Top Gear

Genres: Magazine, Science/Technology
Broadcast on: SABC3, BBC Entertainment, BBC Prime, BBC Knowledge



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Season 12

Channel Premiere Finale TX Time Episodes
BBC Two 02 Nov 2008 28 Dec 2008 Sundays 7
BBC Entertainment 07 Oct 2009 18 Nov 2009 Wednesdays, 21h30 - 22h30 7
BBC Knowledge 15 Oct 2010 20 Oct 2010 Weekdays, 18h35 - 20h25 (double bill) 7
SABC3 02 Oct 2011 11 Dec 2011 Sundays, 17h00 - 18h00 7

Season 12

Season 12 accelerates, skids, momentarily loses control, careers onto the grass and then explodes onto the television for your viewing pleasure. Jeremy, Richard and James have been frantically filming like TV presenting lunatics all summer to bring you a cavalcade of delights.

They have bought trucks in order to find out how hard it is to be an HGV driver, they have flown to
America to test a new generation of muscle cars (and almost bankrupted James May in the process), they have attempted to discover if Communism ever made a good car, and they have been in Vietnam attempting to do what the American military never could, by travelling the entire length of the country in just eight days.

There is also sound financial advice as they attempt to make a normal second-hand car lap the track as fast as a purpose-built sports saloon, and a race to turn on the Blackpool illuminations in the most economical way possible.

There is also a festival of exciting cars including the Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560, the Porsche 911 GT2, the classic Ferrari Daytona, the Pagani Zonda F Roadster and the (um) Ford Fiesta.

All the tried-and-tested Top Gear favourites also return, including 'the news'; the 'cool wall' and The Stig, who puts the rich and famous through their paces in the 'Star in the Reasonably Priced Car' feature.

Top Gear is filmed in a private hanger at Dunsfold Park, near Goldaming, Surrey.


The show often features the following segments, amongst others:


The show has featured a number of races where Jeremy Clarkson races a car against other forms of transport, usually involving Richard Hammond and James May taking the same journey by any combinations of plane, train, ferry or bus.


Top Gear normally reviews one new car, or group of cars, each week. It's became hugely influential with motor manufacturers, since a critical word from the Top Gear team could have a severely negative effect on sales.

The Top Gear reports are not based on facts or figures, but the opinions of the presenters. Group tests normally involve the three presenters debating the merits and weaknesses of each car.

Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car

In each programme, a celebrity is interviewed by Jeremy Clarkson, and focuses usually on car-related topics and often on cars owned by the celebs themselves.

The guest is whisked off to the Top Gear race track where he/she tries to get the fastest lap time in a Chevrolet.

The fastest lap time is held by The Stig, and guests who have attempted to beat his time have included Simon Cowell, Jamie Oliver and Sanjeev Bhaskar.

Power Laps

In the Power Laps segment, The Stig completes a lap around the Top Gear test track to determine the performance of various cars. The car tested is usually the car that's been reviewed in that episode, but occasionally it can be a car from a previous episode.

The Cool Wall

The Cool Wall is a board where Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond decide which cars are cool, and which aren't, and has nothing to do with how good or bad a car is. The categories are Sub Zero, Cool, Uncool and Seriously Uncool.

Initially, part of that "coolness" factor rested on the extent to which the presenters believed each car would impress English actress Kristin Scott Thomas.

BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce replaced Kristin as their notional judge, after Kristin stated in an interview that she owned a Honda, which was deemed to be "Uncool".

Broadcast Notes

This was the first season to air on BBC Entertainment.

Season 12 Cast

Presenter - Himself

Presenter - Himself

Presenter - Himself


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