"I went on the internet and I found this" (partially found photos showcased during Top Gear News segments; 2008)

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This article has been tagged as NSFW due to its crude subject matter.


Wide shot of Series 11: Episode 1, which featured one of the unidentified shock photos.

Status: Partially Found

During the News segments for Top Gear's 11th Series, presenter Jeremy Clarkson would discuss interesting motoring-related news and content he uncovered on the internet. However, he also unveiled images from the internet's unusual side, to the shock of fellow presenters Richard Hammond and James May, and the studio audience. Due to their pornographic and otherwise crude nature, the photos could not be properly shown on television. Since then, confirmation has been achieved pertaining to the identity of one image, which remains publicly viewable. Two other photos, one described as being situated at the sea, have never been found.


The "I went on the internet and I found this" premise saw Clarkson explain to viewers that during the show's downtime, he had conducted extensive internet research on a variety of motoring subjects.[1] Some topics discussed remarkably still have relevance in modern times, including alleged gender inequality which has affected the career trajectory of female racing drivers.[2][3] To illustrate this, Clarkson showed a PistonHeads poll conducted in June 2008, which asked users to vote on the sexiest woman in the motoring world.[4][2] The poll jokingly included a photo of May, with him receiving the fourth-highest number of votes.[4][2]

But beforehand, Clarkson announced he had found "other" stuff on the internet.[1] Throughout the series, a few "shock" photos were displayed on the Top Gear studio's television, catching the other presenters and audience off-guard.[1][2] In later episodes, Clarkson altered the segment by partially discussing the main topic, before confirming that he had, indeed, "been on the internet again".[2] Top Gear typically aired before the United Kingdom's 9 p.m. watershed went into effect.[5] Under Ofcom's Broadcasting Code, pre-watershed programming is not allowed to display graphic or other adult-orientated content for a general audience.[6] The photos obviously fell within Ofcom's "unsuitable material" category, meaning the News segments had to be carefully edited.[6][1][2] This involved cutting to wide shots of the studio or to Hammond and May.[1][2] Episode 4 exclusively cut to shocked presenter and audience reactions before it returned to something else considered "pure pornography": the Alfa Romeo 8C Spider.[7]

But aside from Episode 4, the photos were shown on display in the wide shots.[8][9][10][1][2] Ultimately, they proved too blurry to view from a distance.[11] They nevertheless spurred on intense internet discussion from hardcore Top Gear fans not in attendance during filming, who sought to identify the photos in question.[12][13][11] It soon became apparent that the image shown in Episodes 3, 5 and 6 was of "Tailpipe Man".[11][2][9][10] It consisted of a man, who was merely wearing women's undergarments, placing his genitalia within the tailpipe of a Range Rover.[11][12][13] Clarkson, in a 22nd June 2008 column for The Times, affirmed he saw the photo on the internet.[14]


The Tailpipe Man photo can be easily found online.[11][12][13] However, analysis of Episodes 1 and 2 indicate two different images were also harnessed during the segments.[11] Said photos have never been conclusively determined, though a few theories have emerged.[11][12][13] The most prevalent suggested Episode 1's photo was of Clarkson during one of his routine trips to the Caribbean.[15] In March 2008, Clarkson and his wife Francie relaxed in Barbados, where a few photos of Jeremy were swiftly taken by media outlets.[16] One photo was summarised by the Daily Mail as Clarkson "with his pale bulging beer belly".[16][15] Rampant speculation on Final Gear suggested this photo was featured in Episode 1.[15] On 27th July 2008, YouTube user JSYBen uploaded "uncut footage" supposedly confirming this rumour.[17] However, Final Gear user Mr-Stabby revealed he had conjured up the video, which nevertheless successfully fooled some.[15][17]

As for Episode 2, one theory suggested by Final Gear user aaurora was that it contained a photo of May while naked in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage N24.[15][12] This incident transpired in Episode 1 of Series 10, where May was forced to remove his clothes so that he could endure the uncomfortable temperatures in a supercar lacking air conditioning in Western Europe.[18] Neither the Clarkson nor May theories have been conclusively proven, though consensus does indicate Episode 1's photo occurred at the sea.[15][12] Alas, the Episode 1 and 2 photos have never been identified as of the present day and remain as lost media.[15][12] The upscaling of Episodes 1 and 2 provides the best quality captures of these images, but they remain too blurry to make out. The possibility also exists that the images have since been scrubbed from the internet, which may explain why they have not been identified in over 16 years following Series 11's original transmissions. Considering the presenters, production crew and studio audience have barely discussed the segments, the mystery may remain unsolved.



"I Went On The Internet and I Found This" compilation in chronological order.

I Went On The Internet and I Found This compilation.

A hoax video claiming one of the mystery photos was of Clarkson during his Barbados holiday.

Gearknob's "The Top Gear Iceberg Explained" video summarising the mystery (49:44-50:33).

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Series 11: Episode 1, which began the running gag and showed a mystery photo. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Series 11: Episode 3, which showed the Tailpipe Man photo and discussed the Pistonheads poll. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  3. Jalopnik reporting on a study surrounding sexism in motorsport. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pistonheads poll showcased in Series 11: Episode 2. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  5. The Guardian noting Episode 1 of Series 11 aired at 8 p.m. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ofcom summarising the watershed. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  7. Series 11: Episode 4, which did not showcase the shock photo in any capacity. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  8. Series 11: Episode 2 which contained an unidentified photo. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  9. 9.0 9.1 Series 11: Episode 5 which showed the Tailpipe Man photo. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  10. 10.0 10.1 Series 11: Episode 6 which showed the Tailpipe Man photo. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 Final Gear discussing the mystery photos. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 r/thegrandtour discussing the unidentified photos and the Tailpipe Man one. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Live for Speed discussing the mystery photos within the six episodes. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  14. Archived The Times column by Clarkson on 22nd June 2008, where he vaguely confirmed he saw the Tailpipe Man photo. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 Final Gear discussing the rumour one photo was of Clarkson in Barbados. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  16. 16.0 16.1 Daily Mail reporting on Clarkson's Barbados holiday and his beer belly. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  17. 17.0 17.1 Final Gear discussing Mr-Stabby's hoax video which tricked some viewers. Retrieved 8th Dec '23
  18. Series 10: Episode 1 featuring May in the Aston Martin V8 Vantage N24. Retrieved 8th Dec '23