The Problem With Top Gear's Ambulance Episode

Oh how I adore Top Gear, (the BBC version.) ever since Season 13 I have bought every episode. Prior to Season I have watched the seasons on YouTube.  The last few seasons have had this nagging but subtle issue that I haven't been able to put my figure on until Season 22 - The Ambulance episode. Top Gear Episode library

Jeremy, Richard and James have always done challenges on every season culminating to humorous adventures that I jealously want to recreate on my own. The show is about 3 blokes who love cars giving each other rough times through practical jokes. The Ambulance episode was no different except it wasn't funny. All of the gaffs, pokes and prods felt scripted and planned out. They weren't hanging out but making a TV show. I miss that hanging out vibe between the three, where I felt like I was the 4th person of the crew. Or 5th if you count The Stig.

In one shot in the finale of the episode as Jeremy Clarkson is roaring through the fake town in his Porsche 944 with ram guards lowered he plows towards two parked cars. Knowing Top Gear I thought that his car had a slight dlchance of working but as he hit the cars they rolled away unnaturally out of his path. In one shot you can see the cars were placed on casters to easily move.


As a viewer I felt cheated and lied to. I'd rather see Clarkson attempt but fail screeching to a halt rather than seeing a fake win. May rams through a wall that has no mortaring done.



May’s patient happens to fall out the back of his ambulance through the then open rear door and slides attached to a tow strap. How could May not know his back door or gate is open? It is things like these that abolishes the suspension of reality.




The hosts have always claimed that their exploits were "ambitious but rubbish." Seeing them succeed hurts. Inversely seeing Hammond fall on train tracks in St Petersburg unintentionally on a previous challenge episode in the same season made me feel his pain as he hit the Tarmac. It was real, not planned and honest.

The three friends (of each other and I would consider mine) are now trying to fill a character archetype built from the many preceding episodes rather than be who they are. If I had to say goodbye on a high note and never see them chide each other or blissfully drift a hypercar rather than watch a forced episode and barely feel any "fizz" as May would put it, then this should be good bye.

But, with the very next episode there is a glimmer of hope. And I am happy.