Top Gear (series 3)

Last updated

Top Gear
Series 3
Starring
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of episodes9
Release
Original network BBC Two
Original release26 October (2003-10-26) 
28 December 2003 (2003-12-28)
Series chronology
 Previous
Series 2
Next 
Series 4
List of Top Gear episodes

Series 3 of Top Gear , a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two during 2003, consisting of nine episodes between 26 October and 28 December; [1] a compilation episode featuring the best moments of the series, titled "Best of Top Gear", was aired on 4 January 2004. [2] This series saw the departure of Perry McCarthy as "Stig", [3] with the role taken over by Ben Collins as a new "Stig".

Contents

The series' primary highlight was a feature in which the presenters tested the strength of the fourth generation Toyota Hilux by putting it through several destructive tests before maintaining it as a museum piece in the studio until the 22nd series. The Hilux destruction tests later caused the programme to pay compensation for damages that were made, following inquiries by a parish council.

Episodes

No.
overall
No. in
series
ReviewsFeatures/challengesGuest(s)Original air dateUK viewers
(millions) [4]
211 Ford GTBMW 5 SeriesPorsche 911 GT3 Can the diesel Volkswagen Lupo get better mpg than the petrol version? Martin Kemp 26 October 2003 (2003-10-26)3.32

Clarkson heads to Detroit to find out how good the heavily-anticipated Ford GT handles against all its competitors, before finding out how well a diesel Volkswagen Lupo fares against its petrol version by doing a lap of the M25. Elsewhere, Hammond tests out the Porsche 911 GT3, May defends the BMW 5 Series, and the Stig drives fast with the trio's Jaguar XJS on board HMS Invincible with disastrous results. Meanwhile, singer and Spandau Ballet bassist Martin Kemp, tries to see is he is better than Ross Kemp when he takes the Liana for a lap of the track.

Note: The final appearance of the original Stig, Perry McCarthy, was a scripted scene by the production staff.
222 BMW M3 CSLBMW M1BMW M3BMW M5 Volvo 240 attempts to jump four caravans • Best 2 seater sportscar: (Porsche BoxsterBMW Z4Honda S2000) Stephen Fry 2 November 2003 (2003-11-02)3.41

Black Stig is gone, and in his place is brand new, White Stig, who is quick to get to work by seeing how fast the BMW M3 CSL is on the track after Clarkson tests it out. Meanwhile, the trio head to the Isle of Man to find out which old BMW sports car is the best - the 1970s M1, the original M3, and the second-gen M5 - before testing out three two seater convertibles on the Isle - the BMW Z4, the Porsche Boxster and the Honda S2000. Finally, a Volvo 240 tries to jump five caravans side-by-side, and Stephen Fry discusses the advantages of driving his London Taxi before seeing how he fared in the Liana.

