Top Gear

Series 17 - Episode 1

Radio Times
Review by:
David Butcher

Do you remember the moment in the last series when Jeremy Clarkson set fire to a pedestrian? He was making enthusiastic use of the flamethrower fitted to his customised snowplough when a passing Norwegian got in the way and became a human fireball. That might strike you as the point when a motoring show lurched into overblown self-parody (it was a stunt, of course, posing as a comedy cock-up), but I know an eight-year-old who found it the funniest thing ever.

And that’s why this is BBC2’s most popular programme and its biggest-selling TV show around the world: when it’s funny, it’s hilarious. And when it’s not, it’s got fast cars and tyresmoke and all the things the eight-year-old in most of us quite likes. The 17th series starts with an episode involving a birthday party for the Jaguar E-Type that includes live music, fighter planes and a group of Royal Marines. Overblown? Never.

About this programme

1/6. In an episode originally shown in 2011, Jeremy Clarkson celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-type by driving a modern-day interpretation of the classic sports car, and throws a typically low-key party involving live music, fighter planes and the Royal Marines. Richard Hammond is in South Africa, where he tests the Marauder, a bigger, more rugged alternative to the Humvee, and James May enlists the help of 2010 Winter Olympic skeleton gold medallist Amy Williams and former Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Kris Meeke to try out a Mini rally car. Plus, the Stig takes the BMW 1 Series M Coupe around the test track and Alice Cooper gets behind the wheel of the Reasonably Priced Car.

Cast and crew


James May
Richard Hammond
Jeremy Clarkson
Kris Meeke
Amy Williams
Alice Cooper


Executive Producer
Andy Wilman