Top Gear (series 19)

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Top Gear (series 19)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 7
Original network BBC Two
Original release 27 January 2013 (2013-01-27) – 10 March 2013 (2013-03-10)
Series chronology
List of Top Gear episodes

The nineteenth series of British motoring programme Top Gear began on BBC Two and BBC HD, on 27 January 2013, with the usual presenting team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig.[1]


Total No. Title Review Features/Challenges Guest Original air date UK viewers
147 1 Series 19, Episode 1 Pagani HuayraBentley Continental GT Speed Take the Bentley Continental GT Speed to a Welsh Rally stage. • Build a car smaller than a Peel P50 (Jeremy's "P45") Damian LewisKris Meeke • The Cast of Dragons' Den 27 January 2013 (2013-01-27) 6.65[nb 1]

Review: Richard reviews the Pagani Huayra, the latest supercar from the Italian manufacturer. The car is capable of savage acceleration, with a lot of attention placed into the bodywork, interior and utilising cutting edge technology. Despite the massive twin-turbo engine and horsepower, thanks to its sophisticated aerodynamic package, the car can easily be driven hard without the risk of spinning. The Huayra also set the fastest time on the Top Gear Test Track in the hands of The Stig, 1:13.8, beating the previous record, set by the Ariel Atom V8. Because of that, Jeremy writes the unpronounceable Pagani on the power lap board.

News: The Dacia Sandero is now on sale in the UK. The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black has been updated to produce extra horsepower, but the handling is still challenging. Jeremy claims that he has found a male equivalent version of Fifty Shades of Grey, presenting a kid's book about tractors. The new Corvette Stingray is announced. James May turned fifty the previous week. Also, the rally team composed of war amputees (previously mentioned in series 17, episode 6) finally completed their challenge of finishing the 2013 Dakar Rally.

Review: James reviews the new Bentley Continental GT, and notes the new engine and subtle ride characteristics. Believing that the Bentley, with a four wheel drive system and a big, powerful engine, can handle things worse than a Welsh countryside road, James takes the car onto a Welsh stage of the World Rally Championship, with Kris Meeke behind the wheel, and James being the co-driver. Despite the car having less grip, more weight, an electronic handbrake (unsuitable for usage on a rally stage) and James not being proficient at giving pace notes, the Bentley was actually faster than one of the full WRC cars.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Damian Lewis takes his turn in the car, and drifts the Kia Cee'd around the snow-coated test track and crosses the finish line sideways, setting the slowest ever time of 2:09.1. Jeremy cheers Damian up by making a separate board for snow (he justs put the time underneath and to the side of the fastest lap time on that board) and says that he is the fastest driver ever on their "snow board".

Car Creation Challenge: Jeremy attempts to build a car smaller than the Peel P50, naming his creation the P45. It was based on a quad bike, with aluminium bodywork fitted, designed to wrap around the driver. He then took it on an excessive road test, featuring a "terrifying" dual carriageway test on the A3, a demonstration of using it on the coach, using it in a shopping centre, the British Library, in a theatre (specifically the performance of the We Will Rock You musical at the Dominion Theatre), in a car wash, and when at the end he presented his idea to the 'Dragons' in a Dragons' Den style format (featuring fellow dragons Theo Paphitis, Duncan Bannatyne, Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden). All of the dragons declare themselves "out" and back in the studio, Richard and Jeremy concluded that for the P45 to be put in production and succeed, Jeremy would have to be dead.
148 2 Series 19, Episode 2 None Supercar road trip from Las Vegas, Nevada to Calexico, California: (Lexus LFASRT ViperAston Martin Vanquish) Mick Fleetwood 3 February 2013 (2013-02-03) 6.42[nb 2]

News: Jeremy comes up with a solution on how to solve the crisis affecting Britain's town centres: sacking all traffic wardens and removing double yellow lines. The trio then review a Chinese product designed to stop drowsiness behind the wheel, before they took a first look at the 2013 Jaguar F-Type. They praised its styling, but criticised its high price tag of £60,000, as well as its target audience. James mentions PSA Peugeot Citroen's car intended to run on compressed air; Jeremy attempted to use a fire extinguisher to demonstrate, but failed after only causing himself to turn slowly around.

