Top Gear (BBC 'motoring' show, 2002- )


A long time ago in its 1977 incarnation it featured genuine motoring journalism, but this self-indulgently stupid show is now described on the Internet Movie Database variously as 'comedy' and 'reality TV'. In 2000 a crass (not to mention inaccurate) attempt to discredit Oxford's pioneering and still-expanding Park and Ride network caused such controversy that a second report had to be shot. (Still looking for the footage).
The show continued its commitment to serious motoring issues in 2002 with an attempt to jump former Emsworth and District Daimler Fleetline OJD213R (originally London Transport DMS2213) over a line of 14 motorcycles. (from correspondence on the uk-bus-fleetnews Yahoo group by John Hammond, Andrew Woolhouse et al) For the record the bus cleared 3 bikes and totalled the rest.
Graeme Selway notes in 2004 the show "had a item filmed on board what I assume was an Arriva Guildford and West Surrey Dennis Dart in the Guildford area. The front of the bus did also get shown but I wasn't quick enough to read the plate (and I wasn't recording the show either). Hopefully someone else saw it? Think it was a P-FPK but didn't get the numbers I'm afraid. Possibly it was the oddly registered one P380 FPK which is (or was?) with Arriva West Sussex but that could be me second-guessing." Having seen a repeat showing Graeme now believes it to have been P268 FPK, Guildford and West Surrey's DSL68, a Dart SLF/Plaxton. Geoff Cook reports another show depicting a race across London featuring TA336 - this is likely to be SN03EBG (Transbus Trident/Alexander new to London United) rather than X336NNO (Dennis Trident/Alexander new to London Selkent), since Aaron Rumney notes that the latter was local to Bromley on London's outskirts at the time of filming.
One of the more interesting features of recent years was a 2007 'race' into London using different forms of transport. Anonymous racing driver The Stig gets the bus, and is seen boarding London United DPS668 (LG02FGV) a Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart SLF:
While doing so he falls victim to a continuity goof involving another bus:
Richard Hammond meantime is cycling in traffic, followed at a distance by a London United SLE class Scania N94UD/East Lancs:
Another liberty taken with continuity - this is not the bus the Stig is riding but sister DPS667 (LG02FGU):
The Stig steps down from DPS668:
Meantime Richard Hammond's camera crew passes First London VNL32268 (LT52WWJ), with its original Centrewest fleet number, VFL1263, still visible. It's a Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX400:
Travel London DP18 (BX54DMV) is glimpsed - it's an Alexander Dennis Dart/Plaxton Pointer:
James May dices with London United VLE8 (PG04WHL), a Volvo B7TL/East Lancs:
...while Richard Hammond passes London General WVL199 (LX05EZR), a Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini:
London United SLE26 (YN55NHZ), a Scania N94UD/East Lancs:
London General MAL78 (BX54UDH), a Mercedes Citaro articulated bus:
A Travel London 'decker:
More juvenilia in November 2008 saw a race staged at Lydden Hill race circuit in Kent using a variety of different sized buses. The paper-thin excuse for this exercise was apparently a wish to aid new mayor Boris Johnson in choosing a new bus for London. Footage of London buses includes East London 18209 (LX04FWV), a Transbus Trident/Alexander, followed by a First London ADL Enviro 400 and a London General Volvo B7TL/Wright.
Also seen are a couple of Mercedes Citaro artics, including Arriva London MA53 (BX04MYZ), a Metroline Plaxton President-bodied Volvo B7TL and Transdev TLA28 (SN53KJJ), another Alexander bodied Transbus Trident:
The buses involved in the race were:
K709KGU, a Dennis Dart/Plaxton new to Metrobus of Orpington but ex GB Coaches of Audenshaw
D272JVR, a Leyland Olympian/Northern Counties new as Greater Manchester South 13272
P638ARN, Optare MetroRider/Optare new to Blackburn but ex Lancashire United
BBZ8051, a Leyland-DAB artic new as South Yorkshire PTE 2011, latterly with Stansted Transit
A Mercedes-Benz O305G artic ex SOS Bus, Norwich, believed to be GOE475V
The race itself is eventful:
A November 2009 Top Gear show attempted to make fun of electric cars by building an amateurish-looking example, then took it to Oxford for a test drive. Here it's overtaken by Luxicars of Oxford Mercedes H354VWT, while an Oxford Bus Dennis Trident passes on the other side:
Also seen is a passing Oxford Bus Volvo B10BLE with Wright Renown body:
Seen in St Giles, a Stagecoach Oxford Alexander Dennis E300:

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