Blog : Top Gear, thanks but no thanks

Keith Adams

Top Gear's India special was a miss...
Top Gear's India special was a miss...

What a shame. ‘What an absolute crying bloody shame, and a missed opportunity’.

It’s all I could think after sitting through 90 minutes of prime-time car-based television adventuring thanks to the ‘boys’, and their increasingly immature, pointless old car antics. For those who didn’t watch (and I suggest you do while it’s still freely available on the BBC’s excellent iPlayer service), the Top Gear trio ventured to India, for some old school car capers – just the sort of thing that we love to do here.

But whereas previous specials were inspired, brilliant edge of the seat entertainment combining humour and drama perfectly, this one seemed tired, uninspired and, well just plain, unoriginal. ‘Jezza’, ‘Captain Slow’ and ‘The Hamster’ (perfect nicknames for a trio trying to pass themselves off as superannuated public schoolboy mischiefs) know how to craft some of the best television known to mankind – but equally, when they get it wrong, it can be truly cringeworthy. And this year’s effort – in the main – was just that. As I said, a bloody shame.

Considering the ‘boys’ were in India for a fortnight, and ended up experiencing the sheer chaotic, downtrodden, vibrant, wonderful magic of this incredible country (something that most of us could only dream about), we never really felt as though we were really there at all. Indians are inquisitive, friendly and downright hospitable people as a whole, but for the most part, the locals that did make it on to the small screen, were just background. And considering that Top Gear  is such a huge success or the BBC there, that really did do them down.

In fact, in an interview for Radio Times, Clarkson said as much, claiming that all three had been touched by the Indians. So how come it never came across that way? Nope, all that we were treated to, as armchair fans, was three middle-aged men cocking around.

Then there were the cars, and obviously their choices were dictated by the premise that they were there representing Great Britain, but once again we were treated to the sight of three perfectly usable classic cars nominally valued at £7000 each – a Mini Cooper, Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and Jaguar XJS – systematically being trashed for no good reason. Where’s the logic in that?

But I guess it give the ‘boys’ another excuse to do ourselves down with the same old cliches (which, thankfully, they did manage to try and address in a half-hearted, predictable way at the end of the programme). No doubt, if nothing else, it opens up another younger generation to the notion that ‘British=Bad’. So, cheers, then.

To me, it was the brainless thuggery in the name of ‘entertainment’ that really rankled. Dumping the air con refrigerant out of the Rolls-Royce was just plain stupid (whether it was staged or not), as were the bizarre modifications to the cars. The way that poor Mini (a beautiful example by the look of what was on screen) had its face torn off – yes, it must have looked funny to some people – was horrible. Then there was the Jaguar. A lovely example, absolutely wrecked. So, cheers, then – again.

And people wonder why we – as a nation – place such little value on old things.

So whereas the South American, USA and Vietnamese adventure specials genuinely came across as being truly arduous, with three friends coming together to truly experience a challenging road trip, this one was flat, seemingly of little point. Other than a couple of brilliant moments (the night drive on the dual carriageway, and the exhaust pipe ‘cricket), it was true car crash television. And time perhaps, that Top Gear needs a bit of a break, and maybe a rethink.

But then, you can’t help but think that as long as millions of people watch it globally, it must be good, right?

Please, then, Top Gear team – play on your strengths. You’re all brilliant – Clarkson is a great writer and true car man, May is sheer class, and the writing and production on the programme is simply world class. You have, and no doubt will continue to, produce extraordinarily good television. Brilliant moments in your history such as the DB9 race to the South of France, the Senna tribute, trip across the USA to New Orleans, are head and shoulders above any other car related TV, and stand alone as brilliant moments. More of this please.

And less of the pointless dossing about that utterly ruined the trip to India.

Pretty please.

Keith Adams


  1. Usually I can see TG for what it is – entertainment – but this episode fell short for me.

    The Mini did look cool on steels though and I did laugh at the sight of the Shadow on Simex jungle tyres… sorry..!

  2. I’m sorry to say that I switched it off after the first hour. What they were doing was more embarrassing than funny and I’m certainly glad that I didn’t see the MINI completely wrecked. Personally, I’d like to see Clarkson move on and give the other two a chance and let’s see an interesting new presenter in JC’s place. Somehow, I don’t see that happening 🙁

  3. Didn’t watch it, so I can’t comment on how good or bad it was. In fact, I stopped watching Top Gear regularly after I saw the BL Special 🙁

    I watched Hill Street Blues on 4oD instead, which is a far more entertaining series 😉

  4. I fell asleep! It was boring and totally uninspired – without going on about the licence payers (our) money – what on earth was it all about? Two weeks of farting about and doing down the UK in India – what must those people thought about it at the party – This is the BEST we have? Rant over – Happy New Year!

  5. Can’t help thinking there’s another big accident waiting to happen – unfurling the banner on a moving train was just plain ridiculous. At least the production crew was more in evidence this time and it looked slightly less staged – not as cringeworthy as when they were in Iraq. Nevertheless, they are becoming a bit cliched/predictable, which is a shame.

  6. Utterly, utterly cringe-worthy. The TG team needs brought down a peg or two.
    The BBC once again, did a fantastic job of belittling the reputation of our great country at a time when National Pride is important.

  7. I agree with you Keith. Top Gear has lost it.
    Although I do like Clarkson & May, the whole format requires changing. Top Gear is less about cars & more about bizarre stunts, week after week. It’s just so boring now.
    I’m not suggesting going back to the original Top Gear format of the 80’s & 90’s, but i do think that the show needs to balance the entertainment with some “serious” content.
    The Senna tribute was brilliant stuff. It was factual & entertaining at the same time. You didn’t need to be a F1 nut to appreciate & understand the brilliance of Senna.

  8. I stopped my DVD-recorder as soon as I heard that big oaf Clarkson say ‘how hard can it be?’. From that moment I just knew they would be making big arses of themselves and the country they try to represent.
    Clarkson can be funny when he doen’t try to, but when he tries he’s like a drunken uncle on a party who thinks he’s funny shouting whilst wearing his underpants on his head…

  9. Sorry to say I switched off early also–TG has lost its way somehow.
    Far more entertaining -and still based in India–is watching the Ice Road Truckers folk tackling the mountain passes of Northern India. Quite mortifying!

  10. Totally agree with all that has been said so far…
    The trashing of perfectly good cars on this show must stop, not only in the interests of preservation, but also in the the name of decency. Many families who pay their TV licence struggle to run 1 car in the current climate, let alone wreck 3 !!

    Clarkson is indeed talented, and in the right format still has a lot to offer. James May is also sublime in his manner and humour. Richard Hammond however is in my view the weak link, and should be put back to local radio where he belongs.

  11. Top Gear no longer qualifies as a must-see for me any more. And I’ve been watching since the 1980s. Well said on the Senna tribute (appallingly cut from the New Zealand first-run broadcast—I kid you not) and the other highlights, all of which show what Top Gear is capable of. A show like this latest one is plain lazy and unimaginative.

  12. Just watched this now and couldnt agree more, by far the worst of these grand tour Christmas specials. Cars and driving where almost incidental, the rest of the time it looked like a bad remake of a Benny Hill show. Truly terrible, the time really has come to call it a day on this format of Top Gear.

  13. it was the straw on the camels back. Put top gear to sleep now sorry. jay leno and a r online r my weekly treats now.

  14. I’ve long thought that while Auntie’s unlikely to cull Top Gear in its current format – aside from it being entertaining, it is one of the Beeb’s most watched shows – there’s definitely a hole that needs plugging when it comes to no-nonsense motoring television.

    One of the highlights of Nineties era Clarkson and May was watching them use their considerable wit and talent being on hot hatches and saloons the viewers could actually afford; stick “Old Top Gear” into YouTube and it’s easy to get reacquainted.

