- From the Polar Special: Sir Ranulph Fiennes' frostbitten hand. Notably, this is one of the few times in the show where the guys have no comeback for what they've just seen. James and Richard visibly cringe when Sir Ranulph shows them the pictures of his swollen, necrotic fingers; James even averts his eyes for a couple of seconds. Jeremy, on the other hand, goes silent and stares at Sir Ranulph with a very serious expression as he shows them the extent of the damage done to his hand by a few moments of immersion in Arctic waters. James then asks what would happen if the truck broke through the ice and they went into the water. Sir Ranulph doesn't paint a pretty picture.Sir Ranulph: If—if your whole body fell in, and the car had gone in, and your tent had gone in...you could probably survive for, if there was no wind, hours? But I'd—I'd probably prefer in those circumstances to go quickly rather than slowly.
- The boulder field part of the Polar Special, at least for Jeremy and James. Just imagine: You're in a freezing cold location, trying to get a truck through it. The masses of ice boulders and other hazards mean that between planning a route, cutting through obstacles and getting the truck out of sticky situations, you can only cover about one mile a day. It goes From Bad to Worse when an accident with the truck causes you to lose nearly half your fuel, so it's even more unlikely that you'll be able to get out at all. And then there's the cold, which as Sir Ranulph pointed out, once had one of his friends plotting to murder him.
- They were working with chainsaws, without protective gear and in the extreme cold while grappling with severe exhaustion. It's a miracle there wasn't a terrible accident.
- Hammond was so stressed by the extreme temperatures and hard physical labor that he had random crying fits, at one point took three tries to count to ten, and threatened his teammate Mattie McNair when she made an ill-timed joke about putting him in the harness to replace one of the dogs. There was no humor in his voice.Hammond: You can try, but there's nobody else here, and I have a shovel. I wouldn't.
- Before they even reach the boulder field, the thin ice of the fjords proves just as dangerous. Jeremy has to drive as slowly and carefully as possible, with every jolt and bump scaring the hell out of him, and James next to him holding an ice axe — ready and waiting to break the car's windows if they go into the water.
- The Road of Death in Bolivia, as pictured. If you do not like heights, you will cringe at many moments — especially when Clarkson has to pass another vehicle and his tires are right on the edge of the road, with pebbles and rocks skittering down the cliff side all the while. All he can do, once the ordeal is over, is slump over the steering wheel.
- Later on, May's headlights fail, and he has to drive down the route — a narrow, winding dusty road with no guard rails, unstable ledges, and sheer drops that have previously claimed hundreds of lives — in the dark, with only Hammond to guide him. No wonder poor May begged Hammond not to leave him.
- James May's head injury in the Middle East special is harrowing. While he was only concussed and recovered quickly from the injury, the sound he makes as he hits the ground is nauseating, and there is a shot of James's blood on the rock that hit his head. If that rock had eroded into a slightly different shape, James might have died instantly from the impact. His co-presenters, who usually make fun of him, immediately drop the act and show genuine concern for his wellbeing. There's also the psychological effect of the injury - James suffers temporary amnesia and can't remember where he is or what he's doing there. The horror doesn't last long but it is very shocking amid all the comedy hijinks (and, as it happens, the show goes right back to comedy when Jeremy and Richard show up to pick up James from the hospital wearing burqas).
- From episode 3 in Series 21, The Final Challenge — capitalized for good reason — resulting in James, Jeremy, and a skeleton camera crew driving right into and through Pripyat. Not a single joke is made during the entire trip, Geiger counters are cracking wildly throughout, and the pair eventually drive straight past the massive reactor itself. The very air seems to be washed of all color around it. And, at least for a short time, Jeremy experiences the horror of running out of fuel in the middle of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, within sight of Reactor Number Four.
- Clarkson's face goes ashen and he is too stunned to speak initially when he reads that the finish line is at Chernobyl. And it gets worse. Belarus is Europe's last remaining dictatorship, and for that reason, The BBC is forbidden from setting foot on that nation's soil, so even if the finish line were at the border with Belarus, they'd still have to backtrack and pass by the reactor again after reaching that finish-line!
- Hammond and May's reactions to the challenge as well. They are initially perplexed when they are told to drive one hundred miles on 23 liters of fuel, which they remark is incredibly easy. Then Clarkson says that their challenge is to run out before they reach the finish line. Hammond has a "wait, what?" response on his face until Clarkson reads the name of the town that's the finish line. Hammond takes a look at the card to see it for himself, and May is stunned silent.May: ...can we actually, we can't go there, can we?
- The ending to the Patagonia Special takes the cake. The production crew had to abandon the entire challenge when a group of Argentine nationalists took offense to Clarkson's numberplate, 'H982 FKL', and threatened violence if they didn't leave the country. The situation is deemed serious enough that the three presenters and female members of the crew are evacuated by helicopter. The remainder try to leave with a police escort, but they're informed that a mob is waiting for them at the next town, which proceeds to toss eggs and rocks at the convoy while the police do little to stop the assault. The crew decide to go off road and make an illegal border crossing into Chile to avoid any other attacks. Daylight showed that not only were windows broken, chunks had been gouged off several of the convoy's cars by the rocks thrown at them.
- Appropriately, the episode ends with the three presenters parodying the ending to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
- There's something very unsettling about the Ambulance Challenge, in which one task is to keep each host's home-made ambulance steady as the hosts stuff organs back into a dummy. The idea of an inanimate, albeit human-looking object (a mannequin) with blood and organs coming out of it veers into Surreal Horror territory.
- Hammond's recreation of an iconic advert in which a Land Rover Defender is winched up the wall of a dam was every bit as unsettling as it was awesome. The difference is that the car in the ad was actually being winched up from the top of the dam, whereas here it's being done "properly" using the actual car's winch, which puts Hammond in very real danger. He's clearly terrified.
- The infamous America special, which features the trio driving around the southern states. Part of their challenge involves them driving through Alabama after spraying various offensive messages on each other's cars — which included phrases like "Nascar sucks", "Hillary for President", "Country and Western is Rubbish", and "Man-love Rules OK". All in good fun, right? Clearly, the team didn't expect the locals' critical sense of humour failure — as the town's residents begin rounding up an angry mob and trying to hunt the team down, pursuing them down the freeway with threats of violence. Once they manage to get out of sight, the production crew desperately rip off their own clothing and pour bottled drinks over the cars to wipe off the slogans as quickly as possible.Jeremy: They've shot their own sign. What are they gonna do to us?
- During the budget supercars challenge in Series 7, the engine in Clarkson's Maserati Merak suddenly disintegrated while the car was travelling at speed. Bad enough by itself, but the engine's failure was so spectacular that it also totalled the car's brakes, forcing Clarkson to veer off the road and ditch the car in a hedge. This happened at a time when there were relatively few cars on the road, but if it had happened just as the team were approaching one of the nearby towns and traffic was slowing down, it could easily have resulted in Clarkson rear-ending another car before he had time to react.
Nightmare Fuel / Top Gear (UK)