It’s been far too long since Top Gear was on the airwaves, and we know that many of you have been greatly looking forward to the show’s latest offering, with its traditional ‘Christmas Special’ taking the show’s three hosts to some of the toughest motoring terrains around the world.
Last year, Messrs Clarkson, May and Hammon made a journey across the Middle East to recreate the journey of the Three Wise Men, while previous years have seen them travel to South America and Vietnam.
With the British economy in a perilous state, the three gents head to India under the guise of a trade mission, despite the pleas of the British Prime Minister that they don’t go.
Let’s not forget that the British colonial empire collapsed long before the British car industry. There is a certain irony to the fact that India is now autonomous, and that it actually owns the formerly British brands like Jaguar and Range Rover…
Armed with a budget of £7,000 each, they arrive in Mumbai (which they incorrectly introduce using its former name, Bombay) to present their trusty, all-British steeds for this episode. James chooses a Rolls Royce Series I, Jeremy selects a Jaguar XJS and Richard picks a Mini Cooper, with a Union Jack resplendent on its roof.
Rather than structuring the episode in a more traditional ‘travel from A-to-B’ format, this 90-minute episode is split to include a series of mini-challenges, such as an 18-hour ride on India’s famously-overcrowded trains and coming up with creative banners and slogans to promote British business.
The episode certainly serves to highlight the chaotic nature of the Indian motoring community. Accidents are all-too-common and no one stops to exchange particulars when panels are bent.
The end of the episode sees the trio haul their now-battered cars through the Himalayas to reach their final destination, and this is a spectacularly shot section if you’re privileged to watch it in high definition.
In all, this was an entertaining episode that acts as a solid launching pad to the show’s eighteenth season, which will kick off in January.