    I don’t know if Mark Thompson reads AROnline but if he is I reckon he’d do well to leave Top Gear as it is, hire some more charismatic petrolheads and stick them on BBC Four.

    Oh, and commission another series of the excellent The Car’s The Star whilst he’s at it.

  15. I have always been a true fan of Top Gear and thought it was a cut above other motoring shows. However last nights challenge made me cringe. The comedy was so obviously staged, they needlessly ruined three great classics and the whole program was dumbed down so much even the brain dead would have found it boring. What a waste of talent.

  16. I always watch TOP GEAR and the ‘specials’ are always a highlight especially the Polar expedition, but i’m afraid this fell way to short.
    Where was the belly laughs and the anticipation all we had was a regular Top Gear episode that had no substance, and a pointless waste of some fine looking cars and waste of license payers £21,000 that the cars allegedly cost.
    So come on TG team SHAME on you all.
    Must do better next time.

  17. The India Special was a disappointment considering that I thought that Series 17 was a real return to form for Top Gear after the dire couple of series before that. Hopefully Series 18 will continue where 17 leaves off.

  18. Never watch Top Gear now… getting sick of all three’s arrogance. All they seem to test are Ferrari’s, Lambo’s and cars of that ilk. What’s needed is a tv programme testing “mundane” cars that the rest of us can buy. Yes the MG6 too!!

    I agree that trashing a Rolls, Mini & Jag is unnecessary vandalsim.

  19. There were a few big laughs, but I think wrecking three lovely cars in the middle of a downturn was a big mistake – it’s one thing to trash some old knacker but a mint Mini Cooper? And no way was there enough material to fill 90 minutes. Could be a turning point for TG’s popularity.

  20. It seems Top Gear has lost a bit of its sparkle!

    I did titter a few times (over the 90 minute duration!) but I winced when the Roller started getting abused as I did when the other motors got a good beating…

    I really do enjoy TG (those 3 chaps are pure class and clearly love cars) and I really hope that some thought and originality can be added to a new series or any other ‘specials’…!

    I’d love to know what became of the ‘back-up’ Allegro as it looked quite tidy…?!

  21. I did not understand the presence of the Allegro. If their budget was £7000 why have a £700 back up car?
    Come on Producers make a good, memorable programme because you want to and not broadcast rubbish like this because of a contractual obligation.

  22. Agree with Aidan

    The Ice Road Truckers on channel 5 showed India in a better light, with real challenges, edge of the seat and laugh out loud moments!

    As much as I hate to jump on the group consensus, Top Gear is getting a little tired. It is still a huge cash cow for BBC Worldwide (see the sheer amount of merchanise in the shops this Christmas? even the model shop had the amphibious cars) and for that reason they wont kill it off soon.

    The format has gotten predictable – powerslide a Ferrari, introduce a new 320i, destroy stuff in a challenge, and brainwash the viewers that British = rubbish, German = best.

    Maybe if Clarkson is sacked as a result of the complaints for the one show comments, TG might get a shakeup.

    Oh, and it was great to see Andy Wilman back in front of camera!

  23. Great piece, Keith.

    Glad so many others were hacked off by the wrecking of the Mini in particular. I made a similar comment on and got slated to the point of being verbally abused by a ‘usual suspect’ on that particular forum. (Seems they like to call themselvs an enthusiasts site but are happy when classics of their chosen marque are trashed in the name of ‘entertainment’).

    As licence payers we should be demanding an end to such wanton waste, but no doubt it makes the BBC money so it wil go on, and on, and on (“Mrs Doyle, get in here!!”)

  24. Oh, no, I missed it because there was a really interesting programme on BBC 4 (yes, really!) about the brain, mirror neurons and joint attention. It was right up my street, very inkeeping with my interest in psychology and educational.

    As an enthusiast of British classic cars, I get the impression I did not miss much of interest on Top Gear then?

  25. I hated to see the Mint Cooper Sportspack trashed especially when I am struggling to sell my slightly jaded identical one for less than half the price 🙂

  26. The mini has just been re-taxed according to the DVLA site, so it looks as though it’s been repaired. It certainly wasn’t beyond repair, dented roof, and a new front end were about all it needed. Couple of days work for a body shop, or a few evenings work for a home restorer. The other two didn’t get off so lightly, with their butchered arches.

    I usually like watching it, so long as you see it as entertainment and not a serious car show it’s fine. Thing is though this ‘special’ wasn’t actually very special, unlike say the drive across south america or driving to the north pole. It would have been much more of a challenge to take the cars up the mountain in standard trim. This was just dull and pointless really. It’s almost like they’re starting to run out of ideas.

  27. massive missed opportunity- agree. Why didn’t those lazy BBC researchers do what they did in the USA and Africa a few years ago and find some interesting local tin? A Standard 2000, Standard Gazelle, or even a Hindustan Ambassador would have been much more interesting. They could still have played the ‘what has Britain ever done for India’ angle. There must be some of those BL exports left alive even in 21st century India, and with a budget of £7,000 each they could certainly have got them running even if barn finds!


  28. I think TG may finally have jumped the shark. The presenters are truly excellent but the India special was self-indulgent nonsense.

    I suspect the best thing to do would be for the team to take a year or two out in order to recharge their batteries and chew over new ideas.

    In the meantime, we have he rapidly improving Top Gear USA to watch!

  29. If the Mini has been re-taxed, what was all the faux-emotion at the end about mounting them on plinths as a tribute…..?

  30. Well said, Keith.

    With hindsight, the warning signs should have been apparent to anyone who saw last year’s ‘special’. The convertibles across the Middle East ‘larks’ certainly left me cold, and this year’s ‘special’ confirmed that something has gone awry with Top Gear.

    I felt that last night’s India ‘special’ was all very forced, cliched and reheated (“oh, lets knacker the aircon in James’ Roller, we haven’t done that since we did it to his Caddy on the USA special”). The rationale behind the choice of cars was rather skewed. Making the best of some automotive detritus bought for buttons is one thing, but trashing perfectly good £7k classics – especially that fabulous Mini Cooper – beggars belief. It’s not big or clever; it’s tantamount to cultural vandalism, especially when there are some genuinely ropey Minis, XJSs and Silver Shadows out there.

    If further confirmation of Top Gear having lost a cog is needed, then compare and contrast more recent series of ‘New’ Top Gear with the early ones repeated ad nauseum on Dave. You’ll see how, over the years, the show has been gradually disappearing up it’s own backside. Yes, even ‘New’ Top Gear was informative (as well as entertaining) once; do you remember? I do. Like I remember how entertaining the USA special, the Africa special, the (first) amphibious car challenge, and the Mallorcan classic car rally all were.

    What’s gone wrong? What factors could have possibly resulted in last night’s travesty? Was there, as has been previously suggested, a whiff of ‘contractual obligation’ about it (in which case, there may be hope yet)? Is it that Top Gear is becoming too obsessed with speed, power and cars that are beyond 99.99% of it’s viewers and so ultimately irrelevant? Is it that not only has Clarkson seemingly become a caricature of himself, but is also revelling in the fact? Is it that Top Gear has simply lost it’s way, or even stalled?

    It may sound a bit Reithian for Clarkson et al, but I reckon it would be great if Top Gear could – once again – INFORM us about cars, EDUCATE us about cars and ENTERTAIN us about cars. The key word here is ‘cars’; Top Gear should be more about cars than cocking about. Recently, and sadly, the reverse seems to be the case.

    Rant over. Anyone put their name down for a Renault Twizy?

  31. So let me get this right, a late Celebration version of the XJS, with I suspect the bullet proof AJ6 development engine (AJ16) and sorted electrics thanks to Ford ownership was dismissed by James May as if it were a Skoda Rapide?
    Absolutely shocking television and interesting to note that the real reason why they travelled by train to their destination might have been due to the fact that the Allegro might have actually showed all three cars up!

