Top Gear (2002–…): Season 9, Episode 8 - Polar Special - full transcript

It's the ultimate test of man against machine - or should that be dog against machine - as the Top Gear team set out on one of their most ambitious and arduous challenges ever. Jeremy ...

Hello and welcome to a Top Gear special.

That is Resolute, the most northerly town in Canada, in the Arctic Circle.

We're here to have a race.

400 miles over mostly frozen ocean in that direction to the North Pole.

I shall be travelling using husky dogs, sledge and skis.

I'm gonna try and beat him in a car.

That's never been done before.

No-one has ever tried to drive to the North Pole.

Here's why.

On the way, he would encounter ice boulders as big as cathedrals.

Polar bears the size of hatchbacks, temperatures that would freeze the fuel in his tank,

and, if Al Gore is to be believed,

open water into which he would sink.

Victory, then, would be mine.

Time to meet my team.

The engines powering me to the Pole would be ten husky dogs.

Where the car would crash through the thin ice,

they'd be fine.

Driving them would be Matty McNair, one of the world's leading sled dog explorers and racers.

The dogs have been living here for 4,000 years.

They can go through anything - cold, blizzard.

I have a lead dog that can go through hard packed ice.

He figures out a good route.

So that's terrain, weather - they're made for it.

I've just been weed on!

Did they have to wee on me?!

They're fast!

To beat the human lamppost, I would be using, a Toyota pickup truck.

It's a tough old bird this

but for the trip to the Pole, it had been sent to Iceland,

for a few modifications.

The biggest change, apart from the gun, obviously,

are the enormous wheels - Cuban wheels, I like to call them.

They give it extra height.

The tyres are hand-made - cost £2,500 each.

They are so vast that the front suspension has been moved forwards

otherwise you wouldn't be able to open the door.

Other changes - it's got heavy-duty diffs, heavy-duty suspension,

it's got a sump guard about that thick in case we hit a pretty much solid piece of ice.

At the front, I insisted it was fitted with these spotlamps,

although that might have been unnecessary, since it's currently 11.30pm

and this is as dark as it ever gets.

Inside, there was marine satellite navigation

and underneath, a long-range fuel tank filled with a freeze-resistant mixture of diesel and avgas.

All I need to complete the picture is a guide and a navigator.

Richard Hammond has been given Matty McNair, one of the world's leading Arctic experts.

Me. I've been given him.

Can I make it clear now that I'm only here because the producer said I had to be. I don't like snow.

I hate being cold. I hate outdoor pursuits.

I hate the idea that I've got to "push my body to find the limit."

I can't stand this stupid clothing that makes this rustling noise.

I hate the zips and the toggles and all the pockets and that.

And I hate your stupid truck. Listen, if we make it,

you will be the first person to go to the North Pole who DIDN'T want to be there.


We have the right tools for the job, which just left us.

We're not what you'd call polar explorers.

So earlier in the year, we'd been sent to a cold-weather training camp in the Austrian Alps.

We were put in the hands of some Arctic experts who showed us what salami was and

how to put an anorak on.

To be honest, our minds kept wandering.

There WAS a man who ate a car once. Was it that bloke who hate everything?

Then, a doctor snapped us to attention.

Your foreskin has been frostbitten. Right.

Shall we go straight to the frozen penis?

ALL: Aarrghh!

He'd been walking with it hanging out of his trousers.With your willy hanging out?Why?

It comes down to organisation.Good job he didn't do it on the London Underground. He'd be arrested.

On public transport with it out...

The doctor moved on to how we'd do our number twos.

You've got to be quick.

We've nearly missed entire programmes...Sometimes, Top Gear is delayed by an hour.

I get the runs, especially if I go abroad, which the North Pole is.

Doctors say better out than in. That's not true of your penis in minus 50.

Essentials for the Arctic crap.

Take your bog roll and your gun with you.Take your gun with you?To the loo?Absolutely

Bears love to creep up on you when you're taking a crap.

That's not sporting of them.

The next day, it was time for outdoor training. To be honest, it was freezing

so we went for a coffee instead.

If it's like this when we get to the Pole...

We should cross that bridge when we get to it.

