Top Gear is a British motoring program. This page chiefly concerns the show as it has existed since its 2002 restart and the hijinks of its three presenters and their "Tame Racing Driver", The Stig.
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[the first voiceover intro] Clarkson: This... is a car programme. There will be no cushions, there will be no rag-rolling, no-one will sing, and at the end of the series, no-one will have a recording contract. This is our new base, and this is our purpose-built test track. There are no traffic jams here, ooh... apart from this one, and no bus-lanes either. This... is Top Gear!
[During the Harry Enfield interview] Clarkson: Oh, look! Here, there's a magazine, the "Convertible Correspondents" for the Vauxall Cavalier Convertible Owner's Club. You were... Enfield: What a great name. Clarkson: I know! You appeared in this, and this is my favorite bit, under "Famous Owners". "An Occasional Feature" — they haven't been able to find anyone since you got one — and you said it was like ... it was "better than a BMW". Enfield: Did I? Clarkson: Yeah. Enfield: Well, I think it is, it's better than a BMW. Yes. Clarkson: Which bit of it did you think was better than a BMW? Enfield: Well, I think I thought it ... the price was better than a BMW. [Laughter.] Clarkson: Fair point!
Hammond: [rattling around in a Bowler Wildcat] Aahaha! What a feeling! I AM A DRIVING GOD!! [laughing]
[During the interview] Anne Robinson: I'd never buy a red car. Don't you think, actually, anyone who has ever owned a red Ferrari is a plonker? [Laughter. Beat.] Jeremy Clarkson: Do you know, I don't, actually... Robinson: I mean, you wouldn't dream of it, would you, Jeremy? Clarkson:I wouldn't dream of such a thing.
[May has driven and reviewed his boyhood 'bedroom wall poster' car, the Lamborghini Countach, and come away disappointed that it is uncomfortable to drive and impossible to park] Clarkson: So you're a shattered man.. May: That's my youth, gone. Clarkson: And I've got even worse news for you. [holds up the other bedroom wall poster option May had mentioned: the Tennis Girl poster] May: Oh no. Do not tell me that that's a ladyboy. Clarkson: Her name is Stephen. Stephen. [May turns away and covers his ears, to sympathetic laughter from the audience]
[discussing the Renault Megane CC and the Peugeot 307 CC] Hammond: [voiceover] So just why are these cars so modern-Britain? Well, for one thing, they are achingly fashionable, inside and out, with designer touches everywhere. Hammond: Look at that: the brushed aluminium on matte black effect. That's perfection to a bloke, that is. I'd have all my clothes in brushed aluminium on matte black if I could.
[after the ultimately-negative review] Clarkson: So if I were to say to you: okay, I'm going to shave your poodle... Hammond: Right. Clarkson: ...unless you tell me which one you'd have. [Hammond gets a pained expression.] Clarkson: Which one, or the poodle's bald. Hammond: Bring on the razor, mate, I'm afraid. Clarkson: Really? Okay, fair enough, there's your answer...
[at a tuned car meet] Jeremy: This cruising thing. What's it about? Young Man: What's it about? Jeremy: Yeah. Young Man: It's about flexing, man. Jeremy: It's about what? Young Man: Flexing, like. Having a good time, you know. Jeremy:Flexing? Young Man: Yeah, yeah. [crowd of young people laughs at Jeremy's incomprehension] Jeremy: What the *bleep* are you on about? [appeals to the crowd] What is flexing? Another Young Man:Flexing meanswinding, basically. Jeremy: It means winding. I'm none the wiser! We're flexing, we're winding...does anybody here speak English? Does anybody speak English here? Third Young Man: Showing off. Jeremy:Showing off! This man speaks English! [crowd applauds] Flexing and winding means showing off.
[the lads are doing challenges in cars bought for less than £100] Clarkson: [reading] "Each of you must drive your car into a wall at 30 mph. You lose 10 points if you're killed, 5 points for each broken bone, and 1 point for each blood injury." Hammond: Right. That sounds-... Clarkson: I'm feeling quite relaxed, actually. Hammond: With your Volvo. Clarkson: With my Volvo. Hammond: By contrast, with my Rover made entirely of rust, I'm feeling a bit scared. [to May, who is looking unhappy] James, are you all right? May: Have a crash? On purpose?
May: [about to crash his Audi] Well... It's been good. I met Jodie Kidd... and Stephen Fry.
[May has hit the wall and is now slumped over in his seat] Clarkson: Yes, he's dead, so that's ten points away there! And if you want a job on Top Gear, please write to: Top Gear— Hammond: No, no wait, look! He's coming 'round! Clarkson: He is! He lives! Hammond: He's alive! [beat] That's not ten points off though. Blast.
[During the track car reviews, discussing the Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale] Clarkson: I honestly cannot believe this car. It is so balanced, so delicate, so poised! And you have all the passion and the soul, and all this noise! And at six thousand three hundred rpm, the second stage of the exhaust kicks in and rrrruuuhh! you're off again!
