Top Gear (series 1)

Last updated

Top Gear
Series 1
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of episodes10
Original network BBC Two
Original release20 October (2002-10-20) 
29 December 2002 (2002-12-29)
Series chronology
Series 2
List of Top Gear episodes

Series 1 of Top Gear , a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two during 2002, consisting of ten episodes that were aired between 20 October and 29 December. This series was the first to feature Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond as the main hosts of the programme, a role they would both maintain until the twenty-second series, and the only series to feature Jason Dawe as their co-presenter before he was replaced in the second series. The series introduced much of the new elements that the programme had brought in as part of its relaunch of original 1977 programme of the same name, including the anonymous driver known as "The Stig" (portrayed by Perry McCarthy), and the celebrity timed laps that would begin with the Suzuki Liana.



Following the cancellation of the original format of Top Gear in December 2001, previous format presenters Jeremy Clarkson and Andy Wilman decided to revive the show in a different format for the following year. These new changes included the use of television studio segments and challenges, and a revamped presentation of reviews, unlike the previous show which focused on the production of cars. Clarkson later announced that he would present the new show, with Wilman serving as executive producer, whilst motoring journalists Richard Hammond and Jason Dawe joined as the new presenters, both of whom had not hosted the previous format.


No. in
ReviewsFeatures/challengesGuest(s)Original air dateUK viewers
(millions) [1]
11 Citroën Berlingo MultispacePagani ZondaLamborghini MurciélagoMazda6 Speed cameras Harry Enfield 20 October 2002 (2002-10-20)2.43
In the first episode of the relaunched Top Gear, Clarkson looks into the Citroën Berlingo Multispace before comparing the Pagani Zonda to the Lamborghini Murciélago at their New Track. Hammond reviews the Mazda6. The presenters also see if its possible to be undetected by a speed camera by driving past it very fast, while back in the studio, they reveal the test track designed for them by Lotus, for both Power Laps by The Stig, and for new segment, "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car", with Harry Enfield being the first celebrity to set a time in the segment's Suzuki Liana.
22 Ford Focus RSNoble M12 GTO Bus jumping over bikes Jay Kay 27 October 2002 (2002-10-27)3.54
Clarkson tries out the Ford Focus RS on the road and the Noble M12 GTO at the Track, while Hammond attempts to see how many motorcycles a double-decker bus can jump over and looks back at his childhood dream car - the 1977 Ford Escort RS1800. Jay Kay is the next star to drive the Liana around the Top Gear Test Track.
33 Mini OneToyota Yaris VersoCitroën DSWestfield XTR2Aston Martin DB7 Grannies doing doughnuts with a Honda S2000 Ross Kemp 3 November 2002 (2002-11-03)3.30

Clarkson takes a look at the new Mini and the Toyota Yaris Verso, before testing out the Aston Martin DB7 Vantage. Hammond sees if grannies can do donuts in a Honda S2000, reviews the Westfield XTR2, and argues with Clarkson over which is the best automotive design of all time, with designers, Peter Horbury and Ian Callum joining the discussion on the subject. Meanwhile, Ross Kemp attempts to get the Liana around a wet Top Gear Test Track.

