Top Gear (series 21)

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Top Gear (series 21)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of episodes7
Broadcast
Original channelBBC Two
Original run2 February 2014 (2014-02-02) – 16 March 2014 (2014-03-16)
Series chronology
12345678910111213141516171819202122
List of Top Gear episodes
 
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Top Gear (series 21)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of episodes7
Broadcast
Original channelBBC Two
Original run2 February 2014 (2014-02-02) – 16 March 2014 (2014-03-16)
Series chronology
12345678910111213141516171819202122
List of Top Gear episodes

The twenty-first series of British motoring programme Top Gear started airing on BBC Two and BBC Two HD on 2 February 2014,[1] with the usual presenting team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig.[2]

Jeremy Clarkson confirmed on Twitter on 16 September 2013 that he had started filming for Series 21.[3] This series also contains a Top Gear Special, as confirmed on 20 October by Jeremy Clarkson on Twitter: "Well this is it. We are off to make the Top Gear Special. And I have a bad feeling about this mission." The "Christmas" special aired in March 2014 as announced by Jeremy Clarkson on Twitter.[4] On 17 January 2014, a teaser trailer of the new series was released on the BBC's YouTube channel, and across BBC Television.[5]

Episodes[edit]

TotalNo.TitleReviewFeatures/challengesGuestOriginal air dateUK viewers (million)[6]iPlayer requests (million)[7][8]
1611Series 21, Episode 1NoneProve that the hot hatchbacks of their youth were better than their modern equivalents: (Volkswagen Golf Mk2 GTIVauxhall Nova SRiFord Fiesta XR2i)Hugh Bonneville2 February 2014 (2014-02-02)6.123.21

Review: None

News: BMW's new 3-cylinder hybrid, the i8; litter bugs; the new F1 car nose; the new Lexus RC-F; the new Mercedes S-class has thermal imaging; wishing Michael Schumacher a full recovery.

Challenge: The team attempt to prove that the hot hatchbacks of their youth were better than their modern equivalents by buying a 'classic' example of the breed each and then undertaking a series of challenges. Richard purchases a Vauxhall Nova SRi, James buys a Ford Fiesta XR2i and Jeremy buys a Volkswagen Golf Mk2 GTI. Richard blows up his Vauxhall's engine in the second last challenge. James' Fiesta and Jeremy's Golf get destroyed in the last challenge

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Hugh Bonneville from Downton Abbey, driving the Vauxhall Astra Tech Line, who set a time of 1.50.1 in the wet track.
1622Series 21, Episode 2Alfa Romeo 4CGibbs QuadskiMcLaren P1Alfa Romeo 4C vs Gibbs Quadski • James visits Camp Bastion in AfghanistanTom Hiddleston9 February 2014 (2014-02-09)6.972.64

Challenge: Richard Hammond travels to the shores of Lake Como to test drive the new Alfa Romeo 4C. He initially critisices the price due to the fact it has a 4-cylinder engine and that the bonnet cannot be opened, but loves the 4C's speed, handling, engine noise, steering feel and looks. Halfway through his review, Hammond bumps into Clarkson on a quad bike, who has planned a race to a hotel near the bottom of Lake Como. While Hammond takes the lead in the beginning, Clarkson reveals that his quad bike is actually the Gibbs Quadski, and is thus able to travel straight through Lake Como. However, with victory in sight, Clarkson is unable to find the heart to beat the Alfa, and finds a place to hide until Hammond arrives. Back in the studio, Richard finds the Alfa's shoddy interior and width to be disappointing but thinks that the idea of making cars lighter is more suitable for the future as this means that cars will be faster, more nimble and more economical. Clarkson then previews the new McLaren P1 which he describes as "Astonishing".

News: Kia is developing "gesture control"; dumb messages on highway signs; new Corvette Z06 vs. the new Jaguar F-type; Britain is the worst country in the world for filling up with petrol

Feature: James travels to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan to look at some of the military vehicles used by the British Forces and how they are being brought back to the UK.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Tom Hiddleston drove in very wet conditions. He managed a 1.49.9 in the Vauxhall Astra Tech Line.