[During the news, discussing the 245 mph Koenigegg CCR.] Clarkson: The problem we're going to have with that ... is obviously we're going to have to get it here and try it out, is our track is not big enough. There are only, I think, three places in the world where you can drive a car at that speed: Nardo - it's a test track in southern Italy ... Fort Stockton, in Texas ... Hammond: And the M50 heading to Ross. [Laughter.] Clarkson: But only at night. Hammond: Oh, yes. Clarkson: Don't do it at day, they'll catch you. Hammond: That would be silly. Clarkson: That would be stupid if you did it during the day, you know, it would be ridiculous. Ah, what's next?
James: Bill Bryson. Well, I think that man is a danger, frankly. If there is one thing I can't stand it's beardy, sanctimonious, patronising Americans in tartan trousers coming to England and trying to persuade us to turn into a museum. He wants the East End for the cheeky Cockney chaps pushing wheelbarrows full of eels and he wants northernists to be industrialists with big braces and blokes dying of consumption — "Good morning Bill, I've got the consumption, it's tradition alright". I say Bill, if you're watching — OK, now you won't be watching because we're not talking about steam engines or longboats or bear-baiting — but if you've happened to tune in by mistake: we're not interested in your views of stupid Americans who come over here with their big video cameras saying "Gee, I love your history, it's just so old". SOD OFF! [massive round of applause]
[the £1500 Porsche challenges] Clarkson: For the first time today, I have no warning light on the dashboard. All is well. Apart from, you know, the rear windscreen wiper and the electric window and the electric door mirrors and the stereo and the clock. And the air conditioning. And the speedometer and the milometer. And the piston ring that's eating the engine. [beat] And the big smoke coming out of the back. Everything's fine.
[the presenters have been told to write personal ads mentioning their cars, with points awarded for each reply] May: "41-year-old man with sensitive hair" [May is interrupted at this point by Clarkson and the audience's reaction but resumes] "drives Porsche 944 luxe, seeks brewery heiress or similar, must have liberal attitude to motorcycle components in the bath."
Hammond: "Porsche 924 owner"... got it in first... "good looking, mild mannered, snappy dresser, 5'11''.." Clarkson: Whaat?! "Five foot eleven"? May: "Mild mannered"? Hammond: It's a Lonely Hearts ad! If I put "angry short bloke," I won't get any replies!
Clarkson: My ad: "Porsche 928 driver — that's the V8 one"... Hammond: Did you actually put, "that's the V8 one"? Clarkson: Yes, right there, "that's the V8 one". Hammond: You actually did, ah. Clarkson: "Tall, slim hips, likes books with speedboats on the cover, would like to meet someone for friendship, maybe more." Hammond: Can I just point out: do you know where he put that ad? He put that in the "Men Seeking Men" column. [laughter]
[Hammond is taking part in a bobsled run] Hammond: I don't want to die in tights!!!
[the car (Clarkson) vs. public transportation (Hammond and May) race to Verbier, Switzerland] Hammond: Well, this is just super tense now, because we've got another ten minutes or so on this train to get to — it's on this map - Le Chable - and then from there we're - how long, it's a.. May: Fifteen minutes on the bus. Hammond: Yeah, and then it's a.. Hammond/May: ..ten minute walk. Hammond: You do know we've got that walk at the end. May: Yep. "Walk." Hammond: Now, if y- May: —unless I see him. Then I will run on television.
The Trio has chained themselves to a bus, in a mock eco protest May: "What do we want??" Clarkson: "A Range Rover!!!" May: "When do we want it??" Hammond: "As soon as we can arrange easy financing!!" The other two joins in agreement
Hammond: [driving a rough-handling strip with a bucket of water in his lap] Oh... this is like being old. Aah!
[during the "Italian Mid-Engined Supercars For Less Than A Second-Hand Mondeo Challenge"] Hammond: ...and so far we've learnt that James's Lamborghini is rubbish, Jeremy's Maserati is slow, and my Ferrari is... Clarkson: Is not a Ferrari. Hammond: It is! Clarkson: It is not a Ferrari — teeth, be quiet! Hammond: It — I — It is a— Clarkson: Let's get back to the action!
May: Right, now the battery is discharging, the oil temperature is very high, the oil pressure is very low, the engine temperature is off the end of the scale, I'm running out of petrol, but the clock is correct.
[the lads are trying to make a Renault Espace into a convertible] Hammond: [to Clarkson] You've done this before, anyway. Clarkson: Yes I have. It didn't go well. Hammond: How "not well"? Clarkson: Well, I took the roof off and then the whole car split in half. Hammond: Y'see, that's very "not well" indeed.
[after Hammond loses the car vs. jet-powered kayak challenge] Clarkson: Very important message there ... somewhere. Anyway, it's time to move on...
[the presenters are trying to assemble a Caterham 7 kit car before Stig can drive a factory-built Caterham 7 from London to their workshop in Scotland] Clarkson: [to the camera while May looks through the tool cabinet] All he's done, all morning.. he files. He takes stuff out and then puts it back and files it where it's supposed to be. JAAMES!! May: What? Clarkson: STOP FILING! May: [losing patience] I'm looking for the sodding socket thing that you need to take that out. Do you know where it is? Do you know where it is? Clarkson: No! No! May: Do you know what it looks like? Clarkson: Yes! May: No, you don't!
Clarkson: [tightening a bolt, monotone] Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Boring. Boring. [Hammond attempts to open a plastic bag with his teeth] Dull. Tedious. Annoying. Back-ache. Arm-ache. [Hammond continues trying to open the bag] Cramp. Miserable. Hate. James. Hate. James.
