The Eighth Doctor and Lucie are in the audience of "Max Warp", a.k.a. Top Gear IN SPACE!. The Doctor squees happily over all the cool spaceships and the show's "Funky Board". Lucie thinks that he's a rubbish date with a spaceship fetish, that the TARDIS is a glorified shed anyway, and that Geoffrey Vantage (Space Jeremy Clarkson) is definitely too old and balding to be wearing tight jeans. Things quickly take a turn for the worse, however, when Timbo, a.k.a. "The Ferret" (Space Richard Hammond) violently crashes his space ship and dies live on air. Geoffrey and O'Reilly (Space James May) are horrified, but Geoffrey immediately segues into a rant about how any ship produced by the Kith can be expected to explode. O'Reilly reminds him to stay politically correct, but Geoffrey won't have it.
Equally horrified is the local president Varlon, whose peace talks with the Kith after a long war were going so well until now. She asks her Spin-droid for advice on a media spin. The droid has mysteriously been replaced, and the new model advises her that her career may be over if she doesn't act quickly.
The Doctor and Lucie investigate. They meet the security guard (who saw no activity), the president (who's worried about her job and relies entirely on the spin-droids now), and the Kith Ambassador (a sentient sponge). They also get drugged and kidnapped, and appear to be on a crashing spaceship when they wake up, although it turns out to have been a simulation, which rather confuses them.
Lucie pretends that the studio has ordered "Max Warp" to include her on the show from now on. Geoffrey instantly hates her, mainly because she's a woman and not far too smart to have audience appeal. He's also a hardened war veteran and still grumbly about there suddenly being peace with the Kith. O'Reilly, however, likes Lucie. A lot. A whole lot. And wants to spend nice long evenings with her talking about space ship engines. They tell her that Space Hammond was also ordered to join the show by the studio, just a few months ago.
When the Kith Ambassador escapes an assassination attempt, the Kith warships mobilise around the planet. The Ambassador's ship is destroyed with him in it. The peace seems to have been shattered, but president Varlon, pulling a HeelFace Turn, makes a swift decision to finally ignore her spin-droid and just offer her help and resources to the wounded Kith, instead of mobilising her own troops in retaliation.
The Doctor gives The Summation. First of all, Geoffrey was behind it all, because he wanted the war to continue and would use a highly sophisticated virus to make the Kith ships pilot themselves into disaster. The Ferret never died in that crash - he was inside the spin-droid suit the whole time. Because he was a Kith spy all along and had the space ship on remote control. The odd simulation was supposed to be a somewhat rubbish clue to the Doctor, which would help expose Geoffrey. And the Kith Ambassador is safe and sound, because the Doctor realised what was going on just in time and helped him to safety. With all that out of the way, the relations between the two species improve dramatically.
"Max Warp" loses its main host, O'Reilly takes over, and the whole thing gets re-tooled into a very dull show that's just about space ship engines and caravan holidays. Lucie notes that it'll probably get cancelled within a month. She and the Doctor head back to the TARDIS, which Lucie re-dubs Time And Relative Dimensions In Shed
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: The Doctor keeps getting distracted by all the cool spaceships.
- Big Bad: Geoffrey Vantage.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: The Doctor is fascinated by the Kith.
- Black Comedy: Richard Hammond was actually in a serious car crash in 2006, two years before this episode aired. The Doctor Who Magazine review notes that this would be unforgivably tacky, except that Top Gear's own treatment of the crash was even worse.
- Breather Episode: The episode holds little relevance to the season's arc and overall plot.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Lucie's comment after experiencing the simulated crash: "A few more seconds and I'd have had to change my down-belows."
- Butt-Monkey: O'Reilly really can't catch a break.
- Deadpan Snarker: Lucie has a few of her most shining moments. Particularly when she notices that the Doctor likes the TARDIS that way.
- The Dog Bites Back: After ten years of being told to shut up, O'Reilly finally snaps and gives Geoffrey a taste of his own medicine.
- Everybody Lives: Lampshaded by Lucie: it's a murder mystery in which no-one actually died.
- Faking the Dead: Done twice, by The Ferret and the Kith Ambassador.
- "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The Doctor and Lucie on a crashing spaceship which turns out to be a simulation. Now consider what happens to the Doctor and 0.
- Fun with Acronyms: When Lucie tries to remember what "TARDIS" stands for: Time And Relative Dimensions In... Shed
- Motive Rant: In which Geoffrey, among other grievances, complains that he's wasted the best years of his life presenting a motoring show for middle-aged men.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Geoffrey, O'Reilly and the Ferret are clearly based on Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond respectively.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Geoffery is incredibly sexist to Lucie when they first interact. It's a wonder she didn't slap him.
- Prevent the War: What Geoffrey thinks he is doing.
- The Reveal: Geoffrey Vantage is the episode's Big Bad and The Ferret wasn't dead after all, and was hiding out in the spin-droid suit.
- Running Gag: "Shut up, O'Reilly." Gets a lot less funny after The Reveal.
- Shout-Out: O'Reilly wonders whatever happened to the old Cobra Mark III.
- And the Doctor quotes House of Cards (UK):"You might very well think that. I couldn't possibly comment."
- And the Doctor quotes House of Cards (UK):
- The Summation: The Doctor gives one at the end.
- Take That!: "Max Warp" is a big one to Top Gear.
- Vehicular Theme Naming: Geoffrey Vantage, and Lucie Vauxhall-Nova.
- Who Dunnit: The death of Timbo kicks off the plot.