How can you practise being cold?

Snow is snow. There's no point going out there catching our death.

You wouldn't be able to go - you'd have a cold.

Eventually, though, the weather cleared,

and I gave May and Hammond their first ever skiing lesson.

I can't go because of the wind...

Richard, in particular, would spend a lot of time skiing beside his dogs.


Keep them so that the tips are like that...Aargh! Don't worry about him.

You need to go more downhill or level your skis out.

If I go more downhill, I'll slip! James wasn't much better.

Just put them on. I'm coming down here otherwise I'll fall over.

It's the same here as it is there.

Push off and kick this arse out of the skis with your heel.

Don't cross them.Aarghh! Thanks a bunch!

It's taken me 20 minutes to get there!We can go together.I've got only one ski on.

Progress was painfully slow.

It's not on.


Oh, God! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!



We've done... See where we've come from?


30, 40 yards and you've got 400 miles to ski.Jeremy...

We were then taught how to erect a tent.

Our instructor was a former special forces soldier who arrived with a pixelated face.

He was very bossy.

We can do it now or four o'clock in the morning.

The only good thing is it can't possibly be colder in the Arctic.

You have to push it. You've got it stuck in here. You have to get out...

I didn't break it. Who broke the elastic then?

The man with the funny face was getting more and more irritated.

I've just had a brilliant idea. Why don't we just tow a caravan?

James, feed it through.

Put your foot on that.

Put your foot on there.

If this blows away, it's game over.

There's no, "We'll just get another tent."

It's a case of this tent is it.

Go on, catch it.

You haven't got that end put in.

These are packed with ice.


Take it back to where we're putting the tent up.

Finally, quite a bit later, the tent was up.

It's...I think you can sleep in it.


Sadly, our ordeal was not yet over.

The man with the ruined face was going to show us how it would feel

to fall through the polar ice.

In your own time, I want all three of you to jump in.

What's the problem?Hang on.

At the Pole, we'd all three be standing with safety harnesses on...

It's a silly test. I'm not doing it.

The point of this is that you have to be able to take your clothes off and put more clothes on again.

I can practise that in the hotel room.

You've got a tingling down your arm...

Pull yourself out. Come on, put some effort in!

You don't want to stay in there all day. Drop the pole.

How dare you... Hands above your head!

Hands above your head!

OK, roll in the snow, roll in the snow.

Roll in the snow! Roll in the snow, Jeremy.

That'll make it much better, rather than a big, pink, fluffy towel.

That looked awful.I'm staggered.

Do you know what, though?

I like to think of us as a unit on Top Gear,

and as a unit, we've done that test.

'Our instructors were not impressed with that theory,

'and decided we needed our heads banging together.

'So they drafted in the legendary Arctic explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes.'

The problem we have

is that we can't really get into our heads

that this is a particularly dangerous place to go.

But you think it is.

I don't think it is, I know that it can be

because of what's happened to me in that area over the last 36 years.

You will have the polar bear problem,

you will have the ignorance problem,

cos you lot are apparently ignorant,

and thirdly,

the fact that you will all start hating each other

because of the extreme cold having an effect...

The hatred is very real.

You don't want to laugh about it.

'Then we moved on to frostbite.

'He showed us what had happened to his hand

'after it had been immersed in polar water for just a few moments.

Have a look at that - that's my left hand.

So, eventually,

all those red areas were amputated.

That is... If you look at the proper hand there,

you can see how much is missing and froze off.

That was a three-minute mistake.

If we were in the car, say, went through a hole into the ice

and you fell in the water at that temperature,

what are the chances of survival?

If your whole body fell in

and the car had gone in and your tent had gone in,

cos you presumably stow that in the car,

you could probably survive for, if there was no wind, hours.

But I'd prefer in those circumstances

to go quickly rather than slowly, really.

Back in Resolute, I was glad I'd had the talk from Ranulph,

but not so glad that I'd had a skiing lesson from Clarkson.

What?You're not very good.

Because you taught me the wrong kind of skiing!

You may as well have taught me to play the banjo!

DOGS BARK 'And as zero hour approached,

'I was also struggling to bond with the dogs.'

Ah, there's a pile of poo there!