Note: First appearance by Ben Collins as the new Stig, following the departure of McCarthy.
233 Bentley Continental GTSubaru Legacy Outback Saab 9-5 Aero versus a BAe Sea Harrier • How to Escape from a Sinking Car • Top Gear Survey Rob Brydon 9 November 2003 (2003-11-09)4.02
Clarkson is unimpressed when he manages to secure the rights to test out the Bentley Continental GT, while he compares the hot Saab 9-5 Aero to an aeroplane. Meanwhile, May finds out whether the aristocracy will go for the Subaru Legacy Outback, Hammond investigate the dangers of being in a car that is sinking in water and how to quickly escape such a scenario, the Stig races a Saab around the track against a Harrier Jump Jet, and the results of the Top Gear Survey are in. Finally, Rob Brydon becomes the first Welshman to do a lap in the reasonably priced car.
244 Lamborghini MiuraLamborghini CountachMini Cooper S WorksLamborghini Gallardo Lamborghini Tribute Rich Hall 16 November 2003 (2003-11-16)4.59
Top Gear celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Lamborghini by looking back at some of the classics by the company, including the 1967 Lamborghini Miura, an improved 1971 SV, the Lamborghini Countach, while there is a look at the Lamborghini LM002, Clarkson tests out the Lamborghini Gallardo, and the Murciélago is back to set a time on a dry track. Meanwhile, Hammond tests out several versions of the Mini Cooper S - the BMW-official Works Cooper S, the third-party tuned Hartge Cooper S, the Digi-tec Cooper S and the wild 275 bhp (205 kW) BBR Cooper S - while American comedian Rich Hall improvises a country song about a Rover 25 before seeing how he fared in the reasonably priced car.
255 Mazda RX-8Fiat Panda Is the Toyota Hilux really indestructible? • Hammond searches for future classic cars Simon Cowell 23 November 2003 (2003-11-23)4.80
Clarkson sees how tough a Toyota Hilux pick-up truck truly is by putting it through a series of tests, including driving it through Bristol and nearly losing it to the sea, before returning to the test track to see what else it can withstand. Elsewhere, he tests the Mazda RX-8 on the track, while May drives the Fiat Panda up in Hertfordshire, and Hammond looks at several cars deemed to be good investments as future 'classic' cars. There's also the task of finding which is the best wig for a fast drive in an open top convertible, while Simon Cowell stops judging future singers to see if he can be judged the best at driving fast in the Liana.
266 Citroën C2Renault Mégane CCPeugeot 307 CCAston Martin V8 Vantage (1977)Holden Monaro Is a Toyota Hilux really indestructible? – Part 2 Sanjeev Bhaskar 7 December 2003 (2003-12-07)5.40
May sees what else can be done to prove that a Toyota Hilux is tough by placing the same Hilux from the last episode on top of a tower block due for demolition. He also reviews the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and discusses how British supercars differentiate from those elsewhere in the world, while Hammond sees whether the Renault Mégane CC and the Peugeot 307 CC are good hard-top convertibles, and Clarkson reviews the successor to the old Citroën Saxo, the Citroën C2, and takes a drive in Australia's first contribution to the motoring world - the Holden Monaro. Meanwhile, Sanjeev Bhaskar is the latest star to drive in the reasonably priced car.
277 MG XPower SVPorsche Cayenne TurboMercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Which professor can do the best burn-out • What is the best British car: (Rover 75Morgan Plus 8Noble M12) Rory Bremner 14 December 2003 (2003-12-14)3.35
The beautiful and powerful MG XPower SV hits the track, but Clarkson is less impressed with it, while he also sees how good the off-road abilities of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo are by taking it to Bovington, Dorset. Meanwhile, Hammond travels to South Africa to review the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, there's a burn-out contest between Heinz Wolff, Brian Sewell and Colin Pillinger, and the presenters see which car is the best British car - the Noble M12, the Morgan Plus 8 and the Rover 75. Elsewhere, Rory Bremner impersonates voices for car adverts before seeing how he fared on the track in the Liana.
288 Mercedes-Benz 280SLNissan MicraAston Martin LagondaAudi TT Top Gear Generation Game Johnny Vegas 21 December 2003 (2003-12-21)3.15
Hammond sees how good a Nissan Micra is in comparison to a Boeing 737 (BBJ-2), while Clarkson tests out the Audi TT V6 after dressing for it, before seeing if car designs peaked in the '60s by testing out a '60s Mercedes-Benz 280SL (W113). Elsewhere, May drives the crazy and bold 1970s Aston Martin Lagonda, there's a duel-out between 5 of Hammond's modern cars versus 5 of Clarkson's older cars in a 1/5-mile drag race, and comedian Johnny Vegas proves he can drive fast in the Liana, even when he has no driving licence.
299 Chrysler CrossfireSmart Roadster (Brabus V6 Bi-Turbo)Jaguar XJ6Honda Civic Type RHonda NSX Type R Top Gear Awards 2003 Carol Vorderman 28 December 2003 (2003-12-28)4.24
It's a Cut-Price version of Top Gear this episode, after the budget for the series has been exhausted. The trio shoulder on regardless, with Clarkson driving the Chrysler Crossfire, Hammond handling a Smart Roadster Brabus V6 Biturbo and the Honda Civic Type-R hot hatch as well as the Honda NSX Type R Supercar, and May reviewing the Jaguar XJ6. The trio also host the Top Gear Awards for 2003, while Carol Vorderman sees if she can do better than (the late) Richard Whiteley, when she takes the Liana around the test track.

Best-of Episodes

TotalNo.TitleFeatureOriginal air date
S2CEThe Best of Top Gear: 2003Best moments from Series 34 January 2004 (2004-01-04)
A look back at some of the best moments from Series 3, including how much was done to the Indestructible Toyota Hilux, and the demise of the Original Stig.

Criticism and Controversy

Hilux Toughness Challenge

Following the broadcast of the fifth episode of the 3rd series, the BBC was contacted by the Churchill Parish in Somerset in regards to the tree that featured in the segment where Clarkson was proving the sturdiness and reliability of the Toyota Hilux. Up until the episode had been broadcast, villagers had presumed that the damage had been done accidentally or by vandals, until they watched what had happened on the show. After the BBC was contacted, the director of Top Gear admitted guilt and the broadcaster paid compensation. [5]

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.

James May English television presenter and journalist

James Daniel May is an English television presenter and journalist. He is best known as a co-presenter of the motoring programme Top Gear alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond from 2003 until 2015. As of 2016, he is a director of the production company W. Chump & Sons and is also a co-presenter in the television series The Grand Tour for Amazon Video, alongside his former Top Gear colleagues, Clarkson and Hammond, as well as Top Gear's former producer Andy Wilman.