[Discussing the accident Hammond had in the Vampire dragster - after viewing the footage shot of the successful runs.] Hammond: We weren't trying to set records, I just wanted to go really, really fast. Clarkson: So you did 314 [mph]? Hammond: Yeah. Clarkson: And you wanted to know what it was like to go really fast? Hammond: Yeah. Clarkson: So you'd found out. Why didn't you just get into your car and go home? [Hammond looks sheepish.] Hammond: I don't know really. The thing is, that run that you just saw, that was at 5 o'clock, and we had the runway until 5:30, and... [general laughter.]
[during the news] Hammond: [to May] Hey.. you can tell Kristin Scott Thomas is coming into the studio as a guest today. May: How? Hammond: [pointing at Clarkson] He's wearing a suit! Look at him. Clarkson: [unconvincingly] All my jeans are in the wash. Hammond: Oh, really. All of a sudden — 92 programs we've done, you've been in jeans. Now today when Kristin's coming in, they're all mucky. May: I thought he was going for a job interview. Clarkson: [trying to continue with the show] This Maserati— May: [to Hammond] He's had his hair cut as well.. Clarkson: I have had my hair cut, because it was too long. May: Last week I had mine cut and you said having your hair cut on a studio day was "gay." Clarkson: I said you should spend more than £4 on a haircut, James, that's what I actually said. May: So why didn't you? Clarkson: Shut up!
[during the news] May: Now, you know that new law about kids under 4'5", they have to use a booster seat in the car.. Clarkson: [pointing at Hammond] He does. Hammond: Yes, alright. May: all right, people under 4'5" have to use a booster seat in the car. But in North Yorkshire, the police say they cannot enforce that law, d'you know why? They do not have the- [starts to laugh but resumes] They do not have the legal— [bursts out laughing] Clarkson: I can't wait for this now. "The legal.."? May: [continuing with difficulty] Because they do not have the legal right to measure children! Hammond: So, just measuring- May: So if you see a policeman measuring your children, you think 'Quick, call the-uh. Oh.' [Clarkson and audience laugh] Hammond: So they'll have to do what they usually do then and just put up some new sort of camera by the road, to monitor... children in cars to make sure they— Clarkson: No, no, no you can't video children. You ever been to a school sports day? You have to ask every parent there before you're allowed to take the camera out of the boot. Hammond: Well, go to your own kids' sports day, maybe they'll let you do it. [audience laughs and applauds] Might be best.
[after spinning the Golf GTI W12 repeatedly trying to navigate the corners] Clarkson [narrating]: An hour later, I reckoned I was getting somewhere. Clarkson [in the car, through gritted teeth]: Calm ... calm ... calm ... calm ... yes ... [the car spins again] Clarkson: [Sound Effect Bleep]
[later in the studio, after Clarkson and May have both panned the car] May: Even so, we must now see how quickly it can crash on our track, and for that we need our tame racing driver. Clarkson: Yeah. Some say that his scrotum has its own small gravity field, and that because our producer rigged a phone vote, he now has a new name. All we know is, he's called Cuddles.
Hammond: [introducing a car] It is the new Lamborghini Reventón. Clarkson: [correcting his pronunciation] Rebentón. Hammond: No, it's Reventón. [they briefly squabble over how to pronounce the Spanish 'v' ] Hammond: Anyway, it has a 6.5L V12. Clarkson: B12. Hammond: Yep, whatever. It can do 2... Clarkson: Whateber. Hammond: Please stop, stop that, it's very annoying. It can do 212 miles per.. Clarkson: Bery annoying. Hammond: Leave it!! [they discuss features of the car, including its terrifying £800,000 price tag] Clarkson: [concluding] But with this, you would get a lot of "badge". Hammond: [confused] "Badge"? [comprehension dawns] Oh! v- No! No no no. Clarkson: I think I got away with that.
[during the showing of Simon Cowell's lap] Clarkson: Right, now flat from now on? ...flat? Cowell: Yeah? Clarkson: And still flat through the tires? [video cuts to inside the car] Cowell: [to the in-car camera] That's how you do it, Jeremy. Clarkson: I know! I drive round here all the time!
[later, after Cowell's time is revealed] Jeremy: And Gordon Ramsaynote whose time Cowell had just beaten has just committed suicide. Cowell: Well, to be fair to Gordon Ramsay, he's fat.
[at the start of the race across London] Hammond: We need a third person. Someone who has never used a train or a bus, someone who has never known the misery. Luckily, here on Top Gear, we have such a person. [two researchers wheel The Stig in on a handcart]
[after the race across London during morning rush hour] Hammond: Watching the film, you get the impression that the car arrived fifteen minutes after everyone else. Now, if I remember rightly, when I got there, James, you were already there and had been for ages. Clarkson: He was. And do you know something else as well: I distinctly remember my boat blew up and I was killed. Hammond: Yes, yes. Clarkson: You don't get that sense watching the film. Hammond: Doesn't come through. May: I'm glad you've said that, because I'm sure I remember cruising straight past Hammond with his head stuck in some railings. Hammond: That happened, that did happen. Clarkson: And actually, do you know what, London doesn't have a river, so I couldn't have used a boat. So there you go: What Top Gear, which is a trusted, factual program, has proved, is that despite what you've just seen in that stupid and misleading film, the car was the fastest. Hammond: Yes! May: And the best. Clarkson: And the best, and as a result of that we will be back next week with more facts.