Mind you, Clarkson wasn't doing much better with his snow driving.


'And James was rubbish with a shotgun.'


And then, to make matters worse, we met the local weatherman.

My colleague here is convinced we're going to fall through the ice.

Have you seen on the map...?

You're going to this island.OK.

Now, that's all frozen to a depth of nine feet.

Not all of it is frozen. There you go!

The problem is,

we know only so much about that region,

and you are exploring that region at an incredible speed.

How safe is it up there?

With a car it's a total unknown.

There's all kinds of dangers waiting for you,

and you don't see that the ice is just a few centimetres thick.

It wouldn't look any different from the top.Yes.

That's what gets most people.

I just wanted Richard to see it.

This was a man who attempted to go to the North Pole on a sledge.

People go to the Pole all the time on sledges, don't they?

And he's being eaten. He's giving him a cuddle.

Zero hour, and even though our talent was small

and the dangers ahead were plainly immense,

we were looking forward to the off.

Well, two of us were.

Look at that awful expanse of misery.Are you cold?

No.Are we falling through the ice?Not yet.

Well, cheer up.How far have we gone?We haven't set off.




Who do you think's gonna win? We're all gonna die.


Let's go to the Pole.Go!

I can't believe it.

I'm going to the Pole with a dog team.


Hang on, stop.What?


Oh, and they're stuck. They're stuck.

Forgot the gloves.

Give me strength.

I knew he was gonna be bad on this trip.

I didn't know he'd be THIS bad.

Hurry up!

Don't go in now. Here we go.



You're such a pikey.


No gently.

There's no time for gently now cos you forgot your gloves.


So here we are going further north than any car had been before.

Riding on a thin crust of ice over an ocean 1,500 feet deep.

Just us - a film crew, two Icelandic mechanics and a soldier.

An insignificant nine-man blot

in the pristine white vastness.

How far have we gone? Three kilometres.Three?Yes.

And it's taken us three minutes? See, James,

I said we'd be there in no time.

This won't last, this sunny sky,

smooth snow.

Yes, it will.It won't. It will.It won't.


But it did last.

The sky stayed blue, the ice stayed smooth

and we opened up a huge lead over Team Dog.

It's the third time, I've told Matty...

This is only the third time I've had skis on my feet.

It's really hard.

I know lots of people ski these days but I grew up on Birmingham.

The car had disappeared into the distance,

but Matty told me the hare

would be unstuck by ice that was too thick or drowned

by ice that was too thin

and that the tortoise would then take the lead. I wasn't so sure.

Oh hell!



With things going so well for us,

I tried to get James to buy into our expedition.

I admire Hammond for doing what he's doing, I admire Arctic explorers,

but I think the time has come to say, let's see how easily we could get to the top of Everest.

Let's see how easily we could get to the North Pole.

I think we could forge a career as the world's worst explorers.

Surprisingly, James was ahead of me on that one.

What would make it nice is a gin and tonic. Don't you think?Yes.

I'd like a gin and tonic.

I can't have one because we're in the Arctic Ocean.I'll make one.



You've got gin!I have.

And we're in international waters so there are no drink-driving laws.

Have you got the ice?

That's a stupid question, isn't it?

Will you slow down while I slice the lemon for the gin and tonic?

Now THIS is Arctic exploration.


Please don't write to us about drinking and driving because I am not driving, I am sailored.


HMS G&T ploughed on

and although we occasionally got stuck,

our Icelandic mechanic showed me a neat trick

for getting going again.

So you rock it gently

and scoop a tiny bit of snow with each rock.

Woah! Woah, woah, woah!

Good boy.

Our target was five to six miles an hour but on the first day

we hadn't done anything like that.

Been on the go ten hours.

We've done 36 miles. Not good.

Not good news.

The problem is, we're standing on sea ice.

It means it has salt in it so it's incredibly grippy.

The sledge can hardly move.

I've been skiing for nine and a half hours of those ten.

I'm broken.

James and I had problems too.

We couldn't kip in the car

in case it fell through the ice while we fell asleep.

So we had to build a tent.