Review: Jeremy is in the gentle surroundings of Bruges in Belgium to review the McLaren P1. He first drives it around town noting how it has batteries which produce 176bhp and a 3.8l 727bhp twin turbo V8 acting as a generator. He then takes it onto Belgium's lit motorways and describes how through sunshine, rain, traffic and clear stretches, the McLaren was quiet and comfortable yet not well equipped. He then describes how it is lighter than a Vauxhall Astra which makes it economical and "mind-blowingly fast". This brings him to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps where he describes the P1, with a combined output of 903 horsepowers, feels even faster than a Bugatti Veyron. He is also amazed that despite the immense speed, it goes round corners beautifully and how each lap it works on ways of going faster. He concludes the segment saying that McLaren, by using hybrid system to make supercars faster and more exciting, has opened a genuinely new chapter in the history of motoring. Back in the studio Richard points out the new Porsche 918 and the two have a debate upon which is faster by which Jeremy admits that he will change his name to "Jennifer" if the Porsche were to be faster than the McLaren.
1633Series 21, Episode 3Zenvo STITrip through Ukraine in compact hatchbacks: (Volkswagen Up!Ford FiestaDacia Sandero)James Blunt16 February 2014 (2014-02-16)6.872.43

Review: Jeremy begins his review of the Zenvo STI by reflecting on some of Denmark's contributions to the world at large. He then drives it around the Top Gear test track where he finds the speed to be blistering due to the 1,086hp V8. However he questions the fact that one would buy one rather than all other famous Supercars on the market, he also notes the difficult driving dynamics of the car due to the traction control being disengaged in race mode as well as its questionable build quality. After several mishaps involving the rear brakes and the clutch, the car is serviced and returns to the track, only to suffer from a broken cooling fan and catch fire. Back in the Studio James finds the £800,000 price tag to be shocking as its in the same bracket as a McLaren P1 yet the Zenvo isn't even a twelfth a car that the McLaren was. The Stig was able to post a wet lap for the car, nevertheless – a dismal 1:29.9 making it the slowest Exotic Supercar alongside the Alfa Romeo 8C.

News: Hammond previews his test of the new Porsche 918 which will be on a future show and explains how it will beat the McLaren P1, Clarkson disagrees describing how the McLaren is more powerful and lighter but Hammond insists that due to the Porsche's four-wheel drive system it will be faster, May agrees with Hammond and calls Clarkson "Jennifer"; Miranda Hart is to blame for flooding in Britain; the new Lamborghini Huracan which is the replacement for the Gallardo is, although beautiful, bland for a Lambo; Nitrogen Dioxide pollution.

Challenge: The team attempt to prove that small, underpowered hatchbacks geared for fuel efficiency on thin fuel-saving tires can be fun to drive (despite their relative lack of power) by travelling 750 miles from the Livadia Palace in the Crimean Peninsula all the way to the northern border of Ukraine with Belarus. Richard drove the Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost, Jeremy drove the Volkswagen Up!, James drove the Dacia Sandero. The segment reaches its climax with a race to see who can run out of fuel faster on the road between the city of Kiev and the radiation contaminated Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Hammond runs out of fuel just a few miles from the 30-kilometre checkpoint, leaving Clarkson and May to enter the Zone after the rest of the film crew drive back to Kiev. Clarkson runs out of fuel a short distance from the remains of Reactor Number 4, where the radiation indicator exceeded 200 counts per second. May's car running out of fuel isn't shown.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: James Blunt talked about his role as a British Army Captain in the Pristina Airport incident during his deployment in the Kosovo War and his new album. He then drove the Astra in torrential conditions, and achieved a time of 1:49:4.
1644Series 21, Episode 4Mercedes Benz G63 AMG 6x6 • Caterham 160 • Caterham 620R • Alfa Romeo Touring Disco VolanteMercedes Benz G63 AMG 6x6Jack Whitehall23 February 2014 (2014-02-23)6.531.75

Review: James drives the Caterham 620R, which he finds is too powerful. He then drives the least powerful Caterham, the 160, and praises it's ease of control. The 160 and 620R post a time of 1.45.5 and 1.22.3 respectively in wet conditions.