[the British Leyland challenge. James May has just set a dismal lap time in an Austin Princess] Clarkson: [to Hammond] Are you going to break it to him, or shall I? [as May pulls up] He must know.. Hammond: He must feel it. He can't feel that went well. May: [cheerfully] So? Hammond: He feels it went well.
[tallying the scores at the end of the British Leyland challenge] Clarkson: Now, the water test. May: Yeah, now this, we got 20p for every yard you covered — you did 1,500 yards, so... Hammond: Uh.. Clarkson: That's, um... May: It's £300, you half-wit. Clarkson: I was just— It was right on the tip of my tongue. [updates the scoreboard] May: I did 4,500 yards, which I think you'll find is £900. [May basks in the audience's adulation while Clarkson writes the number down] May: And you did ten yards. Hammond: [helpfully] That's two pounds!
[Hammond has bought a white Suzuki Vitara for the police cars challenge, to much mockery from Clarkson and May] Hammond: [voiceover] It really was time for a challenge. Hammond: We don't yet know what we've gotta do. Clarkson: Well if it's "Go to Brighton and pose undercover in gay clubs," you're right there already. [Clarkson and May laugh] Clarkson: [accepting the usual golden envelope] We've got a challenge here, boys. Hammond: Please don't let it have the word "Brighton" in it...
Hammond: [watching Clarkson doing a fast lap in his customized police cruiser] I hear a lot of noise, but not a lot of movement. It's very much like Jeremy, that car.
[Clarkson reviews the Mercedes-Benz AMG63 CLK (Black)] Clarkson: [voiceover] In fact, this car is so fast and so mad it was even delivered with a warning letter from the people who made it. Clarkson: I've been road-testing cars nearly twenty-five years now and that has never happened before, but I've got it here [holds up letter] and it says, "Ensure the oil is warm before driving enthusiastically." [looks guilty] Well, it will be now. "The car is savage. It's very aggressive and racy in its setup"— this is Mercedes themselves. "On anything other than dry roads it is extremely lively, quite tail happy even under partial throttle. The traction control must stay on." Sounds dangerous. [grins happily]
[Clarkson and May are doing challenges in their own classic luxury limousines: a 1963 Mercedes Benz 600 Grosser (colored green) and a 1972 Rolls Royce Corniche, respectively] Clarkson: [standing in front of the Mercedes' boot] Are you ready for this? May: [bored] Yes... [Clarkson pushes a button and the boot lid closes] May: That's brilliant actually, I have to concede that, because what I've always found really difficult is this. [opens and closes the boot lid of his Rolls-Royce easily]
[back in the studio] Clarkson: There is only one way we can settle this. [pointing to a board with two lists of names] So what I've got here is a list of famous people who in the past have owned a Ford Zephyr with a chrome nose [May's Corniche]: Elton John, Liberace, Dick Emery.. remember, [Camp Gay voice] "Ooh, you are awful, but I like you.." ... and James May. ...What do they all have in common? May: What you're trying to say is that because I've got a Corniche, I must, by association, have a wardrobe full of spangly jumpsuits, is that it? Clarkson: That's it, yes, spangly jumpsuit man! May: Right, okay, fair enough. [points to the second, much longer list of names on the board] Let's have a look at the Big's famous former owners. They are— Hammond: Is Max Mosley on that list? May: No, it's worse! Look: [Idi] Amin, [Leonard] Brezhnev, [Nicolae] Ceausescu, [Marshal] Tito, [Enver] Hoxha, [Saddam] Hussein, [Fidel] Castro, [F W de] Klerk, Hirohito, [Pol] Pot, [Mao Tse] Tung, and Elvis Presley. Clarkson: An impressive list. May: It is an impressive list, but if your theory is correct, that means you're either going to murder millions of people, or you're going to die on the bog trying to get five hundred cheeseburgers out of your poo chute. [audience laughs] Clarkson: So, really, it comes down to a simple choice: Camp— May: —or Camp Kommandant.
[after the presenters have tried, and mostly failed, to get their trailers hitched to their lorries] Clarkson: If a lorry driver can do that, why isn't he a brain surgeon? [beat] Hammond: Scale.
[Hammond's cargo (an unsecured car) has fallen out of the back of his lorry in transit...but he doesn't know that yet] Hammond: I'll be honest... I don't.. I think, like the headlamps, taillamps— 'cause I heard a clunk at that end and then a clunk at that end and then a lot more clunks and then it stopped and got smoother and smoother. Headlights are gonna be smashed to bits... I daren't look... [bracing himself as May looks inside] Yes I know. It's bad, I'm sorry. May: [calmly] It's worse than that.
[after a brief cut to Clarkson, we see Hammond and May looking in the empty trailer] Hammond: Is that bad for my points? May: [with the tone of one stating the obvious] Yeah. But more to the point, where is it? Hammond: [grimacing guiltily] Don't know...
[later, when Clarkson shows up (with his trailer in flames)]: Clarkson: This is totally ... so anyway, how was your car? [May and Hammond exchange glances] May: Car's... Hammond: [interrupting] Stolen! That's what it is, I've just thought of it now: stolen. The damnedest thing.