  32. I have to agree with this quote:
    “Far more entertaining -and still based in India–is watching the Ice Road Truckers folk tackling the mountain passes of Northern India. Quite mortifying!”

    As said the Mini used has been taxed for another year.

    DVLA Vehicle enquiry
    The enquiry is complete.
    The vehicle details for W61 LJF are:
    Date of Liability 01 12 2012
    Date of First Registration 07 03 2000
    Year of Manufacture 2000
    Cylinder Capacity (cc) 1275cc
    CO2 Emissions Not Available
    Fuel Type PETROL
    Export Marker N
    Vehicle Status SORN Not Due
    Vehicle Colour MULTI-COLOUR

    Perhaps Hammond has added it to his car collection along with ‘Oliver’ his 1963 Opel Kadett from a previous TG special!

  33. I too have enjoyed Top Gear over the years but last nights show was not great, For the first time I was clock watching and thinking how much more of this do I have to watch.
    Such a shame to ruin 3 great classics. I think the format has to change as we seem to get the same time and time again. 3 men 3 cars for a set budget and stupid tasks to carry out
    New ideas are needed guys otherwise Dave might even stop showing repeats.

  34. I too was dissapointed by the India adventure. I had thought that I was innured to the {in character} deliberate nonsensical behaviour of Mr. Clarkson. However, when he began tossing the containers of pre-packaged lunches, normally delivered by the dahliwals, haphazardly into the boot of the Jaguar, well,I turned it off. It was the only thing that I could do.

  35. Well guys now some of you know how it feels to be in the mighty Top Gear’s sights!

    As a Marina owner and member of the owners club (when I remember my renewal – flippin December gas bill!), seeing a perfectly good Marina get a piano dropped on it for a laugh then get ridiculed as a Marina owner on the very next show can grate! When Top Gear decides to take a negative pop at the car you like there isn’t much you can do about it. Even worse the way they portrayed the Morris Marina’s owners club and its members due to some messages posted on a TOP GEAR fan site by non-club members was distressing for many in the club! Then to have Top Gear fan trolls come to the unofficial Morris Marina forum to throw abuse at members and finally have their cars damaged after episodes where a Marina got trashed – in my case a smashed passenger window!

    It ended up with a senior club member writing to the BBC begging for them to stop the vendetta!

    Maybe it comes over as me venting petty frustrations, but it was no fun being at the recieving end of Top Gears abuse and what hurt the most the inference made by them that somehow liking or owning a Marina makes you some sad creepy person! In my case my Marina is a bit of fun as my parents owned one when I was a child in the 80’s I have many happy memories of holidays and trips out, when I got a big enough disposable income I decided to recapture some of those memories. Its certainly not my main transport which is a 2006 Mondeo Titanium X, a model of car that Clarkson rates as one of his all time favorites and I own a 2008 Suzuki GSXR 750 Sportsbike…

    Anyhow just my feelings on the matter.

  36. @ Dennis 32

    I checked too, it actually says “SORN NOT DUE” on DVLA which suggests it’s off the road but not scrapped

  37. Re above, having checked my own taxed cars, their status says “Licence not due” so the Mini in the programme is dfinitely SORN’d.

  38. A real shame. It was too long, and although funny in places, too forced, scripted and hyped. For instance, when the cans fell off the Mini, the road was empty (obviously closed) and people were lining the sides, awaiting a stunt to happen.

    Much different to the show I grew up with and was excited about watching at 8.30pm on a Thursday night on BBC 2. When it’s good it’s very good, but sadly that’s increasingly rare these days.

    And why mess with seemingly excellent examples of old cars? Especially the Mini. I almost couldn’t look and actually said out loud at one point, ‘Please don’t do it’….

  39. Haven’t watched Top Gear for ages, it bores me senseless. I do think it’s time we had a programme that harks back a little to the Top Gear MK1 because there simply arent any shows that review products properly, it might not pull in the viewers that TG(2) does but it never will, that’s no reason not to produce a programme. Afterall how many people tune into “See, Hear” on a sunday morning? and no-one would argue it doesn’t have value. I used to love watching TG(1) when I was younger, you always had at least 4-5 ordinary cars being tested – cars that we can afford. Given the breadth of the car market these days I would have thought there was never a better time to do an updated version of that format again.

  40. My highlight was at the start with new shape XJ whisking David Cameron away from Downing Street. What an absolutely stunning car which at a stroke makes our (uncool) polititions look very cool!

  41. This was just a horror show to watch. Top Gear can and does do excellent TV as was evidenced in the Vietnam special. In that one, you actually learned a bit about the culture of Vietnam and some of the history of the war that made it famous. This thing though felt badly scripted and was very disrespectful to the people of India. I simply could not sit through it, something that has not happened for me since last year’s Christmas special (that I found disrespectful to Christians).

    As for the cars, the ruin of such a fine example of the Mini and a special edition XJ-S was hard to watch. Why not ruin more average versions of these cars instead of ones that many collectors would want to own? I for one hope that the Mini will see a similar fate to the Kadett from the Africa special rather than getting unceremoniously scrapped as no doubt many cars from their exploits have been.

  42. Top Gear needs to ‘get back to basics’ as like in the early 90’s when William Wollard and Chris Goffey would test the likes of ‘the new fiat Tipo’, giving out useful info like MPG and how good the Stereo was. You could even bring back the Tony Mason Ralley report, (although I changed over to TVS and caught a bit of ‘The Equaliser’ when that came on !

  43. TG are feeding the current “Old = worthless” / “British = bad, German = good” mentality that the UK has, that means that anyone with a car over 5 years old, especially not a German car, is looked down upon.
    Indeed it is this mentality that people think it makes it ok to leave a huge dent in such a car in a supermarket car park without leaving such a note!

    mumble grumble. >:(

  44. It was fascinating to see just how intentionally inept they were. They tried to do down British industry, British cuisine and British culture in front of India’s affluent classes for no reason other than fitting in with their cartoonish caricature images.

    At one point, I thought that a genuinely intriguing and informative road trip for the TG presenters would be a re-run of the Carrera Panamerica, but considering their indecipherable hatred of Mexico, that seems unlikely.

  45. I think a lot of the problems with Top Gear lie with Andy Willman himself who is a very good friend of Jeremy Clarkson. Mr Willman may have been credited for ‘rescuing’ Top Gear back in 2002, but it is widely known that he and Jeremy Clarkson seem to be rather dismissive of older (i.e. over ten years old) vehicles built in the Midlands and the skills of those who actually designed, engineered and built these vehicles.

    I still cringe at how they portrayed the Rover SD1 a few years ago (a close-up shot of the car showed it to be needing a restoration, as grey primer was evident) and even the Range Rover.

    So-called ‘entertainment’ it might be seen as by Mr Willman and co., but it does little to inspire the buying public to support British manufacturing jobs once again rather than those linked to a German marque.

    A petrol-head I might be, but sadly I rarely watch Top Gear these days, let alone get tempted by associated merchandise or print publications. All of which makes even more money for Mr Clarkson.

  46. All rather ironic when one looks back at older Top Gear episodes and finds Clarkson almost drooling over models like the 600 and R17 Coupe.
    It was his comments I believe that seriously wounded the Mk5 Escort and it struggled to find its feet for a while after, good for Rover however as the Goffey reviewed R8 rightly and quickly claimed the title as the largest selling new car.

  47. I think I will be getting my coat for this but I actually enjoyed it for it’s stupidity…

    It was a shame that a real nice late XJS Celebration & Mini Cooper got trashed though.

    I’ll get me coat…

  48. Quite embarrassing to watch and must have left a negative impression on the locals whether they be bystanders or the people at the ‘party’. Wrecking 3 good cars must have given the dirt poor bystanders something to think about. I love TG and did watch it through to the end but I agree with the blog whole heartedly.

