Top Gear (series 14)

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Top Gear (series 14)
Top Gear Series 14 Promo 2009.jpg
Promotional poster
Starring
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 7
Release
Original network BBC Two
Original release 15 November 2009 (2009-11-15) – 3 January 2010 (2010-01-03)
Series chronology
← Previous
Series 13
Next →
Series 15
List of Top Gear episodes

The fourteenth series of Top Gear aired during 2009-10 on BBC Two and BBC HD and consisted of 7 episodes, beginning on November 15, 2009, and concluding on January 3, 2010. The sixth episode was a special-edition entitled special from Bolivia, while the series was subsequently followed by four "Best Of Top Gear" specials, which aired within the initial months of 2010 during January and the beginning of February, and charted the best moments from Series 13 and 14.

Episodes[edit]

Total No. Title Reviews Features Guest(s) Original air date UK viewers
(million)[1]
112 1 Series 14, Episode 1 BMW 760LiMercedes-Benz S63 AMG Romanian GT road trip to find the Transfăgărăşan highway (Aston Martin DBS VolanteFerrari CaliforniaLamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 SpyderDacia Sandero) Eric Bana 15 November 2009 (2009-11-15) 6.70[nb 1]
The trio have had a disagreement about which is the best GT Car and so have headed for Romania, for a road trip to see if their choice is the best - Jeremy says it is the Aston Martin DBS Volante, Richard claims it is the Ferrari California, and James reckons it is the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder. Along this trip, they have a Sat-Nav race to the People's Palace and make use of the tunnels under it, visit a Romanian village, camp in their cars, before finally heading into the mountains to visit a road that could be the best in the world and better than the one they found previously - the Transfăgărăşan Highway. Meanwhile, May road tests the BMW 760Li and the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG to see which is best for some bankers with money, while Australian actor Eric Bana is the latest star in the Lacetti.
113 2 Series 14, Episode 2 Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 vs. Audi R8 V10 Build an electric car better than a G-Wiz Michael Sheen 22 November 2009 (2009-11-22) 6.48[nb 2]
None of the presenters like feel that the G-Wiz is a good electric car, so they decide to attempt to build their own which is much better. With Hammond taking on the car's chassis, suspension and brakes, James dealing with the power and propulsion, and Jeremy designing the interior and exterior, their initial creation is tested around Oxford and soon causes mayhem. With a re-think and given the name of the "Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust", the presenters take it to the MIRA Proving Ground and try pass the EU-required tests needed to make a car road legal (with a little cheating) before giving it to Autocar magazine for an independent test. Meanwhile, Clarkson reviews the expensive and boring V10-engined Audi R8, and the fun-to-drive but vulgar styling of the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, while Welsh actor Michael Sheen flies in from Los Angeles to do a lap in the reasonably priced car.
114 3 Series 14, Episode 3 Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino BalboniHawk HF3000 Fly an Airship caravan with a Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni • Why Lancia has made greatest number of great cars: (Lancia Stratos HFLancia Delta HF Integrale Evo II) Chris Evans 29 November 2009 (2009-11-29) 6.51[nb 3]
Top Gear always hates caravans and tries to destroy them as fast as they are made, so May proposes an ingenious solution to rid them from Britain's roads once and for all - turning them into airships. As he takes his proposed creation on a trip though the skies, Hammond heads off to the caravan site he is heading for, with a much better car to have on a caravanning holiday - the new Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni. Elsewhere, there is a look at some of the great cars made by the former car company Lancia, Clarkson tries out the Hawk HF3000, a continuation car of the Lancia Stratos, and radio DJ and presenter, Chris Evans, discusses his car history and his lap in the Lacetti.
115 4 Series 14, Episode 4 BMW X5 MAudi Q7 V12 TDIRange Rover (2010MY)Renault Twingo 133 Airport vehicle motorsport Guy RitchieRoss Kemp 6 December 2009 (2009-12-06) 6.29[nb 4]

Clarkson is testing out the Audi Q7 V12 TDI, the BMW X5 M and a new Range Rover (2010MY) to find which he loves best, before dealing with another letter demanding another "thorough" road test by heading to Belfast and seeing how good the Renaultsport Twingo 133 is. Meanwhile, Richard is at "Heathrow" to solve the problems caused by slow airport staff, to see if motorsport and a group of touring drivers can find out whether a catering truck, the mobile stairs, an articulated shuttle bus, a baggage train, an aircraft tug or an airport fire truck will become the basis for all airport vehicles in future, while Guy Ritchie is on the test track as the latest star to get around it in the Lacetti.