[Clarkson is attempting to do a hill start in his lorry. His drum kit is behind the trailer, where he will hit it if he rolls too far back] May: On the drums, Jeremy Clarkson.......'s lorry. Hammond: Very much 'on the drums' Clarkson: [to the camera] I'm very fond of my drum kit. Hammond: Drum roll.... backwards down the hill!
[during the news, regarding the Megane R26.R] Hammond: How did you arrive at wanting that? May: Because I like it. Clarkson: Look, James... let me put it to you this way. You would have to have literally no penis at all to buy a car like that. May: How do you work that out? Clarkson: Well, because we're always being told that the flashness of your car is inversely proportionate to the size ... is this right, am I talking sense here, girls? So the larger the man's car, the flasher it is, the vegetable ... thing goes on. May: Is that right? Clarkson: Yeah. May: And you're saying that to a man with a 1.2 liter Fiat Panda. [laughter] May: Mr. Swollen-Wheel-Arches-Mercedes-CLK-Black. Hammond: He has a point there, he does... Clarkson:You've got a Ford Mustang. Hammond:Let's move on. [laughter]
[introducing the main segment] May: What we have down here is a selection of American muscle cars. Now the recipe for this for this sort of thing was always very simple: massive engine; crude, simple suspension; very low price; and finally, [gesturing to a Dodge Challenger] some orange paint. Now, this sort of thing never really caught on in the civilized world and we thought that what with petrol prices being so high now, they'd have died out in America as well. Hammond: However, in the last few months three brand-new American muscle cars have arrived. So we thought we best pop over to the States and find out if they're any good. Clarkson: Unfortunately, there was a problem. You see, we all have visas which allow us to go to America and make a factual documentary. But, since our last trip over there when I might have accidentally put a cow on the roof of my car, the American — the U.S. State Department no less — has decided Top Gear is actually now an entertainment show. May: And unfortunately that requires a different type of visa and we didn't have time to go and get one. So, in the end we were only allowed in to the country if we promised — this isn't a lie is it? Clarkson: No, this is absolutely, hand on heart... Hammond: This is for real. May: —if we promised not to be entertaining.
Clarkson: [commenting on his Corvette] The Ferrari is made by craftsmen in Maranello. This is made by two fat blokes in Kentucky. [later, flying along a winding backroad in Nevada] Clarkson: Well done, fat man from Kentucky! This is a masterpiece!
[after meeting their target times during the Bonnevile Salt Flats Speed Week event] Clarkson: We've all done it! We were ambitious... and for the first time ever, successful! May: Aaand— Hammond: We've never been good at anything before. May: [triumphantly] ...we've been factual!
[James May has gone to Finland to learn some rally racing skills from Formula 1 legend Mika Häkkinen] May: I wondered if I might be, in some way, a bit Finnish myself. I don't like noisy people, so does that make me Finnish, d'you think? Häkkinen: Yes. May: At home, I quite like to have the spanners in my toolbox in order of size so that I can always find the right one — is that quite Finnish? Häkkinen: Yes it is, very much. Personally that's what I do, if you're talking about the toolbox, and everything has to be very organized. May: I quite like to have the air vents on my car all pointing the same way, exactly. Is that Finnish? Häkkinen: Uhh.. [uncomfortable pause] No.
May: [driving in an amateur weekend rally race] I've passed the BMW. That was an overtake! On a Finnish person! She's only twelve, but that's not the point..
[during the car-tuning challenge] Clarkson [narrating]: With our weight-shedding completed, I went to ask James about his suspension...which was a mistake. May: The springs are stiffer and the dampers can be adjusted so that the rate of compression and rebound changes. That helps, if you alter that very very finely, you can keep the tire in contact with the road more of the time. The instant the weight goes off or the tire bounces up, you lose grip, which will lower your cornering speed, and we know that cars are faster wh-[Clarkson starts to walk away] You asked!
[May is doing his first power-test of a supercar: the Pagani Zonda F Roadster] May: [voiceover] I think I know what to do at this point. May: POWWEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRR!!
[James May introduces the XSR 48 powerboat with all its advanced features, then Hammond walks up] Hammond: James, this boat is from the future. May: Yes. Hammond: But you're from 1948...
[James May is steering the XSR 48 powerboat along the Riviera in a race against Hammond in a Ferrari Daytona] May [voiceover]: On the water, I had no time for Hammond's misty-eyed Mills-and-Boonery. May: Old towns just racing by. I know exactly what's going on in Richard Hammond's mind: he's got a romantic vision of, I don't know, Sophia Loren and the Shah of Persia and all those people. But it's different now, this place is full of Puffy Dad and New York Hilton. This is the modern way to do it.
[Clarkson and May race two Communist-built cars against a Western car and a dog to see which is slowest] Clarkson: Fast as you can. Don't cheat. May: [incredulous] Why would I need to cheat?
Clarkson: Guys! Problem! May: What? Clarkson: I've shoved my anarchy flag through my water lilo! Hammond: Nobody's ever said that before.
[during a challenge to park a car quietly in the early hours of the morning] Hammond: Course the interesting thing is to speculate what James would have been out doing until late as a teenager. How long does choir practice go on?