Everything about tenting is designed to make your life

just a bit more difficult than it need be. I would dearly like

to meet the man who designed this and took it to his boss

and said, "Sir, I've made a bed!" take this piece of elastic off...

It just isn't a bed.

It's just half a mattress, look.

You roll it out like that...

..and've got to go back and get the other one.

I mean, why didn't his boss just say to him,

"Jenkins, you imbecile, it's not a bed, it's rubbish!"

Everything's crap!



This is what I wake up to every morning.


All over my sleeping bag, it's frozen.

I took my balaclava off cos it had frozen all round

where I was breathing through it in my tent with the floor made of snow.

With us, of course, things were more civilised.

As you know, what I'm trying to do with this mission

is prove that Arctic exploration needn't be tough.

Which brings me onto the delicate question of number twos.

You see, what a traditional polar explorer would do

is simply go out there and squat an animal.

What I've done though is fitted this bumper dumper

into the tow bar attachment and now I will try it out.

Ooh-wooh! That's nippy.

James, meanwhile, was on guard duty.


James, are you showing off or are you actually looking for bears?

Cos I can't run.

Oh, Bartlett, not on the ropes!


How many poos a day do these dogs need to have?

SHE LAUGHS I'd say two.

It's ten.

It's ten each at least.

Sometimes I'd look forward to the sledge bogging down

so I could get out of the poo stream and run alongside.

Take it up.

Meanwhile, James was breaking out the elevenses.

Chocolate bars.

Ooh, chocolate, yes.

Look, that one is called Big.

I'll have one.Have a Big.

We should say, if you're watching this, this is not gluttony.

We have genuinely been told by our experts that if you are trekking

across the Arctic, you need 5,000 calories a day

so we're only too happy to shove that much in.

I'm not certain

when they told us we needed 5,000 calories a day

that we weren't in a slightly warm car sitting down

but better to be safe.

After our morning snack,

James found my Jesus.

Why have you brought Jesus?

What?Why have you brought Jesus?

The Jesus, I thought, could sit in the car

and guide us in our hours of need if we ever have one.

It's a Jesus action figure.Yes.

There's a map on the back to guide us.To Galilee?

I was now back on the skis and starting to get

the hang of it.

Today, Richard,

you've got to learn how to pee on the move.Pee on the move?Yeah.

Watch out.

I'm not on. Matty!

We, meanwhile, had reached the vast, uninhabited wilderness of Bathurst Island

and we were going, if anything, even faster.

Our lead over Hammond kept getting bigger and bigger.

He's the plucky Brit, and like all plucky Brits, he'll come in second.

But at this point, he had other things on his mind.

Around in this area,

seals make little houses, known locally as aglus,

and they raise their pups in there all warm and safe.

Unless a polar bear smashes its way in

which is what's happened here...obviously.

Oh look,

there's its jaw bone

with some teeth in it

and that's, er, the rest of the bits of seal

the polar bear didn't fancy that day.

Maybe it was full.

I hope it still is.

On Bathurst, we got bogged down in the deepest snow we'd encountered so far.

But it wasn't a problem because the Icelandics had another trick up their sleeves.

They told us to let nearly all the air out of the tyres.

How's that?Brilliant.

We should explain. Four pounds per square inch in the tyres,

we'd normally run with 28 or 30 in the normal road car.

Four makes the tyres almost nearly flat so we're more flobbery,

you have a wider area touching the, um...snow and ice. That's the plan.

Once on firmer ground, we had to put air back in the tyres.

But that was OK because the car had an onboard pump.

If only we'd had a pump for our stupid tent.

HowBLEEPmonstrous is this?

It's beyond... It's not normal.

I was now over 50 miles behind, but Matty had come up with a plan.

We know we haven't got the edge on speed, so we need to use tactics.

This is what we're going to do. It's now about 8pm.

We've run all day. We've made brilliant progress.

We'll put these guys to bed, we've chained them up. They'll have a sleep.

They'll only do so for about three hours,

then we'll get up again and then we can run at night.

The dogs prefer it. They love the colder temperatures, cos they can run faster.

And so, in the early hours of the morning,

when the temperature had dropped to minus 35,

we roused the dogs and ran.

The silence is beautiful.

