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Top Gear is ten!

  1. The date is 20 October 2002. Broadcasting for the first time on BBC2 is a little show called Top Gear, rebooted after its original incarnation died in 1999. 

    In the last 10 years, many things have occurred. Namely, a lot of cocking about by three middle-aged men during 147 episodes created over 18 series, which have included seven, hour-long ‘specials’.

    Jezza, James and Richard have literally gone all around the world to bring you, our 350 million viewers, some form of entertainment. We’ve blown things up, made Captain Slow go fast and made endless jokes about Richard Hammond having his teeth whitened.

    There have been 220 power laps, proving that an Ariel Atom V8 is the fastest thing around the Top Gear Test Track, while a pedal-powered Porsche Pain au Chocolat is the slowest. 168 laps of our test track have been completed by Stars in Our Reasonably Priced Cars: 57 in the Lacetti, 34 in the C-Apostrophe-D and 77 in the Liana. We’ve even had 12 F1 drivers try and prove that they’ve got the best line through the first corner in order to beat our man Stig.

    In order to say thank you for your support over the last decade, we tried ranking our top 10 moments, but it ended with some shouting and a painful incident involving a pineapple. So instead, we’ve simply chosen some of the best. If you disagree, or would like to add yours, feel free to express yourself in the comments below.

    By the way, do you want to know where the Top Facts on the following pages are from? Well, they’re from the book Ambitious But Rubbish: The Secrets Behind Top Gear’s Craziest Creations - and happily, if you want more reminiscing, you can buy now. 

  2. Top Gear crosses the English Channel 

    Well, it took several failed attempts and a drowned dampervan, but we finally proved that JC’s Toybota rules the waves. Watch it here. 

    Top Fact: On the optimistic assumption that they would actually make it to France, each presenter had to remember to bring their passport with them, as otherwise there was a risk they would have arrived at the other side only to be told to turn around and go straight home again.

    Have we missed your favourite? Let us know below… 

  3. Top Gear race to the North Pole...

    …and while Hammond is dragged by dogs, James and Jeremy were able to relax with a victorious G&T. Watch it here.

    Top Fact: After the polar special, the trucks were taken back to the Icelandic workshop that prepared them. One was subsequently used by Toyota in the UK, the other languished in Iceland until James popped over there and found good use for it as the ideal machine for driving up the erupting Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

    Have we missed your favourite? Let us know below…  

  4. Jeremy drives into work. Literally

    The world’s smallest car, an extremely tall presenter and a news presenter’s bottom feature in one of the most-watched clips on TopGear.com ever. Watch it here. 

    Top Fact: That was the actual Top Gear office featured in the item, though the team has now moved to a different office (one floor above the One Show) where there’s less chance of John Humphrys coming in and ‘borrowing’ things.

    Have we missed your favourite? Let us know below…  

  5. Being stoned by rednecks

    Insult NASCAR. Promote man love. Prepare for angry hicks with bad teeth and big rocks. Watch it here. 

    Top Fact: The car lot selling ex-police cars that was seen in the programme proudly boasted of supplying many of the cop cruisers wrecked in the movie Bad Boys II.

    Have we missed your favourite? Let us know below…  

  6. Schumacher is the Stig

    Some say he’s a bit German. And they’re correct. Nobody saw this one coming, eh? Watch it here.

    Have we missed your favourite? Let us know below…  

  7. Reliant Space Shuttle

    The plan: send a Robin into space. The reality: watch it crash in a field

    Top Fact: At last it can be admitted - there was some fakery in this item. The sound of crickets chirping outside as Richard and James lay in their bunks the night before the launch was actually added in the edit to give the feel of a classic American astronaut movie.

    Have we missed your favourite? Let us know below…  

  8. Indestructible Hilux

    Sunk, blown up, dropped from height… yet it refused to die. Long live the Hilux! Watch it here. 

    Top Fact: The Indestructible Hilux became a rock god’s stage at the end of series 18 when ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash stood atop it to play his version of ‘Jessica’. Slash is a big Top Gear fan and had been trying to come on the programme for ages. When the production office asked if he would end his appearance by performing the theme tune, he agreed immediately and spent the weeks leading up to his appearance listening to the original so that his rendition was note-perfect. (Watch some exclusive behind-the-scenes action with Slash here)

    Have we missed your favourite? Let us know below… 

  9. Tom Cruise on two wheels

    Top Gun meets Top Gear at Gambon corner. Now there’s a line you’ll never read again. And what a thoroughly nice man he was too. 

    Watch it here.

    Have we missed your favourite? Let us know below…  

  10. Veyron vs Eurofighter

    Hammond races a Typhoon jet. Leads for a bit. Then gets toasted by afterburner… Watch it here.

    Have we missed your favourite? Let us know below…  

  11. Fiesta beach landing

    The most sensible road test in history, brought to you by Clarkson and the Royal Navy. Watch it here.

    Have we missed your favourite? Let us know below… 

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