Top Gear (series 15)

Last updated

Top Gear
Series 15
Top Gear Series 15 Promo 2010.jpg
Promotional poster
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of episodes6
Original network BBC Two
Original release27 June (2010-06-27) 
1 August 2010 (2010-08-01)
Series chronology
Series 14
Series 16
List of Top Gear episodes

Series 15 of Top Gear , a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two and BBC HD during 2010, consisting of six episodes that were aired between 27 June and 1 August; the new series was promoted with a special trailer that made use of a clip published on YouTube. [1] [2] This series saw the replacement of Chevrolet Lacetti with the Kia Cee'd, effectively leading to a brand new lap board for celebrities to log in their times.


This series' highlights included the creation of home-made motorhomes, driving a Hilux up an active volcano close to erupting, budget cars suitable for track days, and a tribute to the late Ayrton Senna. Two compilation episodes featuring the best moments from the fifteenth series, titled "Best of Top Gear", were aired during 2010, on 8 and 15 August. The fifteenth series received some criticism for comments made by Jeremy Clarkson that were deemed unacceptable for broadcast.


No. in
ReviewsFeatures/challengesGuest(s)Original air dateUK viewers
(millions) [3]
1191 Bentley Continental Supersports Toyota Hilux Invincible up an Icelandic volcano • Farewell to the former reasonably priced car, the Chevrolet Lacetti • Why Reliant went out of business: 1994 Reliant Robin Nick RobinsonAl MurrayPeter JonesPeta 23 from EssexJohnny VaughanBill BaileyLouie SpenceAmy Williams 27 June 2010 (2010-06-27)5.60
Top Gear is back and the presenters are trying to be sensible. Of course, that's not the case when Clarkson goes to the North to try to drive a Reliant Robin from Sheffield to Rotherham, and rolling it over in the process, while on the track he road-tests the heavy Bentley Continental Supersports. Elsewhere, May heads to Iceland to see if can give glory to the Toyota Hilux used by the camera crew during the Polar Special, by modifying it for the task of driving close to the Eyjafjallajökull volcano as it erupts and collect a piece of lava, while Hammond retires the old reasonably priced car—the Chevrolet Lacetti—with a "Viking burial", before assisting Clarkson with a summer BBQ for the guests they have invited to the test track to set a lap in the new car—a Kia Cee'd.
1202 Porsche 911 Sport ClassicPorsche Boxster Spyder Find a £5,000 everyday second-hand sports saloon for track days (Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 CosworthBMW M3Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth) Alastair Campbell 4 July 2010 (2010-07-04)6.60 [nb 1]

The trio head to Germany to see which is the best second-hand four-door saloon for track days on a budget of £5,000 - May chooses the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth, Hammond buys a BMW M3, and Clarkson purchases a Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth. Travelling from Berlin, the trio attempt to test their cars practicality and speed, before having a personal track day at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz to see who can make the best YouTube video and achieve the fastest lap with their car.Elsewhere, May tests out the Porsche 911 Sport Classic and the Porsche Boxster Spyder on the track, while former Director of Communications under Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell, is the latest star in the Kia Cee'd.

Note: Due to time constraints, a segment of film for the episode's main feature was cut but made available online for viewing.
1213 Chevrolet Camaro SSMercedes-Benz E63 AMG Find the greatest four-door supercar: (Maserati Quattroporte GTSAston Martin RapidePorsche Panamera Turbo) Rupert GrintRubens Barrichello 11 July 2010 (2010-07-11)4.58 [nb 2]
The boys attempt to see what is the best new four-door supercar — the rather good-looking Maserati Quattroporte GTS despite it being a little fiddly and complicated, the beautiful Aston Martin Rapide despite it being too expensive and the rather ugly Porsche Panamera Turbo. Starting in London, the presenters test out the cars, before stopping at a business park and letting the Stig see how fast they are on an improvised course. To fully decide which is best, the trio give them the ultimate test by chauffeuring members of a wedding party to the church and then to the reception, although the boys get a little distracted. Elsewhere, Hammond tests out two new muscles, the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro, while British actor, Rupert Grint, is the latest star in the new reasonably priced car.
1224 Audi R8 V10 SpyderPorsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet Building motorhomes (Lotus ExcelLand Rover 110Citroën CX) Andy García • Lauren McAvoy18 July 2010 (2010-07-18)7.05 [nb 3]
The presenters make their campervan using a different car as the base - Hammond using a Land Rover 110 in his design, Clarkson making one out of a Citroën CX, and May designing his with a Lotus Excel - each complete with sleeping accommodations, cooking facilities and a toilet. To see whose is best, the trio take a motoring holiday to Cornwall, and soon find many faults with their designs as they engage in a few tests of practicality with each. Meanwhile, Clarkson is on the track to review the Audi R8 V10 Spyder and the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet and puts them through an unusual test, while Hollywood actor Andy García sees if he can set a fast lap in the Kia.
1235 Volkswagen TouaregBugatti Veyron Super Sport Volkswagen Touareg vs Swedish snowmobilers • Reach 258mph (415 km/h) in the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport • Commemorating racing driver Ayrton Senna, Lewis Hamilton drives Senna's 1988 F1 racing car. Tom CruiseCameron Diaz 25 July 2010 (2010-07-25)7.48 [nb 4]