[James May has just crashed into a bunch of shopping carts in front of three teenage girls] Hammond: And they're hot for James May right now! [Clarkson laughs]
[The hosts are protesting the recent bad economy and the bad cars as a result] May: Acceleration not nationalization! Of the banks. Although obviously it's easy to make a creditable case for state ownership of other industries such as utilities. Jeremy: 2, 4, 6, 8, Jacqui Smith's husband likes to mast- ...I can't do that one. note A reference to the then-current parliamentary expenses scandal; Jacqui Smith's husband had been caught claiming pornography on his expenses.
May: And now, the news! And we begin the news with the new Lamborghini — here it is — and that has been named after their recently retired chief test driver, Valentino Balboni. Hammond: Bet they wouldn't have called it after him if he'd been named Ken Shufflebottom. May: Actually, their new chief test driver is called Max Venturi. Hammond: No, he's not, obviously. May: No, he is! Clarkson [almost simultaneously]: He is, he really is! That's his real name! Hammond: No, he's not really called Max Ven... Clarkson: He is... Hammond [raising his voice]: Nobody outside of a comic strip is called "Max Venturi, Lamborghini Tester"! Clarkson [authoritatively]: You don't need a driving license to be a Lamborghini test driver - you just turn up for the interview, go, "Look, I'm awfully sorry, I'm drunk and I'm mad, but I'm called 'Velociraptor Clint-Thrust'." "Right, you start on Monday!" [general laughter]
[During the discussion on the new Jaguar XJ] James: Come on! Nobody gives a pig’s arse about all that diesel stuff. (Crowd Laughs) It’s the new XJ; the important question is “Is it a proper Jag?” Jeremy: Now what you mean is “Is this car slightly caddish?” Is that what you actually mean? James:(nods) Yes. Jeremy: Is the person who drives it a bit... um, what’s the word? Im not quite sure how to sum it up, but it’s the sort of person who would go away for a weekend with his wife to a hotel, to some romantic place, and spends the entire night... flirting outrageusly with the waitress. And it’s okay because he’s got a Jaaaaag. (Everyone laughs) Richard: That’s the Jag driver; he’d get away with anything! (Changes tone) I’m terribly sorry, I ran over your dog. (Whimpers) ...in my Jaaaaag. (Crowd laughs) James: Is it fair to say? Do you think that no Jaaaaag driver is ever entirely trustworthy, but it’s in a really nice likeable way? Jeremy: Yes! If you would go to a prison, forget the sort of "stabbists", and you know the stranglers. The ones who are in there for a bit of Tax Dodging... (Richard Laughs) James: Yeah. Jeremy:(faces the crowd behind him) I bet eighty percent have got Jaaaaags.(Crowd laughs) You know what I mean now? (Turns to someone in the audience) Jeremy: You got a Jag? Who here’s got a Jag? (Stands up then points at someone who responded) You got a Jag? Look at him! (Audience laughs) Richard: Yup, he’s a Jag driver. Jeremy: He goes away with a sort of girl for a weekend, and then goes... “Awfully sorry...” Richard: ... bit of an issue with the wallet. Jeremy: “Would you mind awfully settling this while I go warm up the Jaaaaag?” ————-
[during the news, the lads discuss the discontinued Honda FR-V, which has a 3-by-3 seating arrangement] Clarkson: The worst thing about this was that when it came out, we all got suckered into it and thought, "Yeah, three in the front and three in the back, it makes sense," but it doesn't. Hammond: I've got two daughters, so if I've got one in the front between me and my wife, that leaves one girl in the back all on her own, so you're just going to have a massive argument every time you go near it. Clarkson: Exactly. That's the big— Hammond: It's not going to work. May: Actually, that's not the worst bit about those six-seater cars, 'cause it could be worse if you had your wife in the front and both daughters, and you sat in the back. Clarkson: (groans) May: But you do see that occasionally, you see the mother in the front and then there's a bloke sitting in the back seat— Hammond: On his own. May: —and there's nothing more pitiable. Clarkson: It's tragic. Hammond: It's pathetic. Clarkson: It's the most pitiable sight you can see. Hammond: Oh God, it's awful. May: She's effectively saying, "You've given me the baby, now get in the back." Hammond: Yeah. (beat) Clarkson: (Roars with laugher, nearly falls off his chair. General laughter from audience.) May: Wh— No.
Clarkson: [driving through the countryside, intercut with shots of flying clouds, beautiful but wistful music mingling with the sound of a well-tuned V12] Weeeellll, it's an Aston Martin Vantage with a V12 engine... so what do you think it's going to be like? It is fantastic. It's wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. [voiceover] What it makes me feel, though, is sad. [aloud]I just can't help thinking that, thanks to all sorts of things: the environment, the economy, problems in the Middle East, the relentless War on Speed, cars like this will soon be consigned to the history books. I just have this horrible, dreadful feeling that what I'm driving here is an ending. [to the camera] Goodnight. [credits roll]
[During the Romania tour] Clarkson: [voiceover] Meanwhile, Hammond's Ferrari had decided all on its own to make a telephone call. Computer voice: Selected. Calling: Vernon Kay now. Hammond: What? Vernon- Computer voice: Is this correct? Hammond: Why are you calling Vernon Kay? [sound of call being placed] Hammond: Why are you doing that? Kay: Hello? Hammond: Vernon? Kay: Who are you? Hammond: [awkwardly] Hello mate, it's Richard Hammond.