Note: Hammond's 'Airport Motorsport' film was originally intended for Series 13, but for unknown reasons it was postponed until this series.
116 5 Series 14, Episode 5 Noble M600 Make an automotive art gallery to prove cars are more popular than traditional art Jenson Button 20 December 2009 (2009-12-20) 6.90[nb 5]
The presenters see if they can prove that galleries can get more numbers if they used car-themed artwork, by taking over the MIMA gallery in Middlesbrough with nothing but artwork that features a car theme to it. While the trio each create their own artwork - Hammond creates a The Hay Wain-styled painting featuring a Pagani Zonda (that falls into a lake; Clarkson creates art with an F1 car and help from David Coulthard (and gets hit in the "plums" while doing so; May makes a sculpture from car parts (that he accidentally sets on fire - they also pick out car-themed pieces that they like while also making their own BMW "art car". Things are not so smooth at the gallery before their exhibits open to the public, as Hammond's PR work strays from its main subject, Clarkson messes up the art car, and May makes a boring and distracted recording for their audio tour, before the trio struggle to keep the visitors moving to achieve their target of 30,000 visitors in one week. Elsewhere, Clarkson reviews the very fast Noble M600 on the track, and Jenson Button returns for another go in the Liana to see if he can beat his previous time.
117 6 "Bolivia Special" N/A Bolivia Special N/A 27 December 2009 (2009-12-27) 7.45[nb 6]
In an attempt to see which is the best 4x4 off-road vehicle in the world, the presenters take themselves on a journey across 1,000 miles (1,600 km), from the rainforests of Bolivia to the Pacific coast of Chile, with each buying a second-hand 4x4 off-roader from the Bolivian classifieds, within a budget of £3,500 - Clarkson thinks it is the Range Rover Classic he bought that has the engine he did not expect it had, May feels the Suzuki SJ413 he purchased is the one despite being in red and not blue, and Richard believes it is the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 he found despite the amateur attempt by someone to make it a convertible. On their journey, the trio face deadly insects and tough rainforest undergrowth, make a tricky crossing over a gully and a river, the most dangerous road in the world, the El Camino de la Muerte (Death Road), climb up into freezing, thin altitudes, and make a descent down a steep sand dune towards their final destination.
118 7 Series 14, Episode 7 Lexus LFABMW X6Vauxhall Insignia VXR 'Low-budget' worldwide review of the BMW X6Vauxhall Insignia VXR • May and Margaret Calvert reflect on the evolution of UK road signs • Top Gear Awards 2009 Seasick Steve 3 January 2010 (2010-01-03) 6.52[nb 7]
The presenters are faced with a serious problem - they were budgeted for fourteen episodes, but have spent too much on the first thirteen, and thus have to be careful with how much they spend for this episode. However, Richard wastes quite a bit with animated graphics as he takes a drive in the £340,000 Lexus LFA, while Clarkson spends a lot travelling to Spain, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Australia, and Barbados, to see how good the BMW X6, leaving May with virtually little as he reviews the Vauxhall Insignia VXR and meets with road sign designer Margaret Calvert. Elsewhere, the 2009 Top Gear Awards are announced, and American musician, Seasick Steve, becomes the last star to take on the Lacetti.

Best-of episodes[edit]

Total No. Title Feature Original air date UK viewers
(million)[1]
S18 CE-1 "The Best Of Top Gear: 2009 No.1" Best Moments from Series 13-14 - Part 1 10 January 2010 (2010-01-10) 3.12
A look back at some of the best moments from Series 13 and 14, including the race between the Bugatti Veyron and the Mclaren F1, and the trio's 1940s race between the car, bike and train.
S19 CE-2 "The Best Of Top Gear: 2009 No.2" Best Moments from Series 13-14 - Part 2 24 January 2010 (2010-01-24) 2.37
A second look back at some of the best moments from Series 13 and 14, including the presenters GT road trip across Romania.
S20 CE-3 "The Best Of Top Gear: 2009 No.3" Best Moments from Series 13-14 - Part 3 31 January 2010 (2010-01-31) 2.08
A third look back at some of the best moments from Series 13 and 14, including a reminder of some of the great cars that Lancia made.
S21 CE-4 "The Best Of Top Gear: 2009 No.4" Best Moments from Series 13-14 - Part 4 7 February 2010 (2010-02-07) 2.25
A fourth look back at some of the bets moments from Series 13 and 14, including the presenters' efforts to make a better electric car than the G-Wiz.

Criticism and Controversy[edit]

Romanian Road Trip film[edit]

In the opening episode of Series 14, the presenters were filmed taking a road trip in three grand tourers they had chosen across the country of Romania. While driving through the countryside, Clarkson commented on Romania as being "Borat country, with gypsies and Russian playboys", in reference to the 2006 mockumentary that starred Sacha Baron Cohen as his fictional journalist character from Kazakhstan, in which Cohen filmed a few scenes for the film in the country. Because the film had already stirred controversy in the country, with a number of local Roma who had been involved in the film attempting to sue 20th Century Fox and Cohen, Romanian newspapers claimed that the comments had been "offensive" and had produced "bad publicity for their country",[2] with the Romanian Times also reporting that Clarkson had called Romania a "gypsy land".[3]

Further complaints were also made in regards to a scene in which Clarkson donned a pork pie hat and called it a "gypsy" hat, while commenting: "I'm wearing this hat so the gypsies think I am [another gypsy]." Following the episode, the Romanian ambassador sent a letter to the producers of Top Gear, in which he showed his appreciation for the show, highlighted the press's freedom of expression, the non-discriminatory spirit, and the fact that 89.5% of the country's population is Romanian, 6.5% is ethnic Hungarians, 2.5% are ethnic Roma and 1.5% are other ethnic groups, but asked that the episode be re-edited to exclude the offensive material in future showings.[4] In another response to the episode after its broadcast, a group of Romanians hacked over two pages of the Daily Telegraph website, covering them in Romanian flags and playing Gheorghe Zamfir - Lonely Shepherd (featured on the soundtrack to the film Kill Bill) while stating:[5][6]

"We are sick of being mis-represented as Gypsies, and thanks to Top Gear, have been publicly insulted."

Notes[edit]

The viewing figures shown in the Episode Table above, are a combination of the figures from the BBC Two broadcast and the BBC HD broadcast.

  1. ^ 6.41 million on BBC Two, 286,000 on BBC HD
  2. ^ 6.19 million on BBC Two, 285,000 on BBC HD
  3. ^ 6.10 million on BBC Two, 412,000 on BBC HD
  4. ^ 6.09 million on BBC Two, 196,000 on BBC HD
  5. ^ 6.35 million on BBC Two, 550,000 on BBC HD
  6. ^ 7.07 million on BBC Two, 378,000 on BBC HD
  7. ^ 6.05 million on BBC Two, 472,000 on BBC HD

References[edit]