Hammond heads to Riksgränsen to try out the new Volkswagen Touareg, before using a customised one to race against two snowmobile racers. Meanwhile, May returns to the Ehra-Lessien test track with the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, to see if it can reclaim the crown of the "Fastest Production Car in the World", while actors Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise see who was faster in the Kia when they did a lap of the Test Track. Finally, Clarkson pays tribute to the late Ayrton Senna, [4] finding out from the people who knew him best - Mika Häkkinen, Lewis Hamilton, Jarno Trulli, Martin Brundle, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Rubens Barrichello, David Coulthard, Mark Webber, Nigel Mansell, and Michael Schumacher – what he was like on and off the track, before Lewis Hamilton has a go at driving Senna's F1 car.

Note: For licensing reasons, all re-runs of the episode do not feature the 'Ayrton Senna Tribute' film, but instead they go straight to the closing credits following the 'Star in a Reasonably Priced Car' segment.
1246 Ferrari 458 Italia Old British roadsters for £5,000: (TVR S2Lotus ElanJensen-Healey) Jeff Goldblum 1 August 2010 (2010-08-01)6.19 [nb 5]
Clarkson, Hammond and May feel that classic British sports cars are much better than European Hot Hatchbacks, so the producers task them with proving this correct by each buying one and testing them in a series of challenges - Clarkson seeks to prove his Jensen-Healey he bought will be good, May buys a TVR S2 to show the producers they were right, and Hammond purchases a Lotus M100 Elan to take on this task. On a journey to the sites of the factories where each car were built, the presenters each try to achieve a fast lap in their car, perform a 'safety test', see how waterproof their cars are, and visit a garden centre to find something to fit in their cars. Elsewhere, Clarkson reviews the new Ferrari 458 Italia on the track, while Hollywood actor, Jeff Goldblum, is on the track to drive fast in the Kia Cee'd.

Best-of episodes

TotalNo.TitleFeatureOriginal air dateUK viewers
(million) [3]
S22CE–1"The Best Of Top Gear: 2010 No.1"Best Moments from Series 15 - Part 18 August 2010 (2010-08-08)3.56
A look back at some of the best moments from Series 15, including the race between a Volkswagen Touareg and some Snowmobilers, and Clarkson's drive to Rotherham in a Reliant Robin.
S23CE–2"The Best Of Top Gear: 2010 No.2"Best Moments from Series 15 - Part 215 August 2010 (2010-08-15)2.55
A second look back at the best moments from Series 15, including the search for the best four-door saloon, and May's attempt to drive close to an erupting volcano in Iceland.

Criticism and Controversy

The fifteenth series faced criticism after the broadcast of the fifth episode, when Clarkson joked during a "News" segment that he had been in cab the other day and truly seen a woman wearing a burka tripping up on a pavement, upon which he could see that under it she was wearing a "red g-string and stockings". Following the broadcast of the episode, the BBC received a number of complaints regarding the joke, [5] with the singer Lily Allen writing on Twitter that the joke was "distasteful", [6] while a Mediawatch spokesperson said that Clarkson "should learn to keep quiet". [7]

However, in an article written for The Week , Antonia Bland defended the presenter's joke, saying that Clarkson had done nothing wrong and that Muslim women who wore a burka had the right to "choose to wear gorgeous lingerie in private", adding that the joke proved a good example of the dangers faced by male drivers trying to concentrate on the road during Summer. [8]


The viewing figures shown in the Episode Table above (with the exception of the first episode), are a combination of the figures from the BBC Two broadcast and the BBC HD broadcast.

  1. 6.00 million on BBC Two, 602,000 on BBC HD.
  2. 4.03 million on BBC Two, 549,000 on BBC HD.
  3. 6.47 million on BBC Two, 575,000 on BBC HD.
  4. 6.65 million on BBC Two, 827,000 on BBC HD.
  5. 5.81 million on BBC Two, 379,000 on BBC HD.