  49. It was utter nonsense but surely that’s why you tune into Top Gear? It’s entertainment pure and simple. Personally I thought the garden party was hilarious.
    What I didn’t like though was seeing that XJ-S butchered and left on a mountain to rot, and the Rolls Royce wrecked. Breaking the air conditioning was very childish, somebody probably put a lot of effort and money into keeping it working.
    As for the Mini-well I’m not really a big Mini fan but I’m sure somebody could have given that a loving home?
    While we sit here and weep and wail over the destruction of three classics (and rightly so) lets not forget they aren’t making it for us.
    They’re making it for casual car fans, who just like cars and don’t love them. Or people who watch F1 for the crashes.
    It’t not Wheeler Dealers.
    The average viewer would see that Silver Shadow wrecked, and think, “So what? It’s old.”

  50. As a TG/Jezza fan for years, I have noticed as late that I am more drawn to the antics of Mike & Ed rather than the TG crew. The cars are always the draw for me and endless Ferraris, Lambos et al don’t float my boat where as a tired Capri or Rangie does…

    I’ll always watch TG but it isn’t the same as the original format however, as stupid, Sunday night entertainment though, it’s good (certainly leagues better than the TG USA). Along with reruns of Family Guy & American Dad, it makes my weekend viewing…

  51. It broke my heart to see the Mini and the XJS wrecked, both looked fantastic examples of last of the line models. When they turned up in them my heart sank, as I knew what was in store for the cars.

    James May has said before that he’s not comfortable with smashing cars up for no reason, which is probably why he got a Shadow, not the most sought after Rolls Royce and there are plenty of them around (plus it looked like a bit of a tatty one). No doubt he has to dance to Clarkson’s tune.

    The only good bit was where they were driving in Indian traffic and were clearly scared witless. It gave a clue to how the show could have been…

  52. 60 @Isildore

    Me too – I’m a big Wheeler Dealers fan and Ed and Mike are great presenters. It’s entertaining and informative. People who have met Mike and Ed say they are lovely people too.

  53. Wheeler Dealers for the win, except for the fact that when Mike is totting up the sums, he fails to take Ed’s labour into condsideration!

    The Ice Road Truckers gave a greater impression of how chaotic Indian traffic is, with a few crashes in one case a huge mob looked ready to attack the driver, in the other he was placated by 500R (about £6).
    One memorable moment of that series was when Rick and Dave got fed up with an arrogant bus driver, they boxed him in and confronted him!
    Bus drivers it appears were paid based on shortness of time taken, so took ridiculous risks!

  54. I haven’t watched TG for ages.., it’s all the same old hat, oops, I ran into the back of your car, oops I’ve dropped a piano on your car. And all they drive is big fast cars, what happened to testing a car for the so called ‘common man’. Change the format, change the presenters or get rid!!!

  55. “seeing a perfectly good Marina”

    Was there ever such a thing? Actually i have seen a perfectly good marina in Dover, it has boats moored in it.

    “a Shadow, not the most sought after Rolls Royce and there are plenty of them around (plus it looked like a bit of a tatty one)”

    Was it a tatty one? It didn’t look it at the start.

    Still all these complaints about topgear not being a serious car program. It hasn’t been for the past 10 years at least. It’s an ENTERTAINMENT show, and since it took on that format the viewership went through the roof and the BBC have made a fortune exporting the series. I don’t think this ‘special’ was all that entertaining though, it was a bit dull and predictable really.

  56. I must say though, I was very (pleasantly) surprised when nothing happened to that Allegro. Even more surprised that it got up the mountain (if indeed it did and wasn’t towed).

  57. For the first time ever, I switched the programme off before the end. Patronising, pathetic, inbecilic, childish, lacking insight (which some of their previous stunts have provided).

    What was the point? What was the message? Would an American show ridicule American products like TG does? would the French or Germans? I think not. I have a lot of Indian freiends -heaven knows how they felt!

    And yes, Wheeler Dealers is far more interesting. I feel I’ve learned something there, even if it is only that I wish I had a mate like Edd!

  58. I thought the tribute at the end said a lot – never before in their specials had the cars stood up so well to the conditions and the daft attempts to ruin them.

    I think we all wish we had a mate like Edd!

    Wheeler Dealers just gets better, especially as they rejigged the format (More Ed, who now gets to drive the cars and all in 1 episode rather than 2 back to back). Now, I wish they would do a Vauxhall Astra Mk2 GTE…

  59. They don’t take Ed’s labour into account on Wheeler Dealers as it’s based on the fact that you can do most of the repairs yourself, so there would be no labour charges, just the time it takes.

    To anyone who is mourning the loss of that Mini don’t worry, there are still thousands left. Hardly an endangered species. Cars do look good on TV but it probably wasn’t the best example and it must have been rusty, they always are!

  60. Well I enjoyed it..
    Ok they destroyed a few tin boxes, including a beloved mini that I would have adored if given the chance, but still I enjoyed it.

  61. The time of such a kind of TG is over since over many month!
    We laughed about that funny entertainment some years, but today they will produce only rubbish!
    Ther is no information about cars anymore like it was in the early 1990´s.
    A small joke could be funny but telling all the people in the word that cars from GB were the worst cars would not the best way to help the former british car manufacturers.
    Britain has lost nearly all his car manufacturers and if I would see TG we should be happy about that!
    They were talking so bad about Rover that they did not helped Rover selling cars!

  62. TG seems to delight in wrecking people’s memories and fondness of pretty or handsome cars. Okay they are just cars, but they represent our culture and history and an era when cars really were objects of aesthetic joy. The Rolls was a beauty at the start, and to see it trashed in front of India’s poor seemed not only in poor taste but hints at some kind of perverted joy. Sickening entertainment. In fact scrub out ‘entertainment’. TG has lost this viewer for good.

  63. Just to prove that the BBC can make a great programme about motoring in India try to see ‘India on Four Wheels’ from earlier in the year but shown at 11pm over two 1 hour episodes:

    They took a new Indian-made 4WD and an old Hindustan Ambassador and ‘raced’ North to South…….
    “Justin Rowlatt and Anita Rani embark on an epic road trip around India, navigating chaotic cities and rural bywaters to discover how a booming car industry is helping to fuel the country’s massive economic growth. Setting off from Delhi in opposite directions, they have three weeks to reach Chennai in the south, where they will meet up at the centre of India’s car industry, dubbed the Detroit of Asia.”

  64. How to make a fascinating place look irrelevant. Time for TG to re-invent itself again. There is a market for a really good car show on TV, but Tg is no longer a car show. The beeb could do worse than convene a group of AROnline people to produce a brief for a new format.

  65. If you dont like it dont watch it,put the show into context,its a piss-take and if we cant take the piss we may as well slash our wrists or watch fifth gear.

  66. I was in total and utter disgust to destroy one of the last 500 production run of the best car to ever roll from longbridge, I switched off after I saw that complete and utter idiot strap pallets directly to the roof caving in the roof panel in. I later re-tuned to see the bafoons tear the front end off writing the car off but hey it made J C smile thats alright then. Not to mention the abuse they administered on the two other cars why ruin them why not show some real enthusiasm and embrace the motor car and show what it can do instead the the three nursery children who behaved like toddlers breaking toys for there own amusement.
    So from now on its no no never again for top T**TS sorry gear

  67. @79 if it was a traction avant,a DS,a SAAB 96 that was getting damaged id be upset,but as iconic as the original mini is they are still a crap car-ive owned loads great laughs etc but still crap.Look they are a trio of grown-ups twatting around in the most part entertaining us how many of you pissed yourselves when JC did the reliant robin slot?as dennis stated some posts ago the car in question as been re-taxed and so id gather repaired,the RR is a tarts mobile gin palace the jag a bit spivvy what none of them are is a ferrari 250 GTO-they can even afford to drop a piano on a marina every now and again,its just a show,its not malicious is it?

