The 15th series of Top Gear returned to BBC Two and BBC HD on 27 June 2010, and concluded on 1 August 2010, with the usual presenting team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig. Prior to the series, the channel advertised the show’s return by featuring a home video originally published to YouTube.[1] In the clip, the parents of a young boy see the Top Gear crew filming the motorhome challenge. The over-excited responses of the parents were adapted to produce the trailer.[2] Several segments which were recorded for the series were missed out, including Jeremy travelling from the most westerly point at sunset to the most easterly point at sunrise in the new Jaguar XFR [3], and the return of Jonathan Ross to the reasonably priced car.[4] The series was followed by two “Best Of Top Gear” specials, charting the best moments from the series.

Studio: BBC Warner
Year: 2009
Release Date: February 15, 2011
Run time: 406 minutes
Rating: NR

Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Disc Spec: 2 BD50
Region: A

Of course, BBC2 first broadcast the original format of Top Gear back in the late 1970s. However, while it enjoyed a stellar run of some 24 years, at the start of the 2000s the show was cancelled. This paved the way for the emergence of Fifth Gear on Channel Five. But it wasn’t long until the BBC relaunched Top Gear with the current format running since 2002.

Series 14 has attracted some criticism and the program’s long time Executive Producer, Andy Wilman, felt the need defend the show’s direction posting comments on the Top Gear website.

Going into Series 15, then, Top Gear faces its toughest test in some time. Will the baggage of the decade’s greatest title add to the burden of recent criticism, or will it spur the production team on to bigger and better things? While I do think Top Gear will finish before it makes a twentieth season, I do expect that Season 15 will rectify some of the wrongs committed in recent series. Wilman and his trusty trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are no mugs, they will put things right.

We shall find out later this year when Season 15 goes to air. If it wasn’t for the 2010 FIFA World Cup I would nominate 19 June as the premiere date, however, the football may mean an early start in May with a hiatus before recommencing in July. This is what BBC did with Season 8 so as to avoid clashing with Germany 2006.

Movie Content: 8/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080i with a 1.77:1 aspect ratio. The overall image quality is pretty good for a show at 1080i. Colors are very vibrant and have a good pop. Details are very well done throughout.
Video Quality: 9/10

The audio mix is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 track. Since the movie was originally a 2-channel stereo release, the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is mostly front-channel. There is very little for the surrounds to do, and one has to purposely get up close and personal with your surround speakers to hear anything at all through most of the movie.
Audio Quality: 6/10

Special Features

  • James May’s Journey
  • Dust

Special Features: 3/10

Final Thoughts

ith yet another award added to its trophy cabinet (Broadcast Awards Best International Programme Sales, 2010), the top-rated Top Gear returns with its three kids-at-heart – Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May – plus the Stig, at the helm. There’s a look at three wheeled cars, James drives a Toyota pick-up up an active volcano in Iceland and The Stig rips up the track in the new Bentley Continental Supersports.
Overall Rating: 6/10