The Stig Character on the British motoring television show Top Gear

The Stig is a character from the British motoring television show Top Gear. Created by former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson and producer Andy Wilman the character is a play on the anonymity of racing drivers' full-face helmets, with the running joke that nobody knows who or what is inside the Stig's racing suit. The Stig's primary role is setting lap times for cars tested on the show. Previously, he would also instruct celebrity guests, off-camera, for the show's "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" segment.

Toyota Hilux

The Toyota Hilux is a series of pickup trucks produced and marketed by the Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota. The majority of these vehicles are sold as pickup truck or cab chassis variants, although they could be configured in a variety of body styles. The pickup truck was sold with the HiLux name in most markets, but in North America, the Hilux name was retired in 1976 in favor of Truck, Pickup Truck, or Compact Truck. In North America, the popular option package, the SR5, was colloquially used as a model name for the truck, even though the option package was also used on other Toyota models, like the 1972 to 1979 Corolla. In 1984, the Toyota Trekker, the camper version of the Hilux, was renamed the 4Runner in Venezuela, Australia and North America, and the Hilux Surf in Japan. In 1995, Toyota introduced a new pickup model, the Tacoma, in North America, thus discontinuing the Hilux/Pickup. The 4Runner is now a full SUV, and the more recent models of the Hilux are separate in appearance from the Tacoma.

<i>Fifth Gear</i>

Fifth Gear is a British motoring television magazine series. It was originally broadcast on Channel 5 from 2002 to 2011, afterwards moving to Discovery Channel in 2012, and then in 2015 to History. Since its return in 2018, it has been broadcast on Quest. The show is currently presented by Vicki Butler-Henderson, Jonny Smith and Jason Plato. Its former presenters include former racing driver Tiff Needell.

Ben Collins (racing driver) British racing driver

Ben Lievesley Collins is a racing driver from Bristol, England. He has competed in motor racing since 1994 in many categories, from Formula Three and Indy Lights to sportscars, GT racing and stock cars.

Top Gear is an automobile magazine owned by BBC Worldwide and published under contract by Immediate Media Company. It is named after the BBC's Top Gear television show. It was first published in October 1993 and is published monthly at a price of £4.35. As of March 2019 there have been a total of 320 issues published in the UK.

<i>Top Gear: Polar Special</i>

Top Gear: Polar Special is a special edition episode of BBC motoring programme Top Gear that was first broadcast on 25 July 2007 on BBC Two. The episode follows presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May in their successful attempt to be the first people to reach the 1996 position of the North Magnetic Pole in a motor vehicle. They did not, however, reach the actual position of the North Magnetic Pole at the time. For added drama and competition, they race against presenter Richard Hammond who travels by dog sled, the traditional means of transport around the Arctic. This was the first episode ever aired in HDTV.

<i>Top Gear</i> test track

The Top Gear test track is used by the BBC automotive television programme Top Gear. It is located at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, United Kingdom. The track was designed by Lotus Cars as a testing facility, with many of its Formula One cars tested there. It is used to test both cars and drivers seen on the programme, mainly in Power Laps and Star in a Reasonably Fast Car .

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", and the celebrity timed laps that would begin with the Suzuki Liana.

Series 2 of Top Gear, a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two during 2003, consisting of ten episodes between 11 May and 20 July; a compilation episode, titled "Best Of Top Gear", was broadcast after the series concluded on 27 July, featuring the best moments of the previous two series. Following the first series, the programme saw a changing the hosting line-up, with motoring enthusiast Jason Dawe being axed and replaced by James May, who had previously worked on a series of the original 1977 programme of the same name. It also saw the credits of the programme officially denoting the anonymous driver, "The Stig", as an additional presenter, albeit not in their actual identity.

Top Gear challenges are a segment of the Top Gear television programme where the presenters are tasked by the producers, or each other, to prove or do various things related to vehicles.

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 15)

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. 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.

<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</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.

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 primarily aired on BBC Two from its conception, until in 2020 when it was moved to BBC One for its twenty-ninth series.

<i>Top Gear</i> (series 23)

Series 23 of Top Gear, a British motoring magazine and factual television programme, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two during 2016, consisting of six episodes between 29 May and 3 July; an additional four episodes were planned but not produced. Following the dismissal of Jeremy Clarkson, and the subsequent departures of Richard Hammond and James May in the previous series, the BBC hired Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc as the new hosts, with Sabine Schmitz, Chris Harris, Rory Reid and Eddie Jordan as their co-presenters, but appearing only when required for an episode.

References

  1. "Top Gear Series 3". topgearbox.com. 20 October 2003.
  2. "Best of Series 3". BBC. 25 January 2004.
  3. "Top Gear Black Stig". motor1.com. 20 October 2003.
  4. "Weekly Top 10 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board.
  5. "BBC stumps up for tree stunt". BBC. 21 February 2004. Retrieved 9 January 2006.