Top Gear is a television series primarily about cars produced in Britain. It is the world’s most widely watched factual TV show. It started in 1977, and became increasingly popular after the relaunch in 2002. The show generally takes a humorous, quirky, and even sometimes controversial approach to teaching the audience about automobiles. The show is hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. The show also features a test driver known as The Stig, whose real identity remains a secret throughout the show. It is estimated that over 350 million viewers from 170 countries watch the show each week.
Episodes are filmed in a variety of locations with a various themes; however, most of the filming occurs in an aircraft hangar in Waverley, Surrey. It features a live standing audience. Many features in each episode remain consistent, such as Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, Power Laps, The Cool Wall, and The News. Often, the presenters travel to different countries to complete special, assigned tasks given to them by the producers. Seasons also feature Specials which are also filmed in other countries. Some Specials that have been featured in the past are the Vietnam Special and the Bolivia Special. In the Vietnam Special, the presenters were supposed to travel from Saigon to Ha Long in the span of eight days on second-hand motorcycles. In the Bolivian Special, the presenters were supposed to travel 1,000 miles from the Bolivian rainforest to the Pacific coast of Chile. The presenters made the trek in used 4-wheel drive vehicles that were purchased online. Often, the presenters are given a budget to complete the task.
The Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment is often a staple in each episode. In this segment, a celebrity is brought to the show and interviewed by Clarkson. During the interview, the audience watches footage of the celebrity’s fastest lap around the test track. The cars that have been featured are cars that can be purchased by average people, such as the Suzuki Liana. The times from each celebrity is added to a leader board. Occasionally, Formula One drivers visit the show to do the test drive and their time is added to a separate leader board.
During the Power Laps segment, The Stig test-drives a performance car by driving it one lap on the test track. The segment often features cars built by Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Pagani.
The Cool Wall segment features the presenters posting pictures of cars on different sections of a board. Depending on the area where the photograph is placed designates the car as super cool fridge, sub zero, cool, uncool, or seriously uncool. The presenters determine the status of the car, and all presenters may not agree on each car. One car that has been promoted to the super cool fridge is the Aston Martin D89.
Another segment commonly featured on the show is Unusual reviews. During this segment, different cars are subjected to common road tests in addition to unusual circumstances or challenges. For example, one review commonly featured is the Toyota Hilux Destruction which features different ways to destroy the car, which thereby proves its strength.
Because the show features many different segments and is entertaining, many people with varying levels of automobile car interest love to watch the show. It is aired by the BBC and is increasing in popularity around the world.