Road Trip: In another challenge, the presenters picked three super cars to take on an epic road trip. Since it was Richard's turn to select the challenge location, the team went to the Western United States, starting from Valley of Fire, northeast of Las Vegas. Jeremy selected the Lexus LFA, James chose the new Aston Martin Vanquish, and Richard took the SRT Viper. After a brief drive in the Nevada desert, the trio headed to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, specifically the drag strip, to compete in drag races organised by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department - they organised it with the theory that allowing people to drag race, legally, at a closed circuit, would prevent street racing. Despite the high performance of their cars, the trio were beaten by modified production cars, and all-wheel drive cars, in each of their drag races.

After leaving Las Vegas the next day, James and Richard made fun of Jeremy's LFA for lacking not only Bluetooth connection and iPod connectors, but cup holders, despite being the most expensive car. They were then tasked to head to Willow Springs International Motorsports Park, but, along the way, they stop on a grooved road (known as the Civic Musical Road), where each car drives over the grooves and produces the notes to the William Tell Overture; the trio considered the road to be "annoying and out of tune". When they reach Willow Springs, they were forced to play an aerial version of Laser Quest, where they would drive 5 laps around the track, whilst being chased by two Aermacchi SF.260 armed with laser guns. In the end, James won the challenge by being hit only 17 times.

Departing Willow Springs, the group headed for Los Angeles, California. In order to do "real world" testing, Richard devised a challenge to see who could burn the best elevens and do the best donuts at the Sepulveda Dam. The three instead ended up drawing a phallus (or a "gentleman's sausage" as Jeremy put it) and left LA. The team then stayed for a night in Palm Springs. However, the producers gave them a final challenge. The three would drive from Palm Springs to the Mexican border at Calexico the following morning, and the last to make it to the Mexican border would have to travel into the country itself to drive the Mastretta MXT, a Mexican sports car made fun of by the presenters in an earlier series, for a later segment on the show. In revenge for taking them to America and Richard's comments about the Mexicans and the Mastretta,[3] Jeremy and James sabotaged Richard's Viper, causing him to lose 10 minutes in the race. Despite making a stop for fuel, Jeremy made it to the finish line first, with James in second. Richard then walked to the border being the last person to arrive. At the studio, James and Jeremy end by saying that the Viper was awful and that the Vanquish and LFA were amazing.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood drove the Kia Cee'd around the Test Track with a lap of 1:45.4.
149 3 Series 19, Episode 3 Toyota GT86 / Subaru BRZShelby Mustang GT500 Epic race from Wembley to the San Siro stadium in Milan: Shelby Mustang GT500 vs. the pan-European rail network Amy Macdonald 10 February 2013 (2013-02-10) 6.36[nb 3]

Review: Jeremy reviews the Toyota GT86 which he praises due to the fact that it only costs £25,000 and is a proper rear wheel drive sports car. He especially loves the ease at which it can slide and praises its equipment levels. The only things wrong with it are the looks and the Subaru BRZ. The cars are almost identical, but Jeremy chooses the Toyota GT86 via a game of "Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe". The Stig then completed a lap in the Toyota 1:31:3. James later mentions in the "News" section that for every 10 BRZs Subaru can sell, Toyota can sell 90 GT86s.

News: They discuss the new Subaru Impreza, which is not coming to UK, and they then talk about the new Maserati Quattroporte.

"Car Vs. Public Transport" Race: The producers have reserved a single ticket to a football match (Champions League, AC Milan v Anderlecht) at the San Siro in Milan, Northern Italy. To decide who got the ticket, the trio had a race from the Wembley Stadium to the San Siro. Jeremy drove the Shelby Mustang GT500, while Richard and James travelled on public transport, with the rules the same as before for any of these races - Richard and James are not allowed to use any cars, and Jeremy is not allowed to use any trains. According to Jeremy, since the last epic race, trains had become faster and boats had become slower. Richard and James therefore, opened up a big lead (of an hour), whilst travelling on the Eurostar, and arrived in Paris while Jeremy was still crossing the English Channel on a ferry. After reaching France and needing to stop for fuel, Jeremy discovered that the Mustang could only hold 50 litres in its fuel tank. After leaving Paris, Richard and James discussed what to do upon arriving in Milan, since only one of them could get the ticket; the pair decided to stick together until they were close to the finish line.