  68. @ Francis Brett. I’d rather have a gin palace rolls than most of the pound land rubbish that dribbles out of show rooms these days. And as for the Spivvy Jag? Spivvy is good, that’s what a Jaaag is all about surely? That’s why I love them! They had (and still do) have a unique charm, and I think spivvy sums it up perfectly. When I finally get my childhood dream XJ40, I’ll take “spivvy” as a compliment!

  69. It is a shame that classic metal was bent, but I (like millions of others) still love Top Gear and find the trio funny and a welcome break from television norm.

    I don’t think it should go back to the days of old – I can pop down to my Ford or Vauxhall dealership to look at Mondeos or Insignias, and read my copy of Auto Express for reviews of run-of-the-mill cars, but Top Gear provides a little bit of escapism and fun, and the opportunity to take a look at some exotic motors I wouldn’t know about otherwise.

    Not to everyone’s taste perhaps, but it’s supplying exactly what the majority of viewers demand, and I was very pleased they didn’t flatten what looked to be a very tidy Allegro.

  70. There are 30 classic Mini Cooper’s for sale on ebay alone right now, all with joke price tags. So how can anyone get upset about one being badly treated? If the someone wants to spend silly money on a car and then wreck it, let them get on with it.

  71. And for anyone who thinks Top Gear should return to its old format, look no further than Fifth Gear. A show that has no where near the budget of Top Gear, and it shows.

  72. @ Francis Brett. Lol, well it’s good to know I’m with good company then! Yes, there’s something about Jaaags of the era. They manage to be lovely, uniquely “British” cars while being a little bit creepy, the tiniest bit camp, slightly, ever so slightly “pimp” and over the top.
    Love ’em to bits!

  73. The car that did make it to the end intact and unmolested was the Allegro! How the thirty year old hydragas units stood up over those rocky tracks I don’t know, but there were two brief shots of it bounding along the mountain passes. I hope, but don’t expect, it will get a positive mention in a future TG show.

  74. @ marinast. The celebration XJS used a four litre straight six, which I think was usurped by the AJ-V8, although it may have remained in production with the X300/X308, I’m not sure.

  75. I thought there were some good bits, i liked the hill climb especially. But nothing on the previous specials,
    It was quite dissapointing because,as said previously, the last series was great.

  76. Well, I watched it too. I thought it would be a good episode – normally the Top Gear boys aren’t the greatest supporters of British cars. Also, my sister is currently in India so this added to the interest for me.

    However, it was almost boring at times. Ninety minutes seemed too long. I remember quite a prolonged period where the cars didn’t feature at all. We only got those three clowning around.

    The programme, especially with ninety minutes to fill, could have included a few interesting snippets about India and the Indians.

    I couldn’t believe that they trashed three seemingly sound modern classics. Who’s cars were they and who gave their permission for them to be wrecked? Presumably, all three had,until recently, been someone’s pride and joy.

    Liked, and was quite surprised by, Clarkson’s praise of the XJS.

  77. I agree, it is getting a bit crap of late, I also refuse to watch the 1 about BL again, where they took a Princess, Rover SD1 & Dolly Sprint and trashed them!!!!!!.

  78. I umderstand that they have just returned from China, hope they didn’t total a Roewe or MG whilst they were there. Presumably, chinese authorities would take a dim view of such antics.

  79. @Paul I love the BL episode of Top Gear. In fact, that episode got me watching Top Gear, and got me into old British cars. And the cars weren’t exactly ‘trashed’. A door fell of a poorly maintained SD1. Big Deal!

  80. As a fan of Top Gear and the team I was very dissapointed with this years effort. It was very lame and not worth any more than 1/2 an hour, maybe the BBC cuts left them with nothing to play with.
    But please don’t moan about the destruction of the Mini. They made millions of them and if you think they should be saved no ones stopping you from saving one. Posting 85 Kev is right.

  81. I was truly delighted I didn’t have to look at poor Indian people on TV at Christmas. There is enough smelly lower classes on my nice 58″ flatscreen Sony during the festive Christmas without having them showing their unwashed faces during the best motoring show on TV. Well done TG on keeping them off my screen.

  82. I think the show has lost it’s charm due to the blatant and crude use of racism in every episode. They should all be sent on a diversity course

  83. “Liked, and was quite surprised by, Clarkson’s praise of the XJS”

    Clarkson was always a big XJS fan back in the day. Shame he had to wreck a really nice Celebration model though.

  84. “But please don’t moan about the destruction of the Mini”

    Point is though they didn’t it’s apparently back on the road in the UK.

  85. @ Dennis 99

    Dennis, it’s SORN’d, not licenced. I mentioned this about 60 posts ago.

    I agree with what someone said on the Scottish Mini Forum, though, the wings gave way a bit too easy. Something anyone who has had to grind spot welds off Mini wings when replacing them will testify to, me included. Seems even this might have been a bit stage managed and prep’d for the cameras. I do seem to recall the wing and A panel separating very cleanly, so maybe most of teh welds were ground down before the stunt (I’m being generous) took place…

  86. “I agree with what someone said on the Scottish Mini Forum, though, the wings gave way a bit too easy. Something anyone who has had to grind spot welds off Mini wings when replacing them will testify to, me included. Seems even this might have been a bit stage managed and prep’d for the cameras. I do seem to recall the wing and A panel separating very cleanly, so maybe most of teh welds were ground down before the stunt (I’m being generous) took place…”

    Yep, I reckon you’re right. The winch is clearly still attached to the front of the car after the damage has occurred and all the metalwork is fine – just the outer panels that peeled off. Definitely a set-up I reckon!

  87. I’m a massive Top Gear fan and love the specials but as the majority have already said – this one left a lot to be desired – I fell asleep half way through!!!! Nuff said!

  88. @ Paul T & Steve Bailey

    unfortunately EVERYTHING on Top Gear is set up / staged, it is all rehearsed and played to a script for our ‘entertainment’. I dont mind this but when they make it so blindingly obvious it comes across as cheap and puts off a lot of us fans.

    Can anyone remember the Audi RS4 v rock climber challenge when Clarkson got to the top and spoke to the rock climbers? the front drivers side window (left hand drive) was up in one shot, down in the next and back up again in the next, obviously filmed more than once and edited together.

  89. Crap column (and haircut) in Performance Car magazine.

    Haven’t watched Top Gear since the first or second episode with Jeremy Clarkson.

    For the next special, they could take him outside and shoot him in front of his family, or run him over with a train, without stopping!

    Poor taste? Look, I’m only joking!

  90. OK so Top Gear is an Entertainment show rather than a car show.

    Pity it wasn’t entertaining then like previous specials have been like Vietnam, Bolivia and USA.

    The simple fact is they have run out of ideas.

    Clarkson is 52 next year so I can’t see him doing TG into his 60’s.

  91. I have seen many episodes in the USA of the UK Top Gear (mainly on the BBC America cable/dish channel). I am a bit tired of their silliness. They were very rude when they did the trip to New Orleans. The Vietnam trip was the best, the African and South American trips also very interesting. We also have on our History channel a USA made version of TG, copying some of the same format, but with some nice tweaks. I wish they would add a woman to the mix of both the UK and USA versions to tone down some of the testorone and silliness.

  92. A tragic waste of some great cars. I used to love Top Gear but am sick and tired of Clarkson and the lads taking the piss and wrecking lovely old cars. The Rolls looked a bit tired but the Jag and the Mini looked in fantastic condition. I still haven’t had the privilege of owning an XJ-S and was truly shocked by May’s comments seeing that in a previous Top Gear a few years ago he had utter praise for the XJ-S. Bring back old Top Gear please. What happend to William Woollard, Is he still alive? Sick to death of fake TV. I could have acted better myself.

  93. “I still haven’t had the privilege of owning an XJ-S and was truly shocked by May’s comments seeing that in a previous Top Gear a few years ago he had utter praise for the XJ-S.”

