Top Gear

Season 12 Episode 6

Series 12 Episode 6

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Dec 07, 2008 on BBC Two
out of 10
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Episode Summary


Did Communists ever build a good car? A question literally several people have asked - ever. To find out, Jeremy and James go to the former American airbase at Greenham Common, in England, to drive some of the best examples still working... just.

Richard drives the Veritas RS3 - the latest sports car to come from Germany and the Caterham R500. Meanwhile Jeremy gives the humble Ford Fiesta a rather thorough going-over with the help of the Royal Marines.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.


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    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (2)

      • This week's audience figures: 6.7 million, with a peak of peak of 7.2 million - 23.2% of the TV audience.

      • Greenham Common is a former airbase used by both the RAF (1941-1946) and latterly, by the United States Airforce (1968-1992). In 1981, a group of peace protesters called Women for Life on Earth began a protest at the base... they were unhappy with the British Government's decision to allow Cruise missiles to be based there.

        The number of protesters grew and a permanent camp was set up. The protesters - mainly women - became known as the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp. In 1984 the women were evicted from the land they occupied, but returned and the camp remained at Greenham Common until 2000. The missiles were removed in 1991. Greenham Common has been used for civilian purposes since 1993.

    • QUOTES (7)

      • Richard Hammond: Some say one of his legs gets longer when he sees a pretty lady. And that I haven't done one of these for some time and I've forgotten to make up a second thing. All we know is he's called the Stig.

      • Jeremy Clarkson: We thought it would be ironic to film our hunt here, at the Greenham Common airbase. Home in the 1980s to 96 U.S. Airforce nuclear missiles and several hundred lesbians.

      • Jeremy Clarkson: In Russia, you had to work hard in the car factories, or you'd suddenly discover how difficult it is to mine Siberian salt, while wearing a hat made from your wife's head.

      • James May: [mocking Jeremy's Lada] Thought so.
        Jeremy Clarkson: What?
        Jmaes May: A Rev counter.
        Jeremy Clarkson: Yes?
        James May: You decadent, capitalist pig. Ownership of a Rev counter is theft.
        Jeremy Clarkson: This is the colour of a prosthetic limb.
        James May: You've got wipers on your headlights!
        Jeremy Clarkson: They don't work.
        James May: That's not the point; it's aspirational.

      • Jeremy Clarkson: Oh dear, I seem to have accidentally killed James May there. Anyway...

      • James May: [referring to the GAZ Chaika] Interestingly, this particular one was built in the factory where they also made the AK47 rifle. The difference is this is much more lethal.

      • Jeremy Clarkson: The miracle is not that the Marina won that, it's that it was built in the first place.

    • NOTES (4)

    • ALLUSIONS (3)

      • James May: But, while all the animals were equal, some were more equal than others.

        Taken from Animal Farm, by George Orwell.

      • Jeremy Clarkson: Mr Khrushchev once said: "we will bury you".

        Nikita Khrushchev, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the U.S.S.R. from 27th March 1958 to 14th October 1964.

      • James May: Now, if your name begins with 'R' and ends with 'thur Scargill, you might like to claim that we're wrong to blame Communism for these truly terrible cars.

        Arthur Scargill was the leader of the National Union of Miners between 1981 and 2000. The NUM began a strike in on the 5th March 1984 and ended on the 3rd March 1985. They were protesting about the closure of pits, which, in a heavily subsidised industry, were seen as unprofitable.

        The strike, which ended in defeat for the miners, was seen as a major political victory for Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government. It is widely believed that this defeat severely weekend the trade union movement in the United Kingdom.

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