As they neared the Alps, the high speed TGV had to slow down as it approached the mountains that surround Northern Italy. Thus, Jeremy began to catch up, putting him nearly neck and neck with the train, until road works at the Mont Blanc Tunnel slowed him down. The train, meanwhile, soon began to accelerate again and reached Northern Italy ahead of Jeremy. Richard and James used the Milan Metro to get to the streets near the finish line. Once there, James maintained his opposition to run on television, leaving Richard to run off alone to find the finish line - a bar in the IM Villa Veuve Cliequot. James, however, had a plan to beat Richard - he assembled a bicycle which he had hidden in one of his bags and rode it to the bar, only to find that Richard had already gotten there and had won the race and the ticket to the football match.[4] Moments later, Jeremy arrived and accepted defeat for the first time ever in an epic race of all the series. Back in the studio, Jeremy blamed the roadworks in France for costing him the race, as well as saying that although the Mustang looked great, sounded brilliant and was very fast he did not enjoy it as the refinement was like a 1970s Ford Escort which explains why American cars are so cheap and announced that "the car as a concept is finished".

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Amy Macdonald drove the Kia Cee'd around the Test Track in 1:44.4. During one of her practice runs, Amy accidentally destroyed one of the runway lights, which Jeremy gives to her after revealing the lap time.
150 4 Series 19, Episode 4 Mastretta MXT in Mexico • Hot hatchbacks: (Ford Focus STRenault Megane RenaultSport Cup 265Vauxhall Astra VXR) Rugby match with Kia Cee'ds Lewis HamiltonMatt Le BlancEric ClaptonBruce Willis 17 February 2013 (2013-02-17) 5.39[nb 4]

Review: Jeremy reviews the Vauxhall Astra VXR which he praises entirely for its speed, looks, handling, practicality and comfort however criticises the £27,000 price tag and the embarrassing Vauxhall Badge. He then moves onto the Ford Focus ST which although he praises for being more practical cheaper and less embarrassing than the Astra, He criticises for being less nice to drive, slower and uglier than the Astra. He finally moves onto the Renault Megane RenaultSport Cup 265 which although he praises for the handling and nimbleness he hates the slow speed, useless interior and if specced up the most expensive of the three. Jeremy chooses the Vauxhall as the best, despite Richard arguing that the Ford is the best and James argues that the Renault is the best. The Stig did laps of each car, the Focus being the slowest at 1:29.6, the Astra VXR at 1:28.3, and the Megane in 1:27.7. Despite this, Jeremy chooses the Toyota GT86 as the best despite that being slower than all the hot hatches.

News: They discuss the newest cars, such as the Alfa Romeo 4C, the next generation Ford Mustang would be sold in Great Britain, but the UK version would come with a 2.0 EcoBoost engine, and the importance of the handbrake turn in "male development".

Review: Jeremy tests the all new Kia Cee'd, putting it through myriad strange road tests. Including Matt LeBlanc doing a lap with both the old and new Cee'd, Bruce Willis (in character as John McClane) testing the horn of the Cee'd, Eric Clapton testing its auxiliary input jack, and Jeremy testing the Cee'd's self parallel parking feature and luggage tray.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Lewis Hamilton opens up about his move from McLaren to Mercedes AMG and takes the old Suzuki Liana around the Test Track, setting the fastest F1 time, a 1:42.9.

Review: As punishment for losing the previous race, Richard is forced to review the Mastretta MXT in Mexico. Minding his words, he states that the MXT was an ambitious undertaking for the first-time manufacturer, but that it had its share of flaws with other cars of new makes.

Challenge: Jeremy and James play car rugby using Kia Cee'ds (which Jeremy had reviewed earlier) and Kia Sportages at Twickenham Stadium and the Stig as a referee in a Vauxhall Astra Police car. Jeremy's team wins.
151 5 Series 19, Episode 5 Range Rover Jeremy and Richard Design a vehicle for the elderly ("Rover James"/Fiat Multipla) in ChristchurchRange Rover vs an autonomous military machine James McAvoy 24 February 2013 (2013-02-24) 6.45[nb 5]

News: Volkswagen will launch a GTI version of the new Golf and a GT version of Up will be launched. Kia will launch the Pro Cee'd GT. The Mini Paceman is launched, and the trio mock the front end of the car, claiming that it looks depressing and catastrophically sad. The trio agree that the British are the best drivers. Alfa-Romeo releases photographs of the Gloria, in which the trio make fun of its name. Richard had arrived late so James and Jeremy had attempted to play tennis with cars (the film went through a lot of editing).