'Then, suddenly...'

Oh! Oh, no!


I think it caught our scent earlier on in the day,

followed our tracks, but whether or not it's just hanging around,

and picked up the scent now as it comes downwind.

As I was pinned down by the bear, Team G&T were getting away.


I know it's you, you insufferable oaf!

I'm on the bloody throne!

We ate up the miles...

..and discussed how we'd celebrate when we made the Pole.

So, of all the things you could have brought,

champagne, whatever it might be,

you've brought a tin of Spam?


And then we, too, encountered a bear.

Oh, it's got babies!


Not being Attenborough,

I couldn't think of anything else to say!


So we set off and, with a bit of divine guidance...

'I am the vine, you are the branches.

'If a man remains in me, and I in him,

'he will bear much fruit.'

We made it uneaten to the other side of the island.

I mean, look at that.

That's not bad, is it?

Absolutely astonishing.

Can I spoil it for you by...?

I've been running all day, all night,

and now it's day, or night,

and I've got to sleep.

I'm confused.

My body clock's broken.

Our progress was so good, I decided to find out

what Hammond was making such a fuss about.

# Round, round, get around I get around

# Get around Whoo-hoo

# I get around

# I get around Get around, round, round... #

This is brilliant!

# ..I get around... #


MUSIC STOPS Oh, hang on...


Can you bring a car to tow us out?

First time at the wheel, James has managed to put it, basically, into the sea!

That is seawater.

If this car goes through, it's game over.

The car was sinking...

but luckily the Icelandics had another trick up their sleeve -

a bungee rope.

The tow car would set off at a huge speed,

building energy in the elasticated rope,

which would then pull our stricken car gently but firmly out of the slush.

OK, Hal, are you ready?Yes!


It was brilliant.

Thank God for that!

We were free, but for the first time, James and I had real problems.

We'd been warned before we set off

that constant tidal movement weakens the ice where it meets the shore.

They told us not to drive near the coast,

but how do you avoid them

when you're in a fjord?

Look how narrow it is here. It can't be more than a mile, if that.

They say don't go near the coasts...

And we can't NOT go near the coasts. We can't not go near the coasts.

To make things worse, the ice here was perilously thin.


Look, it's just completely covered in cracks.

We're facing a problem.

There is no other way through here.

I mean, that's a cliff. It's a sheer cliff that way.

We cannot go on the land.

If we go back,

the only way we can go is all the way back to Resolute, giving up.

Based on no knowledge at all, we decided to push on

in our three-tonne truck.

It's blue.I know.

Looking at the ocean.I know.

If we went through the ice, our only chance of escape

would be to smash the glass.

See, I don't like the look of that bit.I don't either, but if we go...



This isBLEEPscary.

As it dawned on us

the nearest hospital was 1,500 miles away,

and the nearest rescue helicopter even further than that,

we began to understand the danger of where we were

and what we were doing.

If we go in here, we're dead, aren't we?Yep.

I mean, dead.

It went on like this for mile after mile.

We just drove over here and the whole thing's collapsed.

That's nothing.


Mercifully, though, the ice eventually thickened.

But we were still in all kinds of trouble,

because we knew from pilots who'd flown overhead

we were about to enter a massive ice boulder field,

and we'd been told we wouldn't have a hope of getting through it.

That night, for once, it was James trying to cheer me up.

Tomorrow, we hit the boulder field, OK?Quail's egg?

Ooh, lovely. Got any celery salt?

So we've got a choice.

We can go west, where it's new ice, which is likely to be jaggedy,

or we can go straight on or east, which will be old ice, which is terrifying.Yes.

We'll be down to two miles a DAY going through that way. Pate de foie gras?

I know it's cruel, but I really do like it.

So, which do you prefer?

Or this is a 24-month-old Parmigiano. Stravecchio, in fact.

That should be superb.

Anyway, go on, the ice?We're likely to be down to two miles a DAY.

We have to make this decision. Tomorrow, we should leave fairly early.

What would those salmon eggs go really well with?


a crisp white,

but we can dream...

Like a Chablis, really.

Yes. So, do we get...


No! James!


Look what he's got - wine!

I haven't had any for days!

