Top Gear: Series 9, Episode 1

  • Jeremy, Richard and James attempt to re-surface a road within 24hours.
  • Jeremy compares the Jaguar XKR against the Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
  • Richard’s first show since the Vampire dragster crash – the incident footage is shown and explained.
  • Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Jamie Oliver.

Episode Guide

Intro: Clarkson and May welcome Hammond back after his crash in the Vampire. They use an aeroplane entry staircase from EasyJet and dancing girls because Clarkson says quality steps cost over £300. Clarkson enquires if he (Hammond) “is a mental.” Hammond responds that he is completely fixed and that despite the brain damage, the only personality difference he has noticed is, ”I like celery now and I didn’t before.” Richard thanks everyone for giving him support while he was hospitalised.

Challenge: The presenters decide that the duration of road repairs is appalling, especially since you never see roadworkers actually working. So they decide to take matters into their own hands and resurface a stretch of the D5481 (sic)(also named Grafton Lane) near Bidford-on-Avon themselves, to prove that work which normally takes up a week can be done in 24 hours. It falls apart quickly, as May’s sense of direction causes traffic mishaps, Nineteen Eighty-Four-like speeches from Clarkson, tarmac supply issues (which include a cameraman accidentally pressing the emergency stop at the quarry), bad weather, and Mrs. Thatcher speeches blaring out in the late-night/early-morning period cause problems, but the road gets finished by the 9:07 a.m. deadline.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Jamie Oliver talks about his campaign for healthier lunches for schoolchildren, his passion for organic food, and his quest to beat Gordan Ramsay’s power lap time. Jamie sets a time of 1:47.7 during wet conditions (although he insists it was snowy). Upon hearing that the slush would garner him a 4 second handicap, Oliver moved his time magnet to the top of the board (above fellow chef and rival Gordon Ramsay).

Review: Jeremy reviews the Jaguar XKR against the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Although the Aston is better in some parts (better looking, louder, more aggressive, higher pedigree), Clarkson notes that the Jaguar is able to keep up with the Aston around the Top Gear track. The Jag also more powerful, better equipped, more practical, and less expensive than the Aston. As Clarkson puts it, “It is quite simply spectacular.” The Stig turns in a Power Lap time of 1:34.7 in “very, very, very” wet conditions. This episode’s Stig intro (by Clarkson): “Some say he once threw a microwave oven at a tramp and that long before anyone else, he realised that Jade Goody was a racist, pig-faced, waste of blood and organs. All we know is, he’s called The Stig!”

The News: No news this episode. Instead, Hammond takes James and Jeremy (and the studio and broadcast audience) through the events leading up to and including his crash in the Vampire dragster. After some good-natured ribbing at Richard’s expense, Jeremy admits that Hammond was very brave for attempting to drive the Vampire in the first place. Hammond responds with a simple request that they not talk about it ever again – to which they agree. Despite this, the occasional oblique reference pops up from time to time in future shows (almost always in a comedic way).

Some say…

“Some say he once threw a microwave oven at a tramp, and that long before anyone else he realised that Jade Goody was a racist pig-faced waste of blood and organs. All we know is he’s called the Stig.”

Stig Power Laps

Jaguar XKR
1:34.70 (very wet)

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

Jamie Oliver
1:47.70 (wet)


Rating: 9.5/10. From 6 votes.
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