Related Research Articles

Jeremy Clarkson English broadcaster, journalist and writer

Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson is an English broadcaster, journalist and writer who specialises in motoring. He is best known for the motoring programmes Top Gear and The Grand Tour alongside Richard Hammond and James May. He also currently writes weekly columns for The Sunday Times and The Sun. Since 2018, Clarkson has hosted the revived ITV game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, replacing former host Chris Tarrant.

<i>Top Gear</i> (1977 TV series)

Top Gear was a British motoring magazine programme created by the BBC and aired on BBC Two between 22 April 1977 and 17 December 2001. The programme focused on a range of motoring topics, the most common being car reviews, road safety and consumer advice. Originally presented by Angela Rippon and Tom Coyne, the show saw a range of different presenters and reporters front the programme's half-hourly slots, including Noel Edmonds, Jeremy Clarkson, Tiff Needell and Quentin Willson. The programme proved popular during the late 80s and early 90s, and launched a number of spin-offs, including its own magazine entitled Top Gear Magazine.

<i>Top Gear</i> (American TV series) American motoring television series 2010-2016

Top Gear was an American motoring television series, based on the BBC series of the same name. The show's presenters were professional racing driver Tanner Foust, actor and comedian Adam Ferrara, and automotive and racing analyst Rutledge Wood. As with the original British version, the show had its own version of The Stig, an anonymous racing driver, and a celebrity guest was featured each week for the first two seasons. The show premiered on November 21, 2010, on History. Its most recent season, Season 6, began airing on April 26, 2016. On June 28, 2016, the BBC confirmed that the series had completed its contractual run on the History channel."

Series 8 of Top Gear, a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two during 2006, consisting of eight episodes that were aired between 7 May and 30 July; because of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the series took a month-long hiatus between its fifth and sixth episodes. This series saw the programme receive a brand new opening title sequence, a brand new studio, and a brand new car for the "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car". Throughout the series, the show also saw Richard Hammond bringing along one of his dogs for episodes, which would have small appearances in films in the following series.

Series 9 of Top Gear, a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two during 2007, consisting of six episodes that were aired between 28 January and 4 March. Production on the series was delayed after Richard Hammond was involved in an accident in September 2006 while producing a film regarding a dragster racer. The first episode was dedicated to welcoming him back, with much of its content never repeated again after its broadcast. This series was the first to introduce feature-length specials focused on road trips with motoring challenges, with other highlights including the presenters attempting to make a space shuttle with a Reliant Robin, creating home-made stretch limos, and attempting to achieve the Bugatti Veyron's top speed.

<i>Top Gear</i> (series 12)

Series 12 of Top Gear, a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two during 2008, consisting of seven episodes that were aired between 2 November and 14 December. This series' highlights included the presenters tackling the task of driving lorries, investigating car-tuning, an fuel-economy race, the first power test by James May, and a review of cars made during the Cold War era. After the series concluded, a feature-length special for Christmas, titled Top Gear: Vietnam Special, was aired on 28 December 2008, focusing on the presenters travelling across Vietnam with motorcycles.

The British motoring-themed television programme Top Gear was often the focus of criticism. The criticism has ranged from minor viewer complaints to serious complaints where broadcasting watchdogs such as Ofcom have been involved.

<i>Top Gear</i> (series 13)

Series 13 of Top Gear, a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two during 2009, consisting of seven episodes that were aired between 21 June and 2 August. As a publicity stunt, the series also had Michael Schumacher disguise himself as "The Stig", primarily due to the fact that a car they reviewed could not be driven by anyone but Schumacher for a timed lap of the programme's test track. Alongside this, this series' highlights included a 1940s styled race, a motoring challenge involving rear-wheeled cars, and the presenters entering a classic car rally. The thirteenth series received criticism over two elements - one for an advert designed by Jeremy Clarkson as part of a film for an episode; the other for the use of a word deemed offensive.

<i>Top Gear</i> (series 14)

Series 14 of Top Gear, a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two, consisting of seven episodes that were aired between 15 November 2009 to 3 January 2010. It is the first series that was also aired in high-definition. This series' highlights included the presenters making their own electric car, hosting a car-themed art exhibition, and a tribute to the car manufacturer Lancia. The sixth episode of the series was dedicated to a feature-length special, titled Top Gear: Bolivia Special, focused on a road trip with off-road vehicles.

<i>Top Gear</i> (series 16)

Series 16 of Top Gear, a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two during 2011, consisting of six episodes that were aired between 23 January and 27 February. Following the previous series, the BBC discontinued their involvement with Ben Collins on the programme, after he breached an agreement in his contract that forbid him disclosing his role as "The Stig" with the publication of his autobiography, The Man in the White Suit, in August 2010. His departure led to him being replaced by a new driver by the beginning of the first episode.

