I never thought I’d see the day when Top Gear would bring us a race pitting a Skoda against a man flying through the air wearing a jet pack. Who would win?
Well quite frankly I didn’t care. What I was more interested in is there was a man flying through the air wearing a JET PACK on my television screen! He didn’t crash. He wasn’t horribly injured in any way. Surely this shouldn’t be humanly possible? When did the jet pack become a usable mode of transport? I must have been too wrapped up in my simple world where I get from A to B in my car, occasionally suffer a bus (or a peasant wagon as Jeremy would say) and where aeroplanes rule the skies, to notice the arrival of jet pack technology, anywhere outside of comic books. It was truly amazing.
I did wonder though, was it strictly relevant? Not that that usually stands in the way of Top Gear challenges, mind you. But at least when they race a boat, a motorcycle, a bike etc, against a car, these are usually things that a normal person could conceivably get their hands on if Top Gear proves one is faster than another. The jet pack would pose a more significant challenge for the average shopper, as it doesn’t seem to have hit the high street just yet (!) When they do more outlandish things, like racing a hot air balloon, a bobsleigh or a letter it’s usually to prove a point- usually that the car being raced is particularly fast and handles well or is slow and cumbersome. This showed that the Skoda came second against a be-jetpacked man whizzing through the air at way over 100mph. Is that really a surprise? And what does it prove about the car? Hmmn.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoyed the item (as I hadn’t watched the DVD) but I’m just saying…
Apart from this small criticism however, this episode seemed to strike a good balance between the comedy and the cars, which should please devoted petrol heads.
Jeremy’s testing the Merc against the Maserati for example was I think a ‘proper’ car feature. Certainly, as a girl who watches primarily for the jokes and the banter I found myself concentrating a bit harder on my dinner at that point.
Providing me with my laughs we saw Jeremy proving that he could drive round the track whilst sewing on a button (though I would have liked to have seen the finished result!) and James “driving” whilst zipped into a sleeping bag. Conveniently enough they seemed to have forgotten that part of the bet included Hammond driving whilst pleasuring himself. Funny that.
Matt Smith did a good job in the reasonably priced C apostrophe D, driving with the pent-up aggression that comes with being the last of the Timelords. His cool guy act doesn’t quite wash with me though. Sure you’ve come to the studio like an awkward rockstar in skinny jeans, faded denim jacket and odd socks and sworn a few times. And ok you nearly became a footballer. But I feel quite certain that if you were ever caught at home on candid camera, you would be dressed in tweed with bow tie and fez in place. I can just tell.
The Saab feature at the end was, perhaps a little over-long but interesting and a fitting tribute to an admirably safety-conscious car manufacturer. You’ve got to feel sorry for those architects…
Catch up with Top Gear, Episode 5 on BBC iPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01cytpx/Top_Gear_Series_18_Episode_5/