Review: James reviews the new Range Rover in London. The new car is completely redesigned, is 400 kg lighter due to Aluminium body, has active suspension, a new gearbox,a new minimalist dashboard, and offers better comfort. James then races it against the TerraMax at Nevada Automotive Test Centre, Nevada. The race was to a hill 10 mile across, passing through rocky terrain, hillock, mud, river and sand-tracks. TerraMax was switched to drone mode during the race to deflate the tyres and take a short-cut. The Range Rover's automatic Terrain Response System is demonstrated. James takes a longer route to ascend the hill but still wins the race. At the studio, the trio consider the driverless cars to be not very practical.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: James McAvoy drove the Kia Cee'd around the Test Track with a lap of 1:43.6 despite having less experience of driving cars. He drove over a slick grassy patch in the last corner but managed to keep the car under control.

Car Creation Challenge: Jeremy and Richard attempt to design a car targeted at elderly people, with Jeremy demonstrating the complexity of modern cars' dashboard. Richard had brought a Fiat Multipla and soon were both modifying it - Jeremy replaced the dashboard, considering it to be too complicated for elders; Richard removed the airbags (saying they were too dangerous for the elderly), and used them to create a safety feature; Jeremy made a speedometer which reads 20 mph at the top speed, and also used an old design switch for a rear fog light (which did nothing). In addition to these modifications, Jeremy also installed a pet-cage and replaces the back seat with high seat chairs and the Fiat badge with a Rover badge. The pair then painted it in beige after observing the shade of a hearing aid, while Richard used water-resistant fabric as seat covers, although hurting his eye while stitching it.

To road-test their creation, Jeremy and Richard drove it to Christchurch, Dorset. Along with the new features and changes made to the Fiat, the car also had large front bumpers made up of foam, large rear-view mirrors, a squeaking ball under the brake-pedal, a large magnifying-glass on the dashboard, and a satnav (voiced by Richard Briers) with only four destinatons (Home, Post Office, Peggy's House or Bingo). The car also had an artificial cat[citation needed] on the roof which later fell out on the way to the Bingo hall. After Bingo, Richard showed off his system for finding the location of parked car by launching a flare and then inflating a balloon. Jeremy later showed that the radio only plays the Horse of the Year Show theme on a loop, which both later find to be irresistible to clap along. Finally, they revealed the new name of the car to be the James.

Soon they picked up three elderly ladies from a pensioners' home for road-testing and drive them to a bowling club where it is shown that Richard fitted the airbag at the rear for parking assist which deploys the airbag on close proximity. Jeremy and Richard buy food for a picnic, choosing only British foods. They attach the shopping trolley they used, to their built-in Tow hitch and head for their picnic site. It begins to rain, and the roof of the car starts to leak. Jeremy and Richard end up choosing a picnic spot on a roadside where they found the trolley had been damaged during reversing and the food to be soaked, yet despite this, they managed to eat the food which was not ruined. The next day both left Christchurch and Jeremy showed off his system to prevent the car from being driven on the wrong side of the road; the car initially sounds a alarm and later the tyres, doors and body panels, explode which stops the car and renders it immobile.

At the studio, James considers the heater to be complicated and Jeremy's system to be pointless as it made the car useless afterwards. Despite these issues, the trio gave thanks and respect to the just recently deceased Richard Briers for providing the Sat-Nav's voice, and announced the Africa special.
152 6 "Africa Special, Part 1" None Find source of the Nile: (BMW 528i TouringSubaru Impreza WRX EstateVolvo 850R Estate) None 3 March 2013 (2013-03-03) 7.33[nb 6]

First of the two-episode Africa Special, taking place in Africa. The episode was shot in 2012.

