Top Gear

Series 20 - Episode 1

Radio Times
Review by:
David Butcher

With series 20 on the starting line tonight, it’s interesting to look back at series one episode one from 2002, presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and, er, Jason Dawe. In an echoey aircraft hangar, a handful of scruffy blokes were scattered round to resemble an audience. Clarkson looked almost gangly. Hammond sounded like a schoolboy. The Stig was referred to as “it”. And they tested a Citroën Berlingo. The show felt awkward and rickety and nothing like the first stirrings of a world-conquering, culture-defining, opinion-dividing TV phenomenon.

But that’s what it became, and now we can enjoy its latest feats as the series opens with a challenge that pits Clarkson in a mystery car against James May in a superyacht on a race up the coast of New Zealand.

About this programme

1/6. Jeremy Clarkson and James May head to New Zealand to take part in a race along the coastline to the tip of the North Island - with one behind the wheel of a car and the other in an America's Cup yacht. Back in the UK, Richard Hammond tries out three hot hatches as he puts the Renaultsport Clio 200, Peugeot 208 GTi and Ford Fiesta ST through their paces, and a host of stars including Warwick Davis, Charles Dance and Joss Stone assemble at the test track to welcome a new Reasonably Priced Car.

Cast and crew


James May
Richard Hammond
Jeremy Clarkson
Warwick Davis
Charles Dance
Joss Stone


Executive Producer
Andy Wilman