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James and Richard back on TV this Sunday

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Might be time for a fiddle with your various recording devices this Sunday 12 June, as it’s a bit of a bumper TV evening for Top Gear fans.

If you’re in the UK, while the Canadian Grand Prix is drawing to a close over on BBC1, on BBC2 you’ve got a great Hammond’s Engineering Connections starting at 6.10pm on the Bullet Train, the feted Reliant Robin episode of Top Gear at 7pm, then a new episode of Toy Stories from James at 8pm.

James’ Toy Stories episode is a bit of a personal mission. Back in 2009 Slow attempted to run his childhood scale model of the Flying Scotsman along a miniature track from Bideford to Barnstaple in Devon. He failed.

So this time he’s back again with three British trains, competing against three German trains, to make the same journey. For more, let’s go over to the man himself:

“Right. Well, the reason we’re going back to repeat the train challenge is that it didn’t work last time, and that annoyed me. So I went to the BBC to see if we could have another go at it thinking they’d say no, but they said yes.

“So it’s actually a reprise of the Devon race that failed last time on the same route in Devon. There are three races: one from the glory days of steam, one from the diesel electric era where we use an Inter-City 125, and then a secret weapons race using alternative propulsion tech.

“And we ended up, really, having the great electric vs hydrogen debate again. The Germans went with batteries, and I went for hydrogen and as you know I think hydrogen is a very good idea, if you remember my film on the Honda Clarity from a few series ago. If you do watch it you’ll see it’s a rather neat reflection of the electric/hydrogen debate we’re always having on Top Gear around cars.

“I’ve do actually have my own trainset: I kept it secret for many years, but I’ve come out about it now. Yes, it’s the attic, it’s basically an elaborate drinking club for some of my closest friends to get drunk and fall down the ladder. And I do have s Scalextric as well, it was actually my leaving present from Autocar magazine when I was fired.

“I hope we can do more Toy Stories actually: we’ve had this idea to race two remote-controlled cars all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats with all the communities along the way taking legs each with the cars. Or even the Paris-Dakar at 1:24th scale, that would be amazing. We’ll have to see. I also want to reshoot the World at War in Airfix.

“Some people might think Toy Stories is harking back to a mythical and better time, but it isn’t. I do have very fond memories of that time, but the fact is life has got better. There is actually no better time to live than now.”

So there you have it.

To recap: Richard’s Engineering Connections on the bullet train starts at 6.10pm on BBC2, then Top Gear at 7.00pm on BBC2, and finally Toy Stories is 8.00pm on BBC2. All the programmes are also on BBC HD.

Have a great weekend all.

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