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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The H-G's Present: Top Gear UK Appreciation Series {Part 1}

Hello, Friends.  It's time we introduced you to one of the H-G's favorite past times, though I should preface this introduction with the fact that I, Maggie H-G, am not a Car Person.  If asked what kind of car just passed me by, I would most likely respond with words like blue or red or blackish, as I usually have no clue what make, model, or brand most cars are, much to the chagrin of the more brilliant car-minded family members in my family tree.

Image Courtesy of britishcars.files.wordpress.com

Bearing all that in mind, I want to tell you about an amazing television show called Top Gear.  Specifically, Top Gear UK (sorry, Top Gear USA - you're just not my slice of pie).  What is this program, you ask?  Well, in obvious terms, it is a television show about cars, and yet, it is so much more than that.  Yes, the person who differentiates one vehicle from another by naming their color enjoys watching a show about cars.

I hope at this point you are intrigued.  This will be a three part series for this blog, as The H-G's show you some key components of what makes Top Gear UK so awesome.  Part 1, which you conveniently are reading at this very moment, will give (and is currently giving with each word you read) a review of basic Top Gear components.  Part 2 will be the H-G viewpoint of what it would be like if we were on the show, though it will be just a mere simulation of course; we aren't famous enough (yet) to be put on the actual show.  And finally, Part 3 is a showcase of my latest project.

I'm no Petrolhead, Gearhead, or Car Junkie, but this show is blazing entertainment filled with:


...like the time they were challenged to create their own limousines out of other cars, or build their own motor homes, or attempt to make train transportation more cost effective, or test and review a Ford Fiesta (including escaping a Baddie in a mall, and storming the beach with the Royal Marines)... the excitement goes on and on.


... as in machines you may never see, let alone drive or experience first hand.  Do super cars make you salivate?  Then watch this show.  Could you care less about a hunk of metal on four wheels (sometimes three)?  Then enjoy this show all the same for its breath-taking cinematography, well-timed dramatic build-up's, and watching three British gentleman melt like little kids, giggling and gawking as they play with the world's latest and greatest big-kid toys.


James May, also known as Captain Slow, is the more reasonable, eco-friendly, and slower driver of the three hosts.  Look to him for the green alternative, or to describe (in possibly too great of detail) the process by which something is made, or its mechanics, which - though very informative - can sometimes detract from the overall ooh's and ahh's that accompany some of the featured super cars.  Mr. May's slow tendencies aside, he exudes both intelligence and dependability, with his wavy grey locks and leather peacoat.

James May, image courtesy of Wikipedia

Jeremy Clarkson, is the more extravagant of the hosts - known for preferring luxury over economy, and power over practicality.  Mr. Clarkson epitomizes the British gentleman with his smooth tone and the deep timbre of his voice, while his eloquent vocabulary (this is where the witty and vulgar come in) can keep the audience laughing out loud (no LOL's here - I'm talking legit laughter, folks) from start to finish.

Jeremy Clarkson, image courtesy of Wikipedia

Richard Hammond, is the shortest in stature and therefore my favorite.  Mr. Hammond seeks vehicles in which he has a personal or emotional bond, or at least the vigor he puts forth in selecting vehicles for the challenges gives that impression.  I would say he has spunk or a certain amount of quirkiness, but not in a juvenile or awkward manner.  More, it is a sense of adventure... or maybe just his bright smile.

Richard Hammond, image courtesy of Wikipedia


Each episode features an interview with a celebrity - What was your first car?  What are you currently driving?  What are you up to these days (new film, book, album)?... Now, I must admit that the celebrities are seldom familiar to me, while the majority are from the British realm of famousness that is unrecognizable to me, your typical American, who only knows of three varieties of British: Beckham, Duchess, and The Beatles.  Still, I find the interviews interesting all the same, but not as entertaining as when they show said celebrities driving around the Top Gear Track in a Reasonably Priced Car.  Yes, what creativity to have famous people drive a car that could easily be found parked in the average person's driveway.  For my fellow Americans that wish to see an example, check out the episode with Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise - I promise it went quite well; it is nothing like the Oprah Interview.


What can be said of The Stig, that hasn't been said before?  In the most basic of descriptions, he is the show's "tame racing driver", who tests all of the super cars that are featured on the show, as well as guides and mentors the celebrities when they drive 'round the Top Gear Track.

The Stig, image courtesy of TopGear.com

No one knows his true identity, though many theories have been shared about him.  Some say.... well, some say plenty about him; you'll just have to watch the show to find out more.

Stay tuned!  Part 2 of the Top Gear UK Appreciation Series to follow shortly.




  1. You forgot to mention about a hundred other better crazy challenges. Driving to the NORTH POLE. Driving on volcanoes. Driving across African countries in cheap cars. Driving through war zones. Racing planes in supercars. Driving across the Andes. Driving through the jungle in Thailand. It's so good!

    1. Apparently, I need like a 12-part series just to recap on one tenth of Top Gear's awesomeness. The drive through the South and ending in New Orleans was pretty good, too...