News: The sink-hole in the Corvette Museum; roadway alert sign messages; Madame Tussauds wants to immortalize Jeremy in wax; several fires involving the new Porsche 911 GT3—and a presenter just happens to have one.

Review: Jeremy tests the new Alfa Romeo 8C-based Touring Disco Volante through the Pordoi Pass in northern Italy, the first coach built car since the 1930s. Jeremy adores the fact that it does not feel like an 8C and comments how it is best driven at half speed. He also adores the way the car looks, sounds and feels. He admits that he was initially jealous of Hammond who tested the 4C, which he describes as the Angel Gabriel, but the Disco Volante is more like the Jesus. He concludes by saying that it has the best combination in the world: a Maserati heart, an Alfa Romeo badge, exhausts from Otis Redding, and a coach-built body. Back in the studio, James criticises Clarkson for being a hypocrite, as he had earlier slammed May for liking the slowest Caterham. Jeremy then admits that he would rather drive a Lexus LFA due to its brilliance but arrive somewhere in the Disco Volante due to its beauty.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Jack Whitehall sets a lap time of 1.54.5, becoming the slowest star to drive around the track in the Vauxhall Astra. Prior to this, Whitehall's only driving experience was to once drive his father to the butcher's shop.

Review: Richard travels to the United Arab Emirates in order to review the six-wheeled Mercedes Benz G63 AMG 6x6.
1655Series 21, Episode 5Porsche 918BMW M135iVW Golf GTi Mk7Make a commercial for reducing cycle-related accidentsAaron Paul2 March 2014 (2014-03-02)5.642.32

Review: Jeremy begins his review of three German hot hatchbacks by dismissing the Mercedes A45 AMG as far too expensive, saying that anyone who has an iota of common sense would choose either the BMW M135i or the VW Golf GTi Mk7. He then drives the BMW around the Top Gear test track where he notes the major performance difference between it and the Golf GTI due to its 90hp advantage. He further discusses how 1-Series is the first hatchback in a long time to have rear wheel drive meaning that it can drift beautifully. He feels so confident in the BMW which leads onto a drag race with a shocking outcome where the BMW aquaplanes at 120 mph and spins off for a distance of a quarter mile, while the GTi proceeds to win the race. At this point, Jeremy switches to the Volkswagen establishing that it's cheaper to buy, cheaper to run, cheaper to insure than the BMW. He then describes that despite the major difference in usability, the Golf is no where near boring. Jeremy concludes the segment by saying the Golf was brilliant in every way and the BMW tried to kill him. Hammond disagrees claiming that the only reason the BMW spun out was because of Clarkson driving it. The cars are then handed to the Stig, where the M135i comes in at 1.25.1 while the Golf manages.

News: Controversy behind the Mercedes 6x6 that Hammond drove in the previous episode; Jeremy and James continue to tease Hammond due to the fire issues with the new Porsche 911 GT3; comedy on Scottish independence

Feature: Jeremy and James set out to create a Public Information Film to promote the safety of cyclists in London.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Aaron Paul talked about his role as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad and his role in the upcoming Need for Speed. He then drove the Vauxhall Astra, achieving a time of 1.44.7. His time made him the fastest star in the reasonably priced car beating Brian Johnson of AC/DC by 4-tenths of a second.

