Top Gear

Season 4 Episode 1

Series 4 Episode 1

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM May 09, 2004 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
23 votes

By Users

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

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • The Race, Undercover James and the cool wall

    This is the episode where they introduce the best thing in top gear since the new STIG. I am talking about the Races. This one in particular is a race between an Aston Martin DB9 and the French train system.

    The reason why I think that the races are so good is the fact that you get great cars and the competitive banter between the presenters.

    The interview is okay, containing a few funny bits but the best thing is when Jeremy describes why the celeb time board is so important. It is a measure of how good a person is eg Harry Enfield is a better person than Richard Whitely because he is faster. A possible reason why all the celebs care so much about their time.

    They did an interesting review of a Rover, which they weren't allowed to review, using James May as an undercover operator. This later gets him a nomination for burk of the series award.moreless
  • Race with train

    It was amazing episode and real great start for new season. I think the most exciting part was the race between the train and DB9 and the excitement they had up for the whole show. Running in Paris (or more not running), metro and in the end, the Monte Carlo.. Great route chosen.

    And the experiment with the car they did not give them to test was amazing.. I think we all who watched the episode, just laught so much. And it was awful car.

    And then the fantastic Exige versus helicopter. It was so amazing to watch and great idea... Oh..

    Super episode.moreless
  • If you would like to know who would win in a race between a train and a car, watch this episode and find out. A brilliant episode from start to finish.moreless

    This was a fantastic episode in every sense of the word. The race between a car and a train was brilliant. Jeremy gave us some terrific insight into the car he was using (Astin Martin DB9) but at the same time managed to show us a sense of urgency while having a bit of fun. James and Richard on the other hand showed us the highs and lows of the public transport system. Now I had a feeling who was going to win but what made it so good was the fact that it was so hard to turn away.

    James review of the City Rover was another brilliant segment. I thought it was hilarious that he was going undercover to do a review of a car. It reminded me of those news expose type storys. Very funny.

    Jeremy also reviews the Lotus excige and puts it against an Apache helicopter. It trys to get missle lock on the car.

    Faye Ripley is the star in a reasonably priced car and was an enjoyable guest.

    Overall, the episode was outstanding. 9.9/10moreless

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)