And on that bombshell – thanks for the 13 years

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There are three main catalysts (that i can think of) that made me fascinated by motors, the earliest being my first car and one that probably many people born post 1979 will remember. My little tikes cosy coupe was possibly the car Iv spent the most time in over my life, it doubled as a camper when I was young and could do almost half a mile an hour I reckon. The second and third catalysts came around at the same sort of time , as a child of the play station generation the 1998 release of Gran Turismo was a real game changer and its sequel made me spend an agonizing amount of time trying to learn its 650 cars from top to bottom, the more obscure the better (still waiting for my Venturi Atlantique). But the influence that has had the longest lasting effect on me has to be top gear, I even watched the last of the old format religiously when a car could be considered interesting for having just the one wing mirror.

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Now arguably this format was the last time that top gear was a motoring show, and it really does bore me to tears when you get someone saying “i wish top gear actually spoke about cars”, I mean all these people ignored fifth gear to the point where it spent its recent life channel hopping with lackluster views. Top gear for all its silly dadishness made the impossible happen, it made cars accessible to everyone (even in countries where car ownership is a distant dream). At its heart top gear became a comedy show that even people who had no idea what a differential was could watch and enjoy. The only time i could talk about cars with my mum or flatmates without sounding like a bit of an anorak was on Sunday at 8pm, and I loved it. The magic despite being terrifically staged by the geniuses of Porter, Wilman and the other 3 could not be replicated by anyone, the chemistry between May, Hammond and Clarkson is not replaceable. So as I see it top gear on the bbc is dead, I really cant imagine the middle east and the states warming to the ginger sod from radio 2 in the same way they did the famous orangutan. Now this blog is not a forgiveness article for what Jeremy did, but it is a sad farewell to a show that for me at least has given me hours of dave repeat enjoyment for the last 13 years.

Here are my best bits



The epic trips are the highlights of any series for me, especially when a ridiculous budget is given , now controversially this episode does not actually feature cars at all, no this episode is all about motorcycles. Of course this is much to Hammond and Mays delight as avid bikers but much to Clarksons disgust, when i first saw this episode I couldn’t see how it would pan out but now its possibly my favorite. The comedy is all there and of course the ‘mishaps’ such as the wrong train incident but the actual reason I love watching this ep is how amazingly beautiful Vietnam looks. The spa Jeremy goes to and that amazing mountain road has given me a real travel itch to scratch. I really didn’t get why Argentina kicked up such a fuss about top gear coming, the three boys were even complimentary about the war torn middle east and I really wonder how much tourism revenue the show has generated from replicated adventures. This film is great from start to finish in my opinion and the only hard bit for me as a man with extreme squeamishness is clarksons epic fall, I mean they even made three of the worst watercraft I have ever seen (excluding the dampervan or hovervan mk1) to end the ep.

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The polar special

One of the first real adventure episodes and also one of the earliest controversies, but it really did show how far these three car journalists were willing to go in the name of entertainment. It was also the first real time (that I can think off) that James was put at the forefront of the banter which was a real turning point because I think James is as brilliant at making a joke as he is in explaining how things actually work and its great that top gear pushed him into other shows such as toy stories and I hope he can continue with the bbc making the docs (there is a building a bmw mini from scratch show in the work which sounds very interesting). At no point did this adventure seem easy, even with the monster of a hilux James and Jeremy were “sailing” in, we saw the polar bears and the extremely low temperatures but I think through the episode the biggest risk to life was the relationship turning sour between may and clarkson, at any point either of them could have ‘disapeared’  never to be seen again just to end the abrasive relationship, just like poor Mays spam.

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Communist cars

Occasionally the show actually was about cars (if even for just ten or so minutes) and could even provide a sort of history lesson usually with the joke or expense being on the cars. One example of this was a short segment where James and Jeremy took some cars from the eastern blocks to greenham common to see if the communists ever made a good car. In a sense its just an opportunity to laugh at some of the cars many were forced to and a few now choose to deal with. No car was chosen as good enough but the niva almost made it! and it was good to see a velorex if even for just a second.

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Reliant Robin

Well I like this for purely selfish reasons, as I live in south yorkshire and the epic voyage is from Sheffield to Rotherham (at one point half a mile from my childhood home) it is weird to see the top gear antics in my stomping ground, and someone from my school is even at the cricket practice on camera. It also has the advantage of making me rollover (much like a reliant) laughing with the calamities and its good to see the reliant fanatics taking Clarkson in with a good sense of humour, but I guess they don’t have the pianos constantly falling on their rooftops to complain about. Plus I like seeing all the local z-listers helping Jeremy out of trouble, great segment.

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80’s Hot Hatches

now there’s plenty of great car challenges and it was really difficult for me to narrow down my favorite but I think for me it is the 80’s hot hatch challenge. Now the cars overall are not too interesting, id have rather have seen a 205 and an earlier golf but the real bit for me that sets this episode apart out is the finale with the tgpd or top gear police force. Its so farcical but brilliantly top gear, full of explosions and mustaches. We all know its staged but I don’t think anybody really cares.

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And the finale

This Frankenstein episode was never designed to be the end of top gear as we know it, it was also cobbled together due to issues with Jeremy but despite these setbacks the episode I feel is a fitting goodbye. The classics were cool but the off road segment was so epic and funny that it let the show end on a high note, and while its sad its ended this way im at least happy for the fans of which there are many that the episode wasnt the cop out that many feared it would be. I just wish the bloody bbc announcer didn’t speak over the silent credits.

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The great thing about top gear is its one of those shows which has too many great moments to actually write about and I know everyone else will have a different list to me. I really am grateful for all the work the top gear team put into the show and I am excited for the future and I hope its called last of the summer gear. There is a future in my eyes as the name and the stig are the smallest part of the shows success, so I hope for a few years atleast ill get my fix but for now I  sadly must say the immortal words And on that bombshell, Good night



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