One of the first full Top Gear episodes to be put to DVD was the first in the show’s ‘Great Adventures’ series, which has seen the series travel to locations such as the North Pole, Botswana, Vietnam and Bolivia.
The maiden edition sees our three intrepid hosts – Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond – head off to the United States to embark on a road trip from Florida to New Orleans.
Sounds simple, so far, doesn’t it?
But here’s where it starts to get a little more interesting…
Fans of Top Gear will no doubt be familiar with the theme of many of the ‘Great Adventures’ episodes: give the hosts $1,000 to buy a car that will get them from A to B, and put them (cars and drivers) through a series of challenges to work out which is best.
But in 2007, when this episode was first broadcast, an entire episode devoted to this particular concept was rather more groundbreaking for the show’s audience.
The first challenge was in sourcing a car within the budget – rather surprisingly, not an easy feat – and then getting these cars to run.
Now, being in America’s deep south might speak fear in the hearts of those rather more liberally-inclined, and the hosts enjoy plenty of fun playing to the stereotypes of the region.
It turns sour when they travel through a stretch of Alabama when they decide to bait the redneck locals with some decidedly provocative statements plastered on the sides of their cars – ‘Hillary [Clinton] for President’, ‘NASCAR sucks’ etc – and the cast and crew are lucky to escape when the yokels turn on them and chase them to the state line!
But among this, there are some equally brilliant moments that will have you laughing out loud and looking at things more seriously.
The end of the journey sees the hosts arriving at New Orleans, still recovering from the battering of Hurricane Katrina. The footage is certainly eye-opening to say the least.
Fans of the show will certainly want this as part of their DVD collection, but will be disappointed that the disc does not contain any extra bonus features or footage.
Using our unique ‘Chequered Flags’ rating system, we award Top Gear: The Great Adventures – US Special…
OUT OF A POSSIBLE 5.
Top Gear: The Great Adventures – US Special is available for purchase at major stores.