<i>Top Gear: Middle East Special</i> 2nd episode of the sixteenth season of Top Gear

Top Gear: Middle East Special is a 76-minute-long extended episode of Top Gear series 16. The film predates the Syrian Civil War and involves a 1,200-mile (1,900 km) road-trip from Erbil International Airport in Iraqi Kurdistan to Bethlehem, nominally recreating the journey of the Three Wise Men. Their journey takes them across the Middle East via southern Turkey, the cities of Aleppo, Palmyra and Damascus in Syria, then Jerash in Jordan and finally the Mount of Olives. The journey includes visiting an abandoned theme park, and a stop at Ein Gev on the Sea of Galilee.

<i>Top Gear</i> (series 17)

Series 17 of Top Gear, a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two during 2011, consisting of six episodes that were aired between 26 June and 31 July. This series' highlights included the presenters making their own trains with cars and caravans, and using second-hand military vehicles to demolish houses. The seventeenth series faced criticism over its review of electric cars by attempting to mislead viewers.

<i>Top Gear</i> (series 19)

Series 19 of Top Gear, a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two and BBC HD during 2013, consisting of five episodes between 29 January and 24 February, and a two-part feature length special involving a road trip in Africa, titled "Africa Special", aired on 3-10 March. This series' highlights included the presenters race from London to Milan, a supercar road trip across California, and the creation of a home-made car for the elderly. The nineteenth series received criticism for one of its episodes' early filming featuring Jeremy Clarkson seeming to use a racial slur during a car review film.

<i>Top Gear</i> (series 21)

Series 21 of Top Gear, a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two during 2014, consisting of five episodes between 2 February and 2 March; production on the series was confirmed via Twitter in 2013, with a teaser trailer released on the BBC's YouTube channel in January 2014. This series' highlights included the presenters looking back at hatchbacks that were available during their youth, a look at the British military vehicles used in Afghanistan, and a road trip across Ukraine that included a visit to Chernobyl.

<i>Top Gear</i> (series 22)

Series 22 of Top Gear, a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two during 2015, consisting of eight episodes - seven of these were aired between 25 January and 8 March, while the eighth was aired on 27 June following a disruption in production; two additional episodes were planned but never produced. The series was preceded by a two-part special focused on the presenters conducting a road trip across Argentina, titled Top Gear: Patagonia Special, and aired during 2014 on 27–28 December. This series' highlights included the presenters conducting a race across St. Petersburg, creating home-made ambulances, a recreation of a famous Land Rover Defender advert, and a road trip across Australia in GT cars.

<i>James Mays Cars of the People</i>

Cars of the People is a series of special episodes of the BBC Two factual television series Top Gear, presented by James May, which look at how the motor vehicle became an everyday part of human life.

Top Gear is a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, designed as a relaunched version of the original 1977 show of the same name by Jeremy Clarkson and Andy Wilman for the BBC, and premiered on 20 October 2002. The programme focuses on the examination and reviewing of motor vehicles, primarily cars, though this was expanded upon after the broadcast of its earlier series to incorporate films featuring motoring-based challenges, special races, timed laps of notable cars, and celebrity timed laps on a course specially-designed for the relaunched programme. The programme drew acclaim for its visual and presentation style since its launch, which focused on being entertaining to viewers, as well as criticism over the controversial nature of its content. The programme was aired on BBC Two until it was moved to BBC One for its twenty-ninth series in 2020.

The Grand Tour is a British motoring television series, created by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May, and Andy Wilman, made for Amazon exclusively for its online streaming service Amazon Prime Video, and premiered on 18 November 2016. The programme was conceived in the wake of the departure of Clarkson, Hammond, May and Wilman from the BBC series Top Gear, and originally contracted with 36 episodes over three years.


  1. "Top Gear - Season 15 trailer". 22 June 2010.
  2. "TopGear motorhomes: official pics". 21 May 2010.
  3. 1 2 "Weekly Top 10 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 November 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. "BBC receives Top Gear complaints after Jeremy Clarkson's G-string under burka joke". Metro . 27 July 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  6. Leach, Ben (28 July 2010). "Jeremy Clarkson joins burka debate". The Daily Telegraph . London. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  7. Love, Ryan (27 July 2010). "Clarkson 'burka joke sparks complaints'". Digital Spy . Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  8. Bland, Antonio (30 July 2010). "Clarkson was right about burkas and red G-strings". The Week . Retrieved 29 December 2014.