Challenge, Part 1: The trio are told to buy three used estate cars for up to £1,500 in Britain and report at a small village in rural Uganda. Jeremy arrives in a BMW 528i Touring, Richard in a Subaru Impreza WRX Estate and James in a Volvo 850R Estate. Their challenge is revealed once they arrived: to find the true source of the river Nile.

They set off, and discover that exploring isn't as difficult as first thought when they go on a nice easy drive and find Lake Victoria, which the Victorian Explorers thought was the source of the Nile. However, once there, they are then informed that it is not the actual source of the Nile and there were two other disputed locations for it, one in Rwanda and one in Burundi. However, Jeremy insists that both of these locations are wrong and decides they should head west towards Lake Edward to see whether there is a river that links it from Lake Kivu in Rwanda, which he believes is the source.

On their journey west, they stop to visit the Entebbe Airport, scene of an important hostage rescue by Israeli Special Forces, and discover that their back-up car for the trip is a Ford Scorpio Estate. They soon continue onwards into Kampala, Uganda's capital city, where they get held up in a heavy traffic jam overnight, finding it to be some of the most horrendous traffic they'd ever seen; while still stuck in it in the morning, the trio buy breakfast from local vendors.

Once out of the jam, they continued westward on well-maintained highways, finding their trip relatively easy, before stopping in Jezza, a village in Mpigi District, in which they jokingly buy Richard a present, a large living-room chair, to demonstrate that his car is too small. After driving along tracks past tea plantations in an attempt to find a teahouse hotel which Richard had seen on various TV programmes, the group return to the city and arrive in Mbarara, where they stay in a hotel they eventually find, only to find their rooms in filthy condition, with soiled mattresses. As a result, both Jeremy and James are annoyed at Richard. Next morning, they leave the hotel, where Richard attempts to redeem himself by giving the idea to make their cars into 'mobile campers'. Each go out to find what they want and change their estates - James modifies his Volvo by adding a library and a workshop (which Jeremy admits was a smart idea); Richard adds a stove, sink, and cupboards for cooking for the trio; and Jeremy adds a coffin (to put his clothes in), a fridge mainly for beer, a bed lined he would be sleeping on with Egyptian cotton, along with attachments to the side for a portable bathroom.

They soon leave for Lake Edward, camping overnight there because of its beauty before heading in search of the river heading for Lake Kivu. While James suffers minor problems from rough roads and is left behind to recover, Richard and Jeremy check the rivers flowing into the lake, only to find none of the rivers connect the two lakes as they all flow in the wrong direction, just as James returns. This destroys Jeremy's theory, and so that night, he checks the map and devises a new one; he believes that the source of the Nile must be on the other side of Lake Victoria. His reasoning is that the Mediterranean Sea is effectively an inland sea and so Gibraltar is the true mouth of the Nile, rather than Alexandria in Egypt making him believe the source is somewhere around the east side of the lake.

After resolving this, they decide that they must drive straight to the other side of Lake Victoria to get to the southeast coast in Tanzania near the Serengeti. They start this journey by heading south into the Rwenzori Mountains, finding the going hard, while most of the time their vehicles get stuck in mud on the tracks they use. James' Volvo, having lost its protective skid plate the day before, is fixed by using a piece of metal from the passenger door of Jeremy's BMW, something he later discovers and accuses him of theft; in addition to this, Jeremy's estate is also struck by a falling branch, which cracks the windscreen. With no protection for the BMW's underside, the handbrake fails and with the throttle problems growing worse, he is unable to perform hill starts. Richard's Subaru, being the most suited to off-roading, fares relatively well in comparison.
153 7 "Africa Special, Part 2" None Find source of the Nile: (BMW 528i TouringSubaru Impreza WRX EstateVolvo 850R Estate) None 10 March 2013 (2013-03-10) 7.48[nb 7]

Second of the two-episode Africa Special, taking place in Africa. The episode was shot in 2012.

Challenge, Part 1 (continued): After spending the night in the countryside, James wakes up to find out that Jeremy has taken a piece of metal from the bonnet of the Volvo to fix the damage James did to his BMW. James is left in a bad mood, angered more by the shoddiness of Jeremy's work than the theft itself. As well as "fixing" his car, Jeremy attaches a log to the back of his BMW to resolve his problems with hill starts. Although it works, it backfires when the trailing log bounces up and shatters his rear window, forcing the trio to pick up the broken glass as the road is used by locals who walk barefoot. After driving across Rwanda and crossing into Tanzania, both James and Jeremy find replacements for what they lost from their cars off Richard's bonnet and rear window. Richard replaces those missing bits by stealing Jeremy's toilet and placing it on the bonnet and a piece of cardboard for the rear window.