Clarkson: [washing his face at a water fountain] Ah, cool, clean, communist water. [notices a small, stray puppy and startles] JEEZ! [awkward pause] Clarkson: ...I could buy that for Hammond, that'll be his present.
[during the news] Clarkson: [to May, on Porsche's new "doppelkupplungsgetriebe" gearbox] Do you know what that means? You speak German. May: I do. Clarkson: What's the only German you can say? May: "Aber ja, natürlich Hans ist nass, er steht unter dem Wasserfall." Clarkson: What's that mean? May: "Naturally Hans is wet, he's standing under a waterfall." [audience laughs] Hammond: Oookay. May: I use it all the time.
[in Romania, making their way along a narrow country lane] Hammond: Do we know that this is the right way? Clarkson: Ah, sorry, Hammond I'm just following May. Hammond: You do know what you've just said, don't you?
[Later, when being mobbed by children trying to leave a village] Clarkson: We wanted to hit James over the head with a hammer, but the kids beat us to it. May: [being hit by a child with a rubber hammer] Ow, ow, ow...
[the lads have built an electric car and submitted it to a car review magazine for testing] Clarkson: [looking through an advance copy of Autocar magazine] Where is it where is it where is it here we go. [lengthy silence, in which the presenters look increasingly dismayed by what they read] Hammond: Um.... it says in the "Ride and handling" section where they deal with things like the chassis, that "to all intents and purposes the Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust has no ride or handling as such." They said it "lurches around almost uncontrollably." Clarkson: Oh God Almighty.. no, it gets worse. Listen to this, okay: They say that in the highway code they say the stopping distance from 70 mph is 215 feet, but our car stopping from 30 mph took five hundred and six— 549 feet. Hammond: [indignant] Well, who's really going to do that in the real world? Clarkson: It's ridiculous. May: "The styling is unlikely to win fans among those of us blessed with the gift of sight." Hammond: Bastards! May: What do people who review cars actually know? Clarkson: Exactly. May: I mean, think about it for a minute: the car turns up, it's delivered, it's free, they haven't had to invest any money or time or any of that; they just drive it around for a bit, then they— Clarkson: [scornfully] Car reviewers, hmph.. May: —write rubbish! Hammond: Anybody can criticize. Try making something and then reading things like: "Try to regain front end grip by braking and the fronts will simply lock, at which point you will crash." That could hurt sales!
[Clarkson and Hammond are doing a special in defense of Lancia] Clarkson: [riding with Hammond in a Lancia which is slowly losing pieces of the bodywork] You need to define greatness, and that's the important thing. And just because something's unreliable doesn't mean it isn't great. Stephen Hawkings... great bloke, even though a lot of him doesn't work. Hammond: Yeah. [polite pause] I wouldn't break it to him like that, but the principle stands, yeah it does.
[the lads are "curating" a gallery of car art and contributing some exhibits themselves] Hammond: [narrating] For our final creation, we had to cut a car in half, which meant using a dangerous plasma cutter. That meant we had to take precautions. [cut to Clarkson, bound to a chair with a massive amount of tape] Clarkson: I could help. Hammond: [using the cutter] No.. May: [simultaneously] You can't do this with a hammer. Hammond: That's exactly why you're taped to a chair. Clarkson: This is like a scene out of Reservoir Dogs. Hammond: [not looking up] Don't give us ideas.
[during the News segment, which was taped two weeks before it aired] May: A car I'm really looking forward to is the new Saab 9-5 — here it is— Clarkson: Unless of course Saab went bust in the last two weeks. Hammond: Oh God, which is a real possibility, honestly...note Unfortunately they did. They have since been brought back by new owners. Clarkson: Seriously, James. James, do this two ways, we'll edit it. May: Yeah, okay. [cheerfully] A car I'm really looking forward to is the new Saab 9-5 — there it is. [glumly] A car I was looking forward to was the new Saab 9-5. [audience laughs] That's what it was gonna look like. They say— Clarkson: They said. May: What? Oh, yes, sure.. They say... or said.. that it's based on a jet fighter.. or was, but it isn't wasn't. It's actually based on a Vauxhall. You can get a three engine, or you could get three engines or maybe you could get three engines, the best of which was or is a 2.8 liter V6. That will start at about £25,000. It looks great. Clarkson: Do you know what, James, why haven't you got a Saab? May: 'Cause they've gone bust. [laughter] But if they haven't, then it is a very good question, because I do actually quite like a Saab. They're just, you know, just a little bit alternative and they tend to be driven by quite interesting people. Hammond: Ah, well there you go, that's why he hasn't got one.
May: As you know, last week, there was some sort football match on at the same time as us so I just wondered, who here watched Top Gear last week? Hands up if you do. [Everyone except for Jeremy raises their hands.] Hammond: I did! It was great! Jeremy? You? Clarkson: I couldn't watch it. May: Well, I be honest, I found the bit with the wedding a bit cringeworthy but I struggled on and made it to— Clarkson: No, I mean that I couldn't watch it because I was in Johannesburg. Hammond: Watching the finals. Oh great! So, the one week where we wanted to call in a bit of loyalty and you decided to go to South Africa and watch a Dutchman kick a Spaniard in the heart. Clarkson: Yes, I did.