    80/90’s Jags are known for having duff electrics though. Being stranded in the middle of no where because an ‘electrical box’ has packed up wasn’t uncommon.

  94. All three of them in the Mini would have been better, why a car for each presenter? That’s been done enough times already.

    Certainly the worst edition of Top Gear so far.

  95. The fact that some British Cars got wrecked was the least of the programmes problems. Look at the state of the cars that crossed Botswanna, or the Triumph Herald that was turned into a yacht. Thats what Top Gear has always done. No, it was the the side show antics that ruined it. The ambassadors event, the posters on the side of the train. These contributed nothing to a programme that was supposed to be about a road trip across India. I would cringe if I saw childrens TV presenters doing this, never mind three egotistical middle aged idiots on prime time TV.

  96. Top Gear has been a family favourite for years – but why did a car show need to spend a quarter of the programme coming from a train?

    Nothing against trains – I like trains! But the fact that the explanation that the “producer didn’t want to drive the Allergo” for the required distance is lame to say the least. Why not put the Allergo on the back of a pickup for that part?

    The whole episode seemed rushed and ill-thought out. A waste of excellent cars and a waste of a huge country that could have been explored fully on a proper (and more simple) road trip.

    A wasted opportunity from a show I am still very loyal to.

  97. Wow, 112 comments of plainchant winge. You lot sound like a clone army of Fred Dibnah’s with the joy & charisma removed.
    Why on earth, after the first 30 seconds, did you think the mixture of Clarkson & India was going to be anything else but carry on up the khyber, with cars?
    I find it strange too that while its not ok to savage a rolls, its fine to chop a Merc into something that looks like it should be in Mad Max. Or that its ok to do cringeworthy things like a moped blaring “born in the usa” in ‘nam – its suddenly not ok in India where we, the UK, have arguably done more damage. India probably dont trade with us, they had 200 years to find out what assholes we really are!
    Oh and less of the ‘holy Mini, mother of god’ guff please. So what if its the last of its type. So what if the previous owner loved it like her pet poodle. Its the car that started the slow writhing agonising death of BL/whatever theyre calling it this week, ably assisted by Maxi, Allegro, Montego Maestro and many others. Whats the betting you wouldnt have whined so much if hamster had demolished an Armstrong Siddeley 346 (assuming you know what one is) which is a whole lot rarer.
    To the various Marina addicts. Personally I dont mind them, I always liked the look of the Coupe. But alot of people dont, for different reasons. Yobs probably wouldnt know the difference between a Marina and anything else. Also, insurance… And not parking the poor thing where the Cameron Jugend can get a bead on it?
    When I had my Sceptres I got smiles, remenicences, and curiousity (the starting handle was always a draw). When I got the SD1, groans, memories of being broken down, and how the old boss had endless problems with his one. People have long memories, and even being scrupulously fair BL made more Gaspode-esque scratty mongrels than it ever managed greyhounds. Even the good ones were indifferently built in the majority.
    Heres a thought, if you dont like it, dont watch it. The majority of viewers dont care about the minutia of the subject. And lets be fair, painting cars gastroenteritis brown doesnt help the cause much – if a dinosaur with the runs dropped a steamer on your drive, you’d be hard pressed to tell which was the car.
    Theres a good reason, by the way, why people think British Built is crap.

    Its called 30 years of BL.

    The really depressing thing, is it dragged Jaguar, RR, Bentley & others with it. All tarred with the same brush.

    So you’ll forgive me if I say that ripping a Mini’s face off and stoving its skull in dont bother me. You’d need to beat the crap out of every BL product for the 30 years to make up for what BL did to the UK car industry.

  98. Thank you for putting my thoughts into words. I set aside 90 mins to watch the India Special and was so disappointed. Making Britain look rubbish just for a joke is stupid.
    The banner stunt on the train was just another waste of time – I still can’t believe they had the whole of India and three amazing cars to play with yet the best they could come up with was a puerile “muff” joke. Again.
    The thing that really annoyed me was that I would love to own any of those cars. I’ve saved up twice in the last 5 years to buy a Mini and an XJ-S but uncertain economic times have put paid to such things yet here are 3 idiots purposefully destroying superb examples of both cars AND a Roller. Bad timing, not big, not clever, and about time these crass idiots just grew up.
    Gosh, 2 days after seeing it and I’m still that angry!
    If anyone’s wondering, give me £7k, a few hotels and a camera and I’ll do much better! Hint!

  99. Jemma 114

    I normally admire your views, but to say the Mini was a catalyst in the decline of BL is, to put it in the politest term I can think of, utter bollocks.

    If you’re going to make ‘controversial’ statements for effect, at least make sure they are accurate ones.

  100. Top Gear is usually top entertainment and one of the best-made programmes on television. It’s why it’s one of Britain’s best exports.
    But this was so obviously so staged and scripted that it lost it.
    On the 17-mile journey to the train station in Mumbai (or Bombay as they called it) they just happened to have a camera on the corner where Hammond lost his the cans of food from the roof.
    The planning etc for the train’s advertising hoardings was long in the process. Just to get it just right for the jokes.
    May telling the camera that he was lying about the air conditioning because he didn’t want the others to fiddle with it.
    And then . . . guess what?
    When he ‘got stuck’ on the platform (with at least one cameraman).
    OK, we know that TG stages so much of its stuff and has done so for some time. But this was so obvious throughout the whole thing it has now “jumped the shark” as mentioned above.
    The Botswana, South American and Vietnam specials were brilliant. The Indian one was not.
    And, of course, the real question all of US want to know the answer to is how well the Allegro coped.

  101. @ Jemma.
    I agree with what you are saying to an extent. Carry on up The Khyber with cars summed it up perfectly.
    But I don’t think that “Born in the USA” stunt was acceptable.

    While I think some people are blowing the destruction of the Mini out of proportion a little bit, the problem for me is that I sat there thinking, “Why?”. Just destruction for destruction’s sake. Its silly, childish and downright stupid.
    And I do agree with you on BL. While they did make some good products, a lot of the stuff they made was well…rubbish. I still wouldn’t want to see any BL car destroyed, but there’s no way of dressing up the fact, that frankly, many of them weren’t very good. But there’s no need for all the hating.

    I don’t remember that Mad Max Merc though. What did he do to it?

  102. @ Frankie 119

    I remember the car Jemma is talking about but not sure what special it was on. Might have been the Bolivia one but that would just be a guess.

    I’m not saying BL were perfect, but to lump the Mini in with the Maxi, Allegro etc was total nonsense. Like the Isetta to BMW, if it hadn’t been for the Mini BL could have sunk into oblivion, taking Longbridge with it, long before it did.

  103. Yes I agree the Topgear Indian trip was a bit flat also looked staged and scripted. At the end I was expecting the allegro to go over the edge the mountain road just to rub it in but I guess they needed to get back home in.
    The one thing Im not looking forward being back to work is one of the guys yapping in my ear how great it was because he really is a big fan of the show.

  104. well i think im with jemma 100% given the fact the mini was sold at a loss just indicates the malaise with bmc/blmc.

  105. @ Paul T. Ah yes she may be getting it mixed up with James May’s car on the Africa special. Clarkson had a Range Power on the Bolivia trip.

    Yes agreed, while I’m not really a huge Mini fan, I know a good design when I see it. I’m not saying that all other BL cars were bad designs, in fact most of them were pretty good, but the Mini worked best of all in the real world.

  106. I would be interested to know what happened to that white Allegro. I sold my old Gold Allegro to a guy in Oxfordshire, when his hire transport came to pick mine up, that white Allegro was on his trailer. He put them both up on e-bay, my Gold one is still there as it needs an engine rebuild and he is asking too much for it. I can confirm the white Allegro was very tidy from what I could see and apparently ran very well!!

  107. On every car forum, you are reading almost carbon copies of this. Thanks but no thanks BBC. I personally think James will be leaving the show soon, as that public school bully boy is just becoming intolerable.

