Top Gear

Season 4 Episode 1

Series 4 Episode 1

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM May 09, 2004 on BBC Two
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Episode Summary

In an attempt to prove that trains are useless, the lads race from the exclusive surroundings of the Top Gear studio in Surrey, to the downbeat Café de Paris, Place du Casino in Monte Carlo. Richard and James take trains (including the high-speed TGV) whilst Jeremy drives an Aston Martin DB9.

The show also introduces the Indian-made City Rover. However, Rover wouldn't let anyone on Top Gear drive one, so an ingenious plan is hatched to test the car using covert tactics. On the track an Apache helicopter gunship tries to get missile lock on a Lotus Exige driven by Jeremy - obviously!

Fay Ripley is the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.moreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • The robotic traffic cones ridiculed by Jeremy actually exist. They were the result of a project by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln (U.S.) professor who developed robotic cones and barrels that can move out of the way, or into place, from computer commands made miles away. The traditional orange-and-white tops fit over a black base that contains the electronics and motors.

      Aside from improving safety for workers, it also made it so that a one-mile construction project doesn't block up five miles of traffic. According to a 2004 article, the prototypes cost an estimated $700 each.

    • 24 hours prior to the race, the DB9 got a little too close to another vehicle, ripping off the driver's door mirror. This necessitated a quick run back to Aston Martin's factory in Warwickshire (about 100 miles north of the studio) for it to be repaired. It arrived back at Top Gear's base in Guildford (south west of London) with just a few hours to spare before the race was due to start.

    • This was the very first of Top Gear's epic races across Europe. A slightly less significant first is that this was the first time that James explicitly refused to run on television. The result of which was that he and Richard nearly missed the train from Paris to Nice.

    • Having made James and Richard take a long walk to the local bus stop [during the Aston Martin DB9 Vs. Train race], the crew later found out that there was one much nearer.

    • The Manager of the Cafe de Paris in Monte Carlo's Place du Casino denied Top Gear permission to film there. Eventually the manager changed his mind moments before Jeremy arrived, on condition that the whole crew ate there.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Jeremy Clarkson: [summarising the Aston Martin DB9] It's more lovable and more rounded than a Bentley continental GT. It's better than a Ferrari 575. It's better than a Vanquish, principally because it's got a better gear box and prettier. At £103,000 it's considerably less expensive than all it's rivals, but you know the best thing about it? It's a proper, pucker, real, fabulous, glorious, exquisite, magnificent Aston Martin.

    • Richard Hammond: [trying to encourage James to run to save time] James just think of Jeremy arriving before us. The quantity of smugness.
      James May: My soul is prepared.

  • NOTES (2)