Hammond: I just realized something. It probably looks as though I'm driving along huddled in a towel trying to keep warm and dry because the window won't shut and its letting rain in but that's not the case. The window's open because it's so warm and a little bit of drizzle, let's not call it rain, is keeping me cool.
Hammond: Has the Stig ever been to a car wash before? Clarkson: No, it will be a whole new experience for him.
[On motorway message boards saying things like "Check your fuel level"] Clarkson: Well, anyway, the committee that decides on what messages flashed up - and it is a committee, we checked - has been told to stop doing that sort of thing, OK, because the government says it's distracting. But it isn't distracting, it's irritating. Scarlett Johansson in a short skirt on a windy day on a motorway bridge, that is distracting. That would be. It's distracting now.
[after May has complained vehemently about having to go to the North Pole] Clarkson: Listen. If we make it, look at it this way. You will be the first person ever to go to the North Pole who didn't want to be there.
May: [gazing at the view through the Hilux's windshield] Look at that awful expanse of misery. Clarkson: Are you cold? May: No. Clarkson: Are we falling through the ice? May: Not yet. Clarkson: Well, cheer up. May: How far have we gone? Clarkson: Haven't set off yet. May: Quite.
[after May has delayed the start by forgetting his gloves and going back to get them] Clarkson: I knew he was going to be bad on this trip; I didn't know he'd be this bad.
May: [holding a religious action figure that belongs to Clarkson] Why have you brought Jesus?
Clarkson: [closing narration] I'd set out to prove that polar exploration could be easy... but it isn't. It's brutal and savage. The fact is, though, that two middle-aged men, deeply unfit and mostly drunk, had made it, thanks entirely to the incredible machine that took us there. They'd said we'd never get to the pole, because of the damage the car has already done to the ice cap. Perhaps, then, that's what we've proved most of all. Really, the 'inconvenient truth' is, it doesn't appear to have even scratched the surface.
The Vietnam Special
Hammond: Do you he's enjoying his first biking experience? Clarkson: I am the most miserable human being alive!
[while driving motorcycles in a pouring rain] Clarkson: Oh my God! What the hell is going on in my life? Why has my life gone so wrong? May: It's good for you! Clarkson: It's not! May: It is! Stop whining. Clarkson: [passing a truck] Hit that. It might cheer me up. Kill yourself. May: [singing] I'll take you anywhere you want to go, I'll ride my Honda tonight... Clarkson: I hate you!
[after smashing Hammond's original helmet and presenting him with a new pastel pink one] May: Now, don't take this the wrong way, because colours assume different significance in different cultures... Hammond: Stop talking. May: No, seriously, in Britain we think of that as a feminine colour... Hammond: Stop moving your face about with noises coming out of it like that. May: Here, it's the colour of warriors!
[realizing they won't make the eight day deadline] Clarkson: We can't just give in. Hammond: So what are you saying? We must try harder? Clarkson: No. Hammond: We must find a way of making the bikes faster? Clarkson: No. Hammond: Cheat? Clarkson: Yup.
The South America Special (Bolivia and Chile)
Clarkson: [a la Arthur Brown] I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE! Hammond: [resigned] Has he got a chainsaw? [he does] Clarkson: Oh, yes! Hammond: Oh, God...
Clarkson: Here we are. This is cocaine country... Kate Moss' delicatessen. Obviously we can't just drive through this region without registering our disgust at the vile and reprehensible drugs trade that brings misery to so many millions. [a pan over the cars reveals "I ♡ My Septum" on Clarkson's, "Jesus is my High" on May's, and "Total Wipeout! BBC1 Sat 7:15" on Hammond's.] Clarkson: Hammond, are you feeling ashamed of yourself? Hammond: There was an opportunity, I took it. I think that was quite quick thinking. Clarkson: But what about the untold misery to millions? May: Is that 'untold misery to millions'? Are the ratings really that good? [Hammond laughs]
Hammond: I can't remember if I took my malaria pill this morning. If I were a girl, I'd be pregnant a lot!
[while preparing to face "Death Road"] May: Hang on, before you go... Clarkson: What? May: I genuinely don't like heights, okay.. it's my biggest failing. Among many, I accept. [to Hammond] You know the "you drive into the back of my car and it's very funny" joke? Hammond: You don't want it to happen here? Clarkson: Oh, you want me to drive into you? May: No. I'll cut your f[bleep]ing head off. [to the camera] You will need a "beep" there, BBC2.
[after Clarkson inevitably runs into the back of May's car] May: [approaching Clarkson's car with a machete] I was perfectly [bleep] straight with you about this. You're now gonna get macheted to death. Clarkson]: [simultaneously] Sorry. I was watching the t— I was watching the taxi! May: [poking the machete in through Clarkson's opened window] I don't care! I did warn you. Did I or did I not warn you? Hammond: [watching from the safety of his own car] James is killing Jeremy.. Things are going well.
[later] Hammond: Did your co-presenter on your television program just attack you with a machete? Clarkson: Yes he did, he came to the window quite cross because I ran into him. Hammond: That doesn't happen on, like, clothes programs or gardening shows.