  108. @ Marty B. Well it wouldn’t surprise me because James May has quite a following, and has proved he’s more than capable of making solo programmes.

  109. I watched this with my family – viewers of soaps, dubious reality TV, CBBC and things featuring Shane Ritchie – They LOVED IT!

    Get over it! It has long ceased to be a Car show, occasionally we get a bonus all car Top Gear, but these episodes to hate are funding them. Anyway see what the indigenous car enthusiasts made of it:


  110. @Andrew

    Agree. And disagree. I know it’s entertainment, not a car show. I look forward to these road trips. I really do.

    My objection with the India programme is that, ultimately, it wasn’t actually that entertaining – especially compared with some of the previous specials that ran to this format.

    It could have been so much better, and that’s my main objection. Also, if they wanted to show the viewers some real adversity, why not just take a trio of £300 shitters, and get them across India, rather than buying three cars that most of us could never afford? Insensitive and misjudging of the current climate…

    Sorry. But it was a miss. And it seems I am a long way from being alone in that view 🙂

  111. At the end of the day all the ingredients were there – Maybe the production team, and editing suite boys (not the three clowns) need the kicking?

    Unfortunately todays social media spoils us, the world is just too accessible these days, hell nobody mentioned a live Tata Nano 1 million rupee special on prime time T.V. yet.

  112. Top Gear sunk to a new low. Those guys have become complacent and think that we’re happy to sit through an hour and a half of utter rubbish.

    There’s a whole load of scope for producing a BRILLIANT program on cars in India; local Ambis, Maharajahs’ Rolls-Royces, the local road safety culture, new F1 circuit….

    All they could do was mess around, vandalise cars and host some stupid cringe-worthy reception.

    Not even worth repeating on Dave.

    The Three Men in a Boat visit to New England showed how this genre of TV should be produced.

  113. @H Jones

    the door which fell off the SD1 was unbolted for effect, not because it was not maintained correctly.

  114. Glad to read this article on aronline, as it echoes my thoughts exactly. A very poor effort this year which was frankly boring. I found myself scanning the internet on my phone about 30 mins in, not something that usually happens when I’m watching TG.

    Destroying the cars was in poor taste in the current economic climate, aside from the fact that many car enthusiasts would kill for an example of any of these three.

    Totally agree with other messages on here that the Ice Road Truckers programme on C5 was far better than this.

    They need some more of the innovative ideas that made the programme so popular in the first place. And they need to remember how to act like car enthusiasts rather than three rich idiots messing about.

  115. i had read this thread before i watched the “special” last night and thought that it couldnt possibly be that bad could it?

    well yes it could and it was! utter drivel and i say that as a huge fan of TG, oh well cant get them all right but maybe this explains how it was hidden away midweek and not on tonight(Sun)

    would have been better off watching wheeler dealer repeats lol

  116. Andrew Elphick, how can you blame the production team for this tripe on my TV screen during the Christmas period. Those 3 racist men went out of their way to embaress the Indian people and their country in an attempt to make humorous TV viewing for us. Jeremy has already upset me greatly before Christmas with his comments that he would like to kill me and my fellow public servant workers. I had to take 2 days off due to stress after hearing those comments. He really is the most horrible of creatures on my TV screen

  117. Jeremy Clarkson at the ambassador’s reception by a Corby Trouser press in his underwear aged him to the point where he resembled an old fart with memory loss, waiting to be told that his dinner was ready at Shady Acres Retirement Home. He is coming across as a beligerant pensioner especially after his recent on air rant regarding striking public sector workers. Complete and utter nonsense. I understand this is entertainment, and I had high hopes for this episode, but it was like watching Last of the Summer Wine; three old blokes pointlessly larking about. When did May and Hammond become Compo and Cleggy? I don’t want this to come across as ageist and apologies if it does but I think you all understand my point.

    The old challenges used to be awe inspiring and aspirational. Whether racing a bob sleigh against a rally car or indeed the DB9 train race, 612 Scaglietti vs plane, and SLR to Oslo race.

    Indeed I have been enjoying TG USA on iPlayer recently which feels more like old (new) Top Gear.

    As a real classic car nut, and complete old Mini aficionado
    , I found it painful to see the three cars wantonly trashed and abused for entertainment. The Mini they all commented on how clean and wonderful it was at the beginnings introductions. It is one thing to buy cars for £1,000, tired and bangered, and trash them. But £7,000 bought wonderfully examples that should have quite rightly been cherished.

  118. MayfairPlayer,

    Indeed it was racist, albeit in a rather patronising than explicit way. It just felt dated in it’s humour.

  119. [135
    MayfairPlayer – January 2, 2012

    Jeremy has already upset me greatly before Christmas with his comments that he would like to kill me and my fellow public servant workers. I had to take 2 days off due to stress after hearing those comments. He really is the most horrible of creatures on my TV screen]

    Pop over to Macdroitwich any time you need a few months off.

  120. Is it an anti racism forum? I don’t think I’ll need a few months off for a year or two now. I’m just back a couple of weeks from my six month sabbatical but thanks for the offer. Regarding top gear, I also cannot understand why more people aren’t happy that such old inefficient dirty cars have been removed from our roads to be replaced hopefully with some small efficient and clean cars like the 107

  121. MayfairPlayer, Mcdroitwich is for you lol.
    What you must understand is that all of that program was scripted, from driving the cars to meeting the people in the party and riding on the train with banners, nearly everyone was in on the making of the program and yes that included the Indian people that they met. Also the BBC will have had to have permission to film in the country and permission to film on the train.
    But the difference with this special was it looked very scripted and not very funny unlike previous specials.

  122. @135 im with JC on the public sector thing,i used to be in it myself and it was full of lead swingers in the local council at least-people off six months on sick for”stress”-my arse,and miraculously,after six months they would be back-only because they were on half pay after the six months,try that in the private sector you would be pissed off up the road.Zero sympathy for people whom abuse the system and the people whom created should be shot.why everyome becomes a mard arse after a joke is beyond me-thats why we are the joke of the world.

  123. Running diversity courses is very stressful I’ll have you know. And I looked at the macdroitwich forum after the invite and I have to say it is very upsetting to learn there is a whole BL community out there in need of one of my very stressful diversity courses

  124. Dear MayfairPlayer.
    What you fail to realise, calling cars like Jaguars “Dirty” is the majority of them are driven at most twise a week. With fuel prices as high as they are I know I could not afford to drive mine much more than that.
    Most of the time I drive a Toyota hatchback.
    Cars like Jaguars aren’t given much of a chance to pollute thease days.


  125. diversity? another growth industry like elf and safety and the thought police,im live and let live,if someone says hello there,ill say the same back regardles of thier origin or should that be the pc version-heritage?im quite sure the left leaning caring sharing BBC cleared the show for being non racist so im satisfied about that.Isnt it funny how racism gets mooted when some folk dont have the capacity to understand a pissing entertainment show so if some folk dont agrre with your trendy diverse views they are racist?let it go pal its a show,dont watch it in future it was hardly hosted by bernard manning or nick one needs diversity courses they need to learn respect for fellow man-unless they are thieving gipsy bastards whom resect no one.

  126. But you seem to take issue with the diverse range of opinions being expressed by a person who has become tired with the three racist bigots on top gear who just drive around in very polluting cars

  127. Who said they are racist bigots?what are you on about,look mayflower its a tv show-would you put your tin hat on if we get the”you english”its a show about cars and boys and dicking around,plain and simple,we tend to talk about cars on here i gather so I take it is not a platform for political correctness,gee whizz you do diversity training,good for you I’m sure its fruitful and you may make a few quid out of it.I’m all for diverse opines on this forum like the next man,!but I do get a tad irritated when some UAF cheerleader starts going on,write to the equality commision if you are upset,don’t pull the race card on here its cars

  128. @149 I forgot to add it only takes 16 oil tankers on our seas running on bunker fuel to cause more pollution than ever car on earth combined.