I knew you'd like that.

A week in Resolute and three days on the ice, and just surviving on only gin!


Over at Team Dog, we were covering good ground

with the night-time running.

But I was getting knackered.

It's weird the way being very tired affects you.

Today, privately, whilst being towed along by the sledge,

I had a little weep.

I haven't done that for years.

And, out here,

the tears cause moisture in your ski goggles,

and it froze on the inside,

so I couldn't see.

So then I had something to cry about!

After just two hours' sleep, though, the dogs were raring to go.


Out, Tamar!

Get out!

Don't touch him. If he's scared, he'll bite anybody.

Today, it would be a killer getting over the mountains,

and Matty's never-ending bonhomie was starting to grate.

Nothing like a couple of hours' sleep to bring your morale up. Hup, hup!


Oh, God, what's he doing?


Where's my tea, Clarkson?

That's from trying to defrost our foie gras.

I put it on the fire and the tin all went manky.

Can you open the fire-lighters?

OK, I'll race you.


I knew we were in for a tough day and was impatient to get going.

Very unfunny!


My iPod has stopped working. My little camera doesn't work.

My radio transmitter for my microphone outside the car doesn't work.

Everything is being ruined by the cold,

and yet the car and everything on it is still working fine.


It is remarkable.

Which was good, because soon it came face to face with this...

This is what we'd been warned about -

a massive boulder field, full of smashed-up blocks of ice,

some the size of houses.

How the hell did nature come up with that?

This is the absolute definition of the chaos theory.

However, as we were 90 miles ahead of Hammond,

and we had no idea about the horrors that lay ahead,

we entered in good spirits.

Look at it! Look at that!

It's all those Star Trek scenes,

you know, in Star Trek, when they land on a hostile planet.

And that's some other...It's that!

Get up, get up, get up!


Pick it up.



The boulder field immediately started to bog us down.

We couldn't drive over the ice blocks.

That's impossible.

And between them were snow drifts 15 feet deep.

Each time we spin the wheels, we sink a little bit more.

Even the Icelandic rocking trick stopped working.


Honestly, James, I can't see the bloody...

This is interesting.Hold it there! Hold it!

God Almighty!

It's very hard work, and very cold, and quite lonely out here.

The boulder field was also a maze. We'd spent hours picking a route...

That way.What?That way.

Then hit a complete dead end.

There has to be another way through here.

Down there, down there.

Then it got even worse.



This is a lump of solid ice,

and another one at the back. The car's sunk in between them.

There's no help, either, because the other two cars are...

I can just see one, the other one's miles away,

and they're both stuck, as well,

so we have to get this out, somehow.

And with each passing minute, Hammond's getting closer.

No, James, it won't do it. It's not going to work.

Oh, that's ice, as well!

It took us three hours to chop ourselves free.

Try that!


This has just crippled us. We've been in here nearly a day.

As we got more and more lost in the ice maze,

we lost all sense of time and distance.

It's four o'clock in the morning. It's a nightmare.

We're just covering inches per hour, literally.

By the time we pitched camp,

we'd been in the boulder field for 20 hours,

and we were only one mile nearer to the Pole.

Come on!

In the meantime, we'd cleared Bathurst Island,

but the brutal pace was starting to fray my temper.

Did you manage to keep it fit?Yeah. I do need a new lead dog, he's...

You can try, but there's nobody else here, and I have a shovel.

I wouldn't.

At one point today, I had to count the dog traces onto the carabina that holds them to the sled.

We untangle the leads, and put them back on.

There are ten, cos there's ten dogs.

It took me three attempts to count to ten.

After two hours' kip, we too were frazzled,

and starting to understand why no-one had ever taken a car to the Pole before.

Agh! Oh, no!

Right...Look at that!I know.

That is on the horizon, and that is still a lump of ice.

That means there's bad ice right out there.

We're gonna be here forever.


But we had to get out, because we had limited fuel, limited food,

and in here, absolutely no chance of rescue.

My dream of a luxury trip to the Pole was in tatters.

My hands are freezing, James.

No, James, it won't do it.

When I got down to the bottom of that slope,

we were back where we were... I know. hour and a half ago. You don't have to remind me.