Review: Richard heads to the Yas Marina Circuit to review Porsche's new hybrid supercar: the 918 Spyder. He first describes its mind-boggling straight line performance and how like the P1 the 918 is joint strike force of Petrol and Electric motor, he then describes how the noise is spine tingling. Hammond then describes how both cars are similar in performance with the P1 having the higher top speed and more power but the 918 having more torque and faster acceleration. He then describes how unlike the P1 the 918 can retrieve energy by braking, is a convertible and actually has some creature comforts. He then describes how the 918 has four different modes, e-mode, road, sport and race. Upon putting it in Race Mode he talks about the incredible handling capabilities but not being as scary as the P1, which is down to the 918's four wheel drive system and how it still is exciting. He then talks how the 918 has set the fastest record for production cars at the Nurburgring in 6:57. He finally describes how the emissions coming out of it are less than a Toyota Prius. He concluded with the statement that the McLaren P1 had used hybrid technology to liven up the supercar for today's performance enthusiasts, but that the Porsche 918 used hybrid technology not just to liven up the supercar for today, yet to also preserve it for the future in which there will be more stringent emissions and economy regulations. Back in the Studio Jeremy argued that Richard can't talk about the P1 being scary as he hadn't driven a P1 and how the only reason he said it was scary because Jeremy drove the P1 in the wet at Spa whereas Richard drove the 918 in the bone dry at Yas Marina. Clarkson then criticises the 918 having a dribble of power compared to the P1 to which Hammond points out that Clarkson hadn't driven the 918. James finally breaks up the argument previewing that one day in the future, Jeremy will bring the P1 and Richard will bring the 918 down to the track and they will see which is the fastest.
1666"Burma Special, Part 1"NoneBuild a bridge over the River Kwai: (Isuzu TX • Isuzu TX • Hino FB110)None9 March 2014 (2014-03-09)6.293.32
The three presenters are challenged with building a bridge over the River Kwai. The journey starts off with a drive through Burma towards Thailand, where they head off on the wrong road and end up having to go through a mountain pass. Jeremy constantly moans about his Isuzu and saying how rubbish the gear box and the comfort level is. Hammond and James also have problems with their vehicles. In a near by town Jeremy puts bricks into his truck to make it heavier thus improving the ride. James gets stuck in a creek where a local man helps him get out. Jeremy's weight addition ends up slowing his truck eventually causing it to not move at all, he then dumps all the bricks onto the road leaving May and Hammond behind. The three then make modifications to their cars; Jeremy adds blue and white Shelby paint, Mercedes AMG badges on the side, a sleeping compartment, and removes the roof in the cab to make it a convertible "sports lorry". Hammond adds a viewing platform, two tall truck exhausts, a hammock, cooking facilities and a shower. May adds a brake cooling system, lucky animal figures, and a tent which he hangs on his truck's crane. The three presenters have a drag race in the vast, empty streets of Naypyidaw, the capital of Burma, after which they proceed into the Shan State.
1677"Burma Special, Part 2"NoneBuild a bridge over the River Kwai: (Isuzu TX • Isuzu TX • Hino FB110)None16 March 2014 (2014-03-16)7.012.77
After attending a party in the Shan State, the presenters reach what they believe is the River Kwai, where they are challenged with building a bridge over the river, and are not allowed to go home until all three lorries have driven over it. The next morning, they realize the river is wider than they had imagined. James plots a bridge meanwhile Hammond goes into town looking for supplies and Jeremy goes into town looking for food and other workers. Jeremy gets workers and brings back a large crane which eventually fails and tips over destroying a part of the bridge, nearly killing James in the process. Halfway through construction, Jeremy discovers that the river is actually River Kok. In the end the bridge is completed and each of the vehicles are driven over it, completing the challenge. During the end credits, each member of the cast and crew's first name was credited as "Sir Alec", in homage to Sir Alec Guinness, who starred in the movie, The Bridge on the River Kwai.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Transmission – BBC Top Gear Even more trailers for Series 21! We’re back Sunday 2 February, 8pm, BBC Two". Transmission.blogs.topgear.com. 18 January 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  2. ^ TopGear.com (6 August 2013). "Transmission – BBC Top Gear Jeremy, Richard and James on Series 20". transmission.blogs.topgear.com. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Top Gear Series 21 to start on 26 January 2014?". AUSmotive.com. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  4. ^ https://twitter.com/JeremyClarkson/status/414491480016035841
  5. ^ "Top Gear: Series 21 Jeremy Clarkson Teaser Trailer – BBC Two". YouTube. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "Top 30 Programmes". BARB. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "Top 30 Programmes". BBC. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "Top 20 TV episodes". BBC. Retrieved 9 May 2014.