  129. @ MayfairPlayer
    “But you seem to take issue with the diverse range of opinions being expressed by a person who has become tired with the three racist bigots on top gear who just drive around in very polluting cars”

    Ok, I know this wasn’t a discussion I was involved in but I couldn’t help but comment.
    Part of excepting diversity surely means accepting and respecting the opinions of others. You’re certainly not respecting the opinions of the AROnline readers.
    You don’t like big polluting old cars? Honestly, I have no problem with that so why should you have a problem with us if we like them?
    If everybody had the same ideas and beliefs, wouldn’t the world be really, really dull?
    I’m not having a go at you, I’m just saying chillax mate.
    And take a ride in a Jaguar XJ-S. You might just see what all the fuss is about and why we love them ;-).

  130. No thank you,the refusal still stands,tell me do you have a superiority complex?how you deduce I’m angry is beyond me,I disagree robustly that there was any racism or bigotry(always the blanket description of fools)I don’t recall seeing a 8 page spread in the gaurdian about racism or bigotry being shown on top gear,what would you prefer?daddy bear and daddy bear ream the arse out of a prius on top gear civil ceromonies special?its just a show.

  131. Disappointed to see comments about public sector workers in this thread, Clarkson is a middle class public school boy bully, and it is this persona that he has used to drive the current incarnation of Top Gear forward. I believe Stig was used in a derogatory fashion in his former school.

    Best advice, is not to watch or switch off if offended, as BEEB makes too much money out of TG to change the format.

  132. My advice is have broad shoulders and forget about about what jc says after all,its only done for effect.As for the public sector-ambualance civil defence etc I doff my cap,I despise the lazy bastards whom always go on the “pat and mick”for “stress”,my girlfriend is a matron of medicine and manages 100+ people,rotas,complaints,a stroke and rehab ward and when she is on call is working a solid 24 hours for 88p an hour extra and has never had a days sick.yet someone goes on sick for two days because JC has a joke on tv?this is why we are renowned as wankers the world over because of soft arses and our forefathers fought for this?

  133. Like other BBC “personalities” the three stooges of the worst of the car world are as funny and bright as a load of nuclear waste. And the problem is what to do with them. Clarkson, Republican President of wherever, the other two, maybe advisers to David Decameron, de Sheik of de Burning Sands. Pffft!

  134. JC maybe wearing a bit thin,but it will never stop me watching top gear,remember the slot he did on senna?a fine piece indeed,so he is capable of good journalism even after the alfa episode he cast a sensible reflection on it-friendship etc and the relationship with the cars.In any case im not tossed about the india programme as halfway through i had to prepare the salmon and spinach roulade,and with some of the bleatings on here about how stressful it was i wish sometimes this country would get nuked with us all in it what next?oh dear my toe cheese doesnt smell right ill have 20 weeks off work for anxiety and stress.
    As you can tell its got boring so i have to take the micky now-god help those when a real crisis occurs.

  135. So, if some or all of the three presenters were replaced, who would you replace them with?

    Ed China.
    James May.
    Harry Hill.

  136. I don’t have a problem with Top Gear as such, maybe this one hit a nerve with me because of the Mini.

    Despite his alleged disdain for MG Rover cars, he gave the ZT 260 a fairly glowing report when he tested it and didn’t say anything negative about anything we didn’t already acknowledge.

    Entertainment it is, but it needs a rest as it is getting a bit tired.

  137. @ Keith Adams. Here, here. I think you and Mike Humble should present Top Gear with James May 🙂

  138. With his recent views on the public sector strikes, Jeremy Clarkson is never far from controversy.

    Now, he’s firmly back in the public spotlight again after it was revealed in the Telegraph today how much he earned from Top Gear last year.

    Accounts filed at Companies House showed that thanks to a complex deal with the BBC, he has netted a £1.79m profit.

    His annual windfall is thanks to an agreement with BBC Worldwide to ensure he benefits from the motoring show being shown in 198 different countries as well as the spin-off DVDs, merchandise and live shows.

    The TV presenter, who is on an estimated £350,000 BBC contract, has reportedly cashed in on a lucrative deal with bosses, allowing him to make money from merchandising and overseas sales bearing the Top Gear brand. His earnings from Top Gear now total £2.14m.

    This venture was set up in 2006, when Clarkson apparently threatened to quit unless he was given a bigger financial investment to stay.

  139. @168 so what?he co owns the production company as well,it was not that long ago that johnothan ross was commanding upwards of £4 million in his contract and i never heard anyone question that with vigour,put it into context,JC buffoons about while ross has a laugh about folding someones grand-daughter in half and doing her over the settee with cohort russel brand-which was more vulgar?This needs putting to bed now,clarkson works for his money wether he is worth it is open to conjecture.

  140. @Frankie the 75 nut – January 6, 2012
    “@ Keith Adams. Here, here. I think you and Mike Humble should present Top Gear with James May”

    That gets my vote!

  141. Defending Top Gear, it’s not true that they hate British cars, the Range Rover has consistently been their favourite car and they really liked the Evoque. It can’t be denied that British cars of a certain era (70s to 90s) WERE less reliable than most of their rivals, and the comments about the Shadow weren’t that it’s unreliable, but that it’s so complicated you wouldn’t be able to fix it by the side of the road.

    Watching Hammond in the Mini, most viewers would be thinking that he was having a great time and enjoying himself in a great car, and Clarkson really enjoyed the XJS (until the rather pointless butchering). I don’t enjoy decent cars getting trashed, but the cost is a pinprick, £21000 would get you 10 minutes of costume drama, if that.

    The problem with the episode, was that it was predictable, not very funny and not very interesting. As someone else said, it was a bit too Last of the Summer Wine, with 3 men pratting around. The original concept was flawed, and the whole programme seemed a bit lame as a result, with the predictable gags. If they’d raced across India in local transport (Ambassador, nano, Suzuki Alto) without all the trouser press and trade fair rubbish, it might have made a much better programme, as the scenery at the end was stunning.

  142. Yes, Compo, Clegg and Foggy in India. That works, maybe they can adopt the LOTSW concept for the upcoming series, as at least two of them have Yorkshire connections.

  143. It wasn’t the best special the Top Gear crew have done… but it was still entertaining television in parts. It is after all, difficult to better what has already hit the top. It does appear that for every new episode of Top Gear – the critics – many of whom have submitted their remarks here on ARonline – use it as an opportunity to slate it. This is becoming very tiresome, to excuse a pun. Let them get on producing it – they won’t always get it right but there are plenty more years of Top Gear to come. I think many of Keith Adams comments are extremely fair about this particular episode.

  144. And on tonights Top Gear…

    Keith Adams gets to grips with the new BMW MINI

    James May tries his hand at car valeting

    While over in the workshop, Mike Humble gets an ageing Ital running using just 10 fags and a strong cup of tea!

  145. I hope high time for BBC and its 3 idiot arses realize it now.
    They insulted their country and culture. Indians respected them and once again they did east india company dead.
    What if they show 2011 london riots in top gear – that will be real bull shit for 3 idiots.

    I completely lost respect for BBC and its country for lifetime and gona teach the same to young generation abt bbc its county and its 3 idiots.

  146. Top Gear has some qualities, not sure what they are, certainly not anything to do with road testing of cars unless they are £100K plus. Clarkson and co should call it a day the show is past its sell by date.

  147. Anyone saying TG is entertainment must have a juvenile view of things. They support this farce of a motoring show while Clarkson laughs at them all the way to the bank.
    Stopped watching it long ago.

  148. the reviewer is clearly a sad tit with nothing better to do than run people down, your not the only one and your site sucks.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Top Gear Christmas Special 2011 Mini in Mumbai - Page 6 - totalMINI Forums
  2. [17x07] December 28th, 2011 [India Special] - Page 16

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