving.

She was incredible.  She was only half  a second a mile behind you,

and she was in this van!

I think we should explain,  the Nurburgring,  as some of you know,

is open the whole time, so there were other cars out there as well.

It was just an ordinary day.

You saw the guys in their  Porsche, "Look at me  in my Porsche! Ha-ha!"

And they're overtaken by a van  driven by a girl.  How does it feel?

Oh, it's fantastic,  and we couldn't  let it lie there,

all the way from Germany,  please welcome Sabine Schmitz!



MAY: She failed!

She's a sweetie. Now...

-You said you were scared.  Was it dangerous?  -Yes, it was.

You didn't tell me that. You  said it was perfectly safe!  "I won't crash," you said.

-I'm always afraid  in your company.  -I get that from him!

It's all downhill and you  have to brake and there's  a bridge and a big wall.

-I was always afraid to get to  that one. -Adenau Bridge?


Can I just ask something quite  important, are you  any good at oversteer?


You can get smoke  coming off a car's tyres?


Are you free in the autumn?


So, let's just work this out,  you're cheaper than he is,

you're much better-looking  than he is,

you're quicker than he is...

MAN: Taller!

Exactly, you're taller,  and you speak better English.

And there we are,  on that alluringly  Teutonic bombshell,

it's time to end the show.  Thank you very  much for watching.

See you again next week, good night!