As they travel eastwards, the trio are stopped by a river and realise it is too deep to wade through with their cars, especially since there are crocodiles lurking within it. Using a flying drone with a camera attached to it (that Jeremy invented for the trip), they learn there is no bridge or crossing point both up-river and down-river, thus Jeremy comes up with the idea of making their own car-ferry, designed specifically to take their cars across the river, (similar to one they had seen in Albania) using wood and rope to fashion it. While both Jeremy and Richard manage to get across with it but nearly get stuck at the other end (along with Richard losing his present), and James almost sinks the ferry with his car since the weight of it isn't evenly distributed (which the danger was further heightened when Jeremy decided to pull the ferry using his car), the trio manage to get across safely. However, when the producers tried to get the Ford Scorpio back-up car onto the ferry, the ferry wasn't secured, so the car missed it and went straight into the river, much to the three's amusement, to which they drove off to leave the producers to clean up their mess.

Upon reaching Lake Victoria, the three decide to use a proper ferry to get across it to Tanzania. When they reach the other side the next day, Richard decides to disembark at a beach and show off his 4X4 Subaru, but gets it stuck in the sand, and when trying to repay the 40 locals that helped him to get it out, he ended up losing his lunch to them. The others disembark at a proper jetty and later reunite to find the river they believe leads to the source.

While stopping for a moment, all three decide that the cars are all "winners", but when separate, they each claim that their car is the best. Eventually, they finally find the river they were looking for and begin to follow it to the predicted source of the Nile. However, they come across a rough road they have to travel down, which Jeremy describes as a true "Car-Killer", and it soon starts to take its toll - Jeremy's airbags deploy from the sheer force of the ride, James has several punctures, and is forced replace a damaged alloy, while Richard's car, however, suffers the worst damage when the left wheel's rod steering, which was rusted to begin with, finally snaps apart, and he is forced to fix it with minimal parts during the night, with the back-up car no longer available. Despite usual Top Gear behaviour in such a situation, the other two, decide to wait for Richard for a while longer the next morning before setting off. Just as their deadline is nearly reached, James and Jeremy spot their third arriving, Richard having fixed his car enough to survive the last leg.

Challenge, Part 2: James and Jeremy decide once Richard is back, that since only one person can be remembered for finding the source, and the other two will be forgotten, that they should have a race to find the source. Richard and James set off fast, whilst Jeremy, unusually out of character, decides to slow down to avoid incidents. He eventually speeds up, after realising he is making little progress. After many blind decisions had been made, and many wrong turns, the rear suspension in James' Volvo collapses close to the site of the source, and he is forced to search on foot, though Jeremy and Richard soon follow suit. In the end, James finds the source first, which turns out to be merely a very small pond being fed from somewhere beneath large rocks, arriving a matter of seconds before Jeremy, with Richard following a little later. The pair congratulate James, and two flags, the Top Gear one and the British Flag, are planted at the spot, with the three posing for a photo like the Victorian explorers. A caption over the photo, says "James May, Discoverer of the True Source of the Nile, and Two Other Blokes."

As the credits roll, each member of the crew, like in previous specials and such, has their name altered with each displaying their surname with "Dr." before and ", I Presume?" afterwards (such as "Dr. Clarkson, I Presume?" and so forth).


  1. ^ 5.47 million on BBC Two, 1.18 million on BBC HD
  2. ^ 5.02 million on BBC Two, 1.4 million on BBC HD.
  3. ^ 5.01 million on BBC Two, 1.35 million on BBC HD.
  4. ^ 3.92 million on BBC Two, 1.39 million on BBC HD.
  5. ^ 5.00 million on BBC Two, 1.45 million on BBC HD.
  6. ^ 5.85 million on BBC Two, 1.48 million on BBC HD.
  7. ^ 5.89 million on BBC Two, 1.59 million on BBC HD.

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