Top Gear (series 15)

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Top Gear (series 15)
Top Gear Series 15 Promo 2010.jpg
Promotional poster
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 6
Original network BBC Two
Original release 27 June (2010-06-27) – 1 August 2010 (2010-08-01)
Series chronology
← Previous
Series 14
Next →
Series 16
List of Top Gear episodes

The fifteenth series of Top Gear was aired during 2010 on BBC Two and BBC HD and consisted of 6 episodes, beginning on 27 June and concluding on 1 August. Prior to the series beginning, the show's return was advertised with a trailer that borrowed the over-excited responses of the parents of a young boy who were watching the Top Gear team filming the Motorhome challenge, from a clip that was originally published on Youtube.[1][2] Following its conclusion, it was subsequently followed by two "Best Of Top Gear" specials, charting the best moments from the series.

This series was Ben Collins final one as The Stig, as following a legal dispute with him in the latter half of August 2010 over his autobiography, The Man in the White Suit, the BBC decided not to renew his contract with the show.[3] The series also saw the Chevrolet Lacetti being retired and replaced by a Kia Cee'd, leading to the Celebrity Lap Board being cleared for the times made in the new car.


Total No. Title Reviews Features Guest Original air date UK viewers
119 1 Series 15, Episode 1 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: 1990 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 drving 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.
120 2 Series 15, Episode 2 Porsche 911 Sport ClassicPorsche Boxster Spyder Find a £5,000 everyday second-hand sports saloon for track days (Mercedes-Benz 190BMW M3Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth) Alastair Campbell 4 July 2010 (2010-07-04) 6.60[nb 1]

The trio are in Germany, and have bought some second-hand four-door saloons within a budget of £5,000, to see which is the best choice for the ultimate track day car - May believes it is the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth he bought, Hammond attempts to prove it is his BMW E36 M3 he got, and Clarkson settles on seeing if he can convince the other two that it is his Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth that he purchased. After meeting up in Berlin, the trio travel across the country and test their cars in a series of challenges, including seeing how fast they can drive them on an Autobahn, escorting a brass band in their cars, subject them to a comprehensive road-worthiness test by the ADAC, before finally heading to the EuroSpeedway Lausitz and riding with the Stig's German cousin as he attempts to do a fast lap with their car, and seeing how many views they got when they filmed themselves doing a lap of the circuit before uploading their video to Youtube. 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 challenge from the 'Ultimate Second-Hand Track Car' film was not shown in the episode. The challenge saw the presenters perform an economy run, filling up their cars with precisely 3 imperial gallons (14 L) and seeing if they could drive out of Germany into Poland with that amount and nothing else. The cut segment of the film can be seen online.
121 3 Series 15, Episode 3 Chevrolet Camaro SSMercedes-Benz E63 AMG Find the greatest four-door supercar by driving wedding guests: (Aston Martin RapidePorsche Panamera TurboMaserati Quattroporte GTS) Rupert GrintRubens Barrichello 11 July 2010 (2010-07-11) 4.58[nb 2]

Businessmen will certainly want a good four-door saloon car for driving, so the boys see if they can help to find one - May believes it is the rather good-looking Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S, despite it being a little fiddly and complicated, Hammond thinks it is the looks of the Aston Martin Rapide, despite it being too expensive, while Clarkson is unsure his choice of the Porsche Panamera Turbo is right, because it is ugly (in the trio's eyes). Starting in London, the presenters try out their 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.

Note: The wedding party featured in the 'Best Business Saloon Car' film were a genuine party; both the bride and groom got married during filming of the segment, and appeared in the studio where they received a gift of a custom toilet seat for allowing the presenters to chauffeur them.
122 4 Series 15, Episode 4 Audi R8 V10 SpyderPorsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet Building motorhomes (Land Rover 110Citroën CXLotus Excel) Andy GarcíaLauren McAvoy 18 July 2010 (2010-07-18) 7.05[nb 3]
The presenters wonder if they can make the campervan "cool" again, and so set to work at coming up with their very own design from a used car, with the only requirements they need to meet being that it is equipped with sleeping accommodations, cooking facilities, and a "bog" - Hammond makes his from a Land Rover 110 that he designs to be "expandable" like American motorhomes, Clarkson creates a three-story campervan out of a Citroën CX which he thinks is a genius design, and May sets a shuttle shaped skybox on top of a Lotus Excel with an "escape chute" that leads inside the car. To see how good their creations are, the trio drive to a campsite in Cornwall to see how they fare on the road, set themselves up for the night, take to a beach in the morning where they get surfing lessons, cook in them with ingredients they can find at a local gas station, before finally driving to a local beauty spot where one of the boys' creations undergoes an "accident". Meanwhile, Clarkson is on the track to review the Audi R8 V10 Spyder and the Porsche 997 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.
123 5 Series 15, Episode 5 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 his 1988 F1 racing car. Tom CruiseCameron Diaz 25 July 2010 (2010-07-25) 7.48[nb 4]