Note: This is the first episode to end with the catchphrase "And on that bombshell…", which wouldn't be a regular line until later series.
44 Aston Martin VanquishFerrari 575M MaranelloNissan Skyline R34 GT-R Family Saloon Formula One Steve CooganRichard Burns 10 November 2002 (2002-11-10)2.90
Clarkson celebrates the release of Die Another Day by comparing the Aston Martin Vanquish against the Ferrari 575M Maranello while looking at the Vanquish and Jaguar XKR convertible to feature in the film. Later he meets with rally champion, Richard Burns, while Hammond judges mid-range family saloons in a Formula One-styled race, and Dawe reviews the Nissan Skyline GT-R and compares previous Skyline models - the R32, the R33, and the R34. Steve Coogan sees how he handles the Liana around a wet track.
55 Mercedes-Benz S-ClassAudi A8Maybach 62Bentley Arnage Create a Bond car Jonathan Ross 17 November 2002 (2002-11-17)3.43
Clarkson takes a look at the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and its rival, the Audi A8 before driving the luxurious, Bentley Arnage at the Track. Meanwhile, Dawe drives some used Peugeot 206s to determine their worth, while Hammond gushes over the new Maybach 62. The trio also test out their very own 007/Bond car with the gadgets suggested by viewers and presented by Edd China, while Jonathan Ross finds himself struggling in the Liana with an extremely wet test track.
66 Renault Vel SatisBMW Z4Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMGHonda NSX Type R Grannies doing handbrake parking Tara Palmer-Tomkinson 24 November 2002 (2002-11-24)3.10
Clarkson finds out how good the Renault Vel Satis is, and then drives his personal Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG around the Track, while Hammond reviews the BMW Z4 in Portugal. Meanwhile Dawe sees if grannies can do a handbrake park and looks back at a used car that never went out of fashion - the Volkswagen Golf. In the studio, Clarkson introduces another new segment - the Cool Wall - while Tara Palmer-Tomkinson looks back to how well she did in the Liana.
77 Saab 9-3Lotus Elise 111S Religious leaders race Rick Parfitt 1 December 2002 (2002-12-01)3.61
Hammond drives a Saab 9-3 to see if it is wacky and interesting like old Saabs, while, at the Track, Clarkson puts the Lotus Elise 111S through its paces. Elsewhere, Dawe visits a primary school to see which car the kids there think is coolest, while there's a race to see which religious faith is the fastest, and Rick Parfitt of Status Quo sees if he can get the Liana quickly around the test track.
88 Audi RS6Mercedes-Benz E55 AMGMaserati Coupé • Superminis: (Ford FiestaCitroën C3Honda JazzNissan MicraMG ZR)Lada Riva modified by LotusFastest white van man Sir Michael Gambon 8 December 2002 (2002-12-08)3.43

Clarkson road tests the Audi RS6 and makes comparisons between it and the Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG, before testing out the Maserati Coupé on the Track. Hammond, meanwhile, looks at a group of "superminis" - the Ford Fiesta, the Citroën C3, the Honda Jazz, the Nissan Micra, and the MG ZR. Lotus sees what they can do to modify and improve the Lada Riva 1.5E Catalyst, a group of White-Van men race around the track in a Ford World Rally Transit van, and Michael Gambon steps into the reasonably priced car.

Note: This episode saw the last corner of the track being renamed as "Gambon Corner", in honor of Michael Gambon's near-accident during his time in the Liana.
99 Volvo XC90Subaru ForesterVolkswagen Golf R32Honda Civic Type RToyota Land Cruiser Stripped down Jaguar XJS Gordon Ramsay 22 December 2002 (2002-12-22)3.67
Clarkson looks at how good the Renault Espace is before trying to find out if the Toyota Land Cruiser is a cool alternative to it, while also finding out if the Volvo XC90 Estate is any good, along with a Track Test of Volkswagen Golf R32. Elsewhere, Hammond reviews the Subaru Forester while both he and Dawe see if a crew from Cornwall can make a used 1985 Jaguar XJS V12 faster by making it lighter, while the Stig races a Radical SR3 around the track against an aerobatic plane, and Gordon Ramsay is in the Liana to produce something hotter than just food.
1010 Range RoverLotus EspritNissan PrimeraTVR T350CReligious leaders race again • Top Gear Awards 2002None29 December 2002 (2002-12-29)3.59
Clarkson has a look at the new Range Rover in a field and the not so new Lotus Esprit at the Track. Elsewhere Hammond drives the TVR T350C Concept and Dawe looks into the brilliance of the Nissan Primera. There's another race to find the fastest faith in the world, while the trio find out what cars have gotten what awards in the Top Gear Awards 2002.

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