Top Gear (unaired segments of BBC TV series; 2002-2015)

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Top gear logo.png

The serie's logo.

Status: Lost

Like most TV shows, the version of Top Gear that ran from 2002 to 2015 had a couple of segments that were just too horrible to air on TV. Some were also unaired due to Jeremy Clarkson's dismissal on the 25th of March 2015. A couple of these were mentioned in the Big Book of Top Gear 2011. To this day, no footage of these segments has been found online.

Fiat Panda Armoured Car

Top Gear magazine promoting the armored Panda challenge.

Back in 2005, there was an interesting idea for a challenge. It was about making a cheap armored car out of a Fiat Panda. Richard Hammond set off to find out how hard it could be. Whilst this was a good idea on paper, the attempts to test the toughness of the car had problems; they were considered boring. To make matters worse, a late re-edit which changed the order of the test caused continuity errors. During one of the tests, a window shattered. The re-edit caused the window to be already broken, magically mend itself and then break again. Eventually, after all the problems, the Top Gear office decided to not air it. The Fiat Panda was consigned to the Top Gear boneyard and remained there until someone got rid of it.

Jeremy Tests the Lotus Europa S

In 2006 there was a lot of hype for the Lotus Europa S. It was mentioned in the Top Gear news segment a lot, with all three presenters (especially Jeremy Clarkson), looking forward to it. Hence, Jeremy was sent to test it. This is where things started to unravel, however. The Europa wasn't really a new car, as according to the Big Book of Top Gear 2011, was just the Elise chassis lightly re-clothed. The interior although new, failed to meet its expectation of being luxurious. Jeremy tried his best to make a good track test, but since the car was not only irrelevant but also unsuccessful, the Top Gear office decided not to show it on TV.

The Top Gear Bus

In 2005, London Transport was selling off its Routemaster buses. Inspired by a slogan from beer commercials, an idea was hatched: Top Gear doesn't do public transport, but if it did, it would be the best in the world. Armed with this premise, Richard and James were given the task of improving the bus by equipping it with various devices and set-ups. These "enhancements" included a system to improve the view from the windows (a roller blind with a picture of a sunset on it), a system to stop people from playing their music too loudly (a pair of scissors behind breakable glass, to cut the offender's headphone cord), a system to banish bad smells (a can of deodorant on a string) and an in-journey entertainment system (a tiny, pathetic slot car track on a board, attached to the bus's roof with string). They were rubbish, to say the least. In fact, the add-ons were so bad that Hammond and May could barely keep a straight face during filming and the finished item was so comically horrible that they requested the producer to scrap the segment. The Routemaster was coined "The Unfunny Bus" by Richard and James and languished in the Top Gear car park for years. It made an appearance in the intro of Richard Hammond's Top Gear Challenge, where Richard crashes into it.

Jeremy Tests the Pontiac Solstice

During the challenge where Jeremy went to Laguna Seca in the United States to try to beat a time set on the PlayStation, the Top Gear office thought they might as well have him make a road test at the same time. The car selected was the Pontiac Solstice, a car that was not likely to be sold in the United Kingdom, so enthusiasm was low. This got even lower when Jeremy tested it and in his opinion, thought it was awful. The test was filmed but was stuck on the shelf for ages and eventually never aired on TV.

Richard Tests the BMW 6-Series Convertible

Back in 2004, Richard was told to go on the track and make a power test for next series. However, it turned out that Jeremy had already tested the cars that Top Gear was interested in. The only car Richard could find was the then-new BMW 6 Series convertible, a car that Top Gear had never been interested in. The test was deemed boring and the Top Gear office decided not to air it.

Rover Metro Airplane

In November 2009 the episode with the Airship Caravan was broadcast. It, along with the Reliant Space Shuttle, was one of the most awesome things that Top Gear has ever built. Interestingly, however, James had attempted to build something similar, back in 2004. His idea was to turn a Rover Metro into an airplane of sorts, with help from some engineering students from a well-known university. According to topgear.com however, it never got off the ground at all and was never shown on TV, like the Armoured Panda. According to Richard Porter's book And on That Bombshell: Inside the Madness and Genius of Top Gear, the problem was the fact that the Metro was front-wheel-drive. As soon as the wheels lost contact with the ground, the Metro would slow down. As a result, it could never gather up enough speed to take off. Porter described the end result as "endless footage of a small car with wings on its roof doing tiny and rubbish wheelies." There was a plan to make the Metro rear-wheel-drive, but it ended up being abandoned for cost and safety reasons. [1]

Beach Buggy Road Test

In 2007, Jeremy declared that beach buggies were the coolest cars in the world. Because it was decided that more Hammond films were required to balance out the series, he was sent to test it on a beach in Wales. However, upon getting the beach buggy onto the sand, it got constantly stuck, before breaking down. The test was subsequently dropped.

Deal or No Wheels

At some point, Jeremy Clarkson and executive producer Andy Wilman decided that a revamp would be necessary for Top Gear to retain its popularity. One idea for the revamp was a game show where Jeremy would ask a selected audience member questions. If they answered wrong, their car would get wrecked, before being ultimately destroyed. This caused several concerns with the BBC's Health and Safety department, even after some attempts were made to cut back on the amount of damage inflicted. In the end, it was decided that the game show, nicknamed "Deal or No Wheels" by Richard Porter, didn't fit in with the tone or structure of the show and it was never aired. One pilot is known to have been filmed and put into a mock episode, though its whereabouts are unknown. Despite Jeremy repeatedly badgering Porter about reviving the game show concept, the latter states that while he had a copy of the DVD with Deal or No Wheels on it, he ended up throwing it out.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car Revamp

Another concept in an attempt to revitalize Top Gear, was an extension of the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment. Along with the celebrity's lap, a camera crew would follow them throughout their entire day at the Top Gear track. A pilot featuring Linda Barker as the star was filmed, but it was decided that the segment would be better off as a DVD bonus feature, at which point it was scrapped.

Richard Tests the Subaru WRX STi and VW Golf R

In Episode 8 of Series 22, Richard was comparing the new Subaru WRX STi with the VW Golf R on the Top Gear test track. This also suggests that The Stig was to make a power lap in both cars to find out which was faster. Again, due to Jeremy's dismissal, it was not broadcast and was not included in the final episode. It is unknown if The Stig did do a power lap in the cars and what their laptimes were if he did.[2]

Jeremy Tests Three Luxurious Limousines

Very little is known about this segment, which was meant to be broadcast in Episode 9 of Series 22. It is even unknown what limos he was supposed to be testing. What is known is that he tested them on the Top Gear test track and on the road as well. However, in a Series 22 preview section featured in the January 2015 issue of Top Gear magazine, there was a small photo of The Stig walking towards a light blue Bentley Flying Spur. Because a Flying Spur didn't appear in any episodes of Series 22 that were broadcast, this photo could very well be from that segment. [3]

References

  • The Big Book of Top Gear 2009. Mention of the Armoured Panda in the Top Gear boneyard.
  • The Big Book of Top Gear 2011.
  • Richard Hammond's Top Gear Challenge. Cameo of the Top Gear Bus.
  • Top Gear magazine May 2005. Promotion of the Armoured Panda test.
  • And on That Bombshell: Inside the Madness and Genius of Top Gear, Richard Porter, 2016, Orion Books