Hammond heads to Riksgränsen to see what improvements have been made Volkswagen Touareg since Top Gear reviewed the last one, before driving a customised Touareg in a race against snowmobile racers Dan Lang and Daniel Bodin. Meanwhile, May returns to the Ehra-Lessien test track with the Bugatti Veyron SuperSport, an updated version of the Bugatti Veyron, to see if it can reclaim the crown of the "Fastest Production Car in the World" by attempting to reach an even faster speed than before, while actors, Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise, are promoting their new movie Knight and Day while seeing who was faster in the Kia when they did a lap of the Test Track. Finally, Clarkson pays tribute to the late Ayrton Senna,[5] who would have been celebrating his 50th birthday (at the time the episode was first broadcast), by 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: Because of licensing reasons, the 'Ayrton Senna Tribute' film has not been shown since it was first aired; all repeats of this episode end after the 'Star in a Reasonably Priced Car' segment and go straight to the credits.
124 6 Series 15, Episode 6 Ferrari 458 Italia Old British roadsters for £5000: (Jensen-HealeyLotus ElanTVR S2) 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.

Note: This was Ben Collins final appearance as The Stig; he was axed from the show after the BBC decided to not renew his contract, following a legal dispute between the two parties over Collins' autobiography.

Best-of episodes[edit]

Total No. Title Feature Original air date UK viewers
S22 CE-1 "The Best Of Top Gear: 2010 No.1" Best Moments from Series 15 - Part 1 8 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.
S23 CE-2 "The Best Of Top Gear: 2010 No.2" Best Moments from Series 15 - Part 2 15 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.

Track Day YouTube Clips[edit]

During the second episode of Series 15, the presenters were tasked with finding a second-hand sports saloon that would be perfect for track days. The challenge of this task was for each presenter to film themselves doing a lap of the EuroSpeedway Lausitz's circuit and posting the completed film onto YouTube. Each presenters individual video was not shown completely on the show, but the full length, unedited videos can be viewed online via the links below:

Criticism and Controversy[edit]

"Woman wearing Burka" comment[edit]

During the News segment of the fifth episode, Clarkson got into a discussion with Hammond, in which he joked 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,[6] with the singer Lily Allen writing on Twitter that the joke was "distasteful",[7] while a Mediawatch spokesperson said that Clarkson "should learn to keep quiet".[8] Prior to the joke being aired, a debate had been ongoing over the use of the burka; Faeeza Vaid, co-ordinator of the Muslim Women's Network UK, criticised the joke, saying:[9]

"The debate surrounding the burka is a serious issue which shouldn't be publicly joked about. Rather than joking about it, we should be having serious dialogue."

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.[10]


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.


  1. ^ "Top Gear - Season 15 trailer". 22 June 2010. 
  2. ^ "TopGear motorhomes: official pics". 21 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Hough, Andrew (3 Sep 2010). "The Stig: Ben Collins 'could become face of new Top Gear style TV show'". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 4 Sep 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Weekly Top 10 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "BBC receives Top Gear complaints after Jeremy Clarkson's G-string under burka joke". Metro. 27 July 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Leach, Ben (28 July 2010). "Jeremy Clarkson joins burka debate". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  8. ^ Love, Ryan (27 July 2010). "Clarkson 'burka joke sparks complaints'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Cable, Simon; Revoir, Paul (27 July 2010). "Jeremy Clarkson outrages viewers by announcing on Top Gear he'd seen saucy underwear beneath Muslim woman's burka". Mail Online. London. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Bland, Antonio (30 July 2010). "Clarkson was right about burkas and red G-strings". The Week. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 

External links[edit]