In eight hours, we went nowhere.


Can you turn the cameras off?Yeah.

We, meanwhile, were cruising up the fjord,

where May had gone through the ice, but we had no worries, sort of.

Oooh! Ooof! Agh!

..because Matty had unleashed her secret weapon.

Good boy! Good boy! Come on! Good boy!

It's a kite. Matty puts it up and skis with it,

that saves weight, motivates the dogs.


Now we're making progress! Now we are making progress! Ha ha!


After two days of going nowhere, Jeremy's patience had snapped.

Uh-oh.Oh my God, what is that?

I think that's the auxiliary fuel tank.

I'll tell you something else... A whole fuel tank has dropped off.

Tell you something else.What?

It smells remarkably like it might be leaking.

Oh, Christ, hang on a minute. James, James, James!

The propshaft is gouged to hell, and the fuel tank is gouged to hell.

How much is in the main tank now?

If we're losing fuel,

we've got to get as much as possible into the other tank.

The miles were tumbling.

We'd managed to pump some of the fuel into the good tank,

but then we hit another problem.

That's what the fuel tank did to the shock absorber when it came off,

so we've had to replace that as well,

and we've now ended up with one full tank,

the standard tank the car comes with, the other one is empty.

Er...crossed fingers, really.

The crash had also ripped a tyre off the rim,

but luckily, our Icelandics had yet another trick up their sleeves.

They filled the tyre with lighter fuel, and...

Great success!

However, we now had barely enough fuel to get to the Pole.

We were still stuck, and then came a call from Team Dog.

In the two days that we'd been trapped, he'd closed us down,

and was now in the boulder field, as well.


The news caused a bit of a row.

Sometimes, James, you have to move fast...

Sometimes, Jeremy, you have to move slowly, for example,

going over the soft snow,

where we've been told there are huge lumps of immobile ice,

which is what's caused that.

We wished we'd paid more attention at the Alpine training camp.

We wished we were fitter. It really was starting to get tough.

And we were both absolutely worn out.

Oh, bloody hell!

We felt certain that Hammond was ahead,

but we had to stop and put the tent up,

and it was a nightmare.

It was minus 42, we were exhausted,

and Reynolds' prediction about falling out was starting to ring true.

Hang on, hang on.Are you in?No.

JustBLEEPput it in!

Just...please, James...Look, I am so unspeakably outraged with you.

Be quick, for once!

You're not even doing this intelligently.

You have to push it through until it goes in the other end.

James, I am dying here. You cannot build a tent by shouting.


That, frankly, is a pathetic effort.

The dogs were also fighting, and Matty dispensed swift discipline.

Get out! Out!

Out! Out! Out! Out!


I need to run 'em for a bit, this is crazy.

They mean the world to her,

but they're not domestic pets.

They're pack animals, and sometimes, she has to remind them who's boss.

With order restored, they blitzed the boulder field,

and soon we were clear.

Look ahead! Look! We've done it! We are out!

Whoo! Come on, guys, let's go!

Meanwhile, we were beginning a third day stuck in the same frozen hell.


Whoa, whoa, whoa. James, James...

What?You're standing on, like, an ice bridge!

Yeah, what's wrong with that? You'll cut yourBLEEParm off!

To try and speed things up,

we'd broken out a chainsaw to cut away the bigger boulders,

and some snow ladders to cross the deeper ravines.

Where I've sawn it off square... James?What?

This bolt's stuck to my lips. Oh, Christ. This bolt's stuck there.

Oh,BLEEP!James, hurry up. Put some coffee in your mouth.

ItBLEEPhurts, man.

Oh, God. Agh!

Agh, it's hot!Put it in there, put it in there.

Shove your face in it. Oh, thank God for that!

Bloody hell!

That's just gonna fall down. It's not, cos I'll dig it in.



Right, better hand me down, Matty, we are in a race.

We need to make good speed on the flat we've got.

Do you know, over the last two days, two and a half days,

our average speed was less than a mile.

I have, um...

Oh! Ow!Do you know what I was about to say?

Do you know what I was about to say?What?I think we're coming to the end of the boulder field.

Look about. What can you NOT see?

I think we have actually got to the edge of the good ice, haven't we?

That's very flat over there.

James, we're out.

We've made i-i-i-i-it!

It's flat!

It's so smooth!

No more going up and down!


It had taken three days of almost non-stop driving,

but this incredible machine had breached what the experts had said

would be an impregnable wall.

It had taken on the impossible... and it had won.

75 miles to the Pole.I know.

And my celebratory tin of Spam.

What if I ate your Spam?

You're not eating my Spam,

unless you want to go home to your wife and children

with the hatchet buried in your head.

We knew that with just 75 miles to go on flat ice,

we could easily overhaul Hammond.

So we decided to treat ourselves to a spot of tenting.

I am never, ever, ever, ever going to complain ever again

about the quality of a hotel,

as long as I get to a hotel and I don't have to actually build it.


"Do you want a room, sir? Certainly.

"Here's some bricks, some mortar, a lavatory seat, some wood, some nails, a hammer,

"some carpet, some glass..." What?

Seat the pole.

'We too knew that the car would reel us in.

'So we kept on going.'

Oh-h! I know I need to get off.

After 90 minutes' sleep,

we pulled down the tent for what would be the last time.

This is what I have to put up with at night -

sleeping next to a six foot sinus

that then wees in a bottle and leaves it for me to clear up.

'A spot of revenge was in order.'



There was another result as well.

We figured out that we must have retaken the lead from Team Dog.


As they struggled on, we tried to rekindle

some of the fun that seemed to have gone missing from our journey.

I spy,

with my little eye, something beginning with...



I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with...S.


I spy, with my little eye...

If it begins with S, I'm going to kill you.

'But then, amazingly, we spotted something beginning with P.'

It's a DC-3.It is.

Or a C-47, strictly.What, because it's the military one?


Imagine surviving that plane crash

and then finding yourself here.

That's a bad deal.

We'd run for 15 hours straight.

Even so, I knew we were going to lose.


You know, we are now the most northern people in the world.

Apart from Michael Parkinson, obviously.

With the Pole just ten miles away,

it really did look like we'd win the race

and be the first people ever to drive there. But then...

It can't be. It can be.It is, mate.

It couldn't be more than a few miles deep, but it didn't need to be,

because if Hammond was anywhere near, we were history.

Come on!

Which way?

James, is it stuck in the snow? It's working.We're side-slipping.


Oh, this is just unreal!

'It took us three hours to do a mile.'

Hold it!

'And then the car beached itself on a block of ice.

'We were desperate.'

Ho over! Gee, gee over. Gee, gee!

Right, Matty, let's make this camp.


Right, let's go!


By that boulder.We can't lose this!

Try that.

'Even though we were on fumes, I threw caution to the wind and went for it.'

Ooh, gosh!

You're gonna bust it.I'm not.

Come on. Come on.

I will not be beaten by a dog.

'At last we were clear.'

James, we're gonna do it!

'All we had to do now was match the known bearings of the Pole with the readout on our satnav.'

Left, left, left.

Where are you?

I expected a sort of shining beam of light coming from the Earth's core.

I'll go in this direction...Yeah.

Are you ready for it? Ready, ready, ready...

Yes!That's it!

It's here!

It's here!



Ooh, bugger!

Matty, I'm off!Where are you?



We're at the North Pole.

You've done it? We've done it. We're here.

The truck got there?Yeah, the truck didn't fall through the ice.

Presumably you're not very far away.No. No...

Sorry, mate, wait. James wants a word. Hang on a sec.

Oh, righto.

Hammond?Yes, mate.

Mate, bad luck.

That was it, really.


Can't be far.

'As James tucked into his ruined Spam,

'we thought a little bit about what we'd actually achieved.'

I'd set out to prove that Polar exploration could be easy.

But it isn't. It's brutal and savage.

The fact is, though,

that two middle-aged men, deeply unfit and mostly drunk,

had made it,

thanks entirely to the incredible machine that took us there.

They'd said we'd never get to the Pole, because of the damage the car has already done to the ice cap.

Perhaps, then, that's what we'd proved most of all, really -

the inconvenient truth is it doesn't appear to have even scratched the surface.