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"Top Gear" can refer to a number of shows, all titled the same, that are made in different countries. Generally speaking, however, "Top Gear" without any clarification refers to the British TV show, produced by BBC. "Top Gear" is an informative comedy show where the three hosts - Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May - discuss topics related to traveling by motor vehicle. While their area of expertise is cars, some shows have included the use and discussion of motorbikes, trains, and lorries.

A typical "Top Gear" episode consists of one of the hosts test driving a car, a "news" segment, an interview with a celebrity, and a challenge of some sort (ex. the men compete to see what is fastest during London rush hour: a boat, car, bus or bike).

However, the "Top Gear" specials do not follow this format; instead, the specials only focus on the challenge that's been given to the three men. The typical challenge involves the hosts buying used cars for approximately $1,000 or less, and then driving 1,000 miles from one part of a country to another. These specials tend to be longer than the typical episode; approximately one special episode has aired per season of "Top Gear."

Examples of "Top Gear" specials include an episode involving a trip to Bolivia, where the three men must drive cars that they bought long distance and second hand through the Amazon rainforest and across part of South America, for a total of 1,000 miles. Similarly, while in Vietnam, the three hosts must buy motorbikes and "do what the Americans failed to do in ten years" in seven days - drive from south Vietnam to the north.

Other "Top Gear" specials have involved trips to Africa, America, India, the Middle East and the Arctic.

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BBC
2 Seasons, 8 Episodes
Automotive
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Top Gear, The Specials Full Episode Guide

  • The three wise men of Top Gear embark on a seasonal road trip as they attempt to recreate a certain famous journey across the Middle East to Bethlehem. They do so in a trio of open top sports cars, each wholly unsuited to the conflict ridden mountains of Southern Turkey, the dangerous warzones of Iraq and the searing deserts of Syria. Along the way they test the limits of mechanical and physical endurance as well as asking the vital question, what exactly is myrrh and where do you buy it?

  • The Top Gear boys are once again let loose in the USA, this time for an epic road trip up the east coast. Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are comparing the Mercedes SLS, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and the Ferrari 458 