Top Gear's New Series

The Top Gear new series is finally here and the opening montage of last week’s long-awaited season 19 (yes NINETEEN!) premiere promised us all of the hilarious, boyish antics that we know and love; complete with all of the danger and slightly inappropriate jokes that make Top Gear, Top Gear.

Top Gear Presenters
Top Gear Presenters: Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May ready for series 19. Photograph: Todd Antony/BBC

The premiere episode didn’t disappoint, as proven by the online response, with one fan exclaiming “Thanks, Top Gear. A great start to the series. I enjoyed it, can’t wait for next Sunday. It was a mixture of everything we love. Well done.”

The first episode was an excellent way to dampen down the recent scrutiny that Top Gear has been under, specifically after the Christmas Special that featured a road trip through India, which the BBC had to apologise for after the Indian High Commission complained. Top Gear and its presenters have always partnered the technical vehicular content with controversial jokes and the infamous Top Gear challenges which very often spark debate. But without this unique approach Top Gear wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it is.

Starting the new series with a bang (quite literally!)

Richard Hammond’s quest for the ultimate hyper car continued, this time presenting us with the Pagani Huayra. His child-like enthusiasm and passion was still intact and rightly so.

This is a car that looks like no other and sounds like no other. As Hammond put his foot down, we were truly on the edge of our seats as the power of this car was truly phenomenal. If we didn’t know any better we would have been waiting for the moment that it would take off. And, just to add to the sheer surrealism that this car presented to us, it actually looks like something that could be featured in one of the Transformers movies.

It’s always quite astonishing to see Hammond speeding around the track in such a manner, especially after his near fatal crash in 2006 which resulted in the then 36 year old ending up in the neurological unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

Unleashing the £150,000 Bentley on a stage of the World Rally Championship. Why not?

It just wouldn’t be Top Gear if an incredibly expensive car didn’t get trashed every now and then would it? And, of course, the regular Top Gear fans can’t get enough of it. As the clip aired, Twitter and Facebook feeds were inundated with statuses about the Bentley.

Everyone wanted one and everyone wanted to drive it like that. Footage of the event had leaked back in September so fans had been long awaiting this spectacle and the full clip left no disappointments. James May looked positively terrified as professional rally driver Kris Meeke shouted about his lack of skills in delivering the rally pace notes. And then it happened. A scene so beautiful, that it could be compared to the miracle of child birth.

The flying Bentley. Enhanced by slow motion, the car sailed through the air with such elegance and grace that this scene is bound to become a favourite of car enthusiasts all around the world. The only thing that could have possibly made this feature any better is Jeremy Clarkson’s priceless expression if he would have been in May’s seat.

P45, anyone?

Although the introduction of Clarkson’s creation, the P45, has been met with mixed reviews, it gave the right kind of comedy value that we have learnt to love and expect. Watching Clarkson scream and cause traffic jams should help us forget a little about all of the many controversial comments he has made throughout the years.

Some fans chose to complain that the P45 was “pointless” and “predictable” and it’s understandable that some serious motor-heads may have preferred that this feature was scrapped from the line up.

Seeing Clarkson, however, in a contraption that made him look half-man half-machine whilst barely being able to move was well worth the “predictability” and “pointlessness” of the project. And let’s be honest, how many of Top Gear’s projects and challenges have a real point other than to provide entertainment and laughs on a show that is far from the normal motoring program. This is what makes Top Gear unique. This is what attracts viewers who have no interest in cars what so ever.

What once began as a conventional motoring show was re-launched (thankfully!) to become one of the most popular and controversial shows of its kind. And, by the time the episode had finished, we were left fairly assured that the show had indeed, just as we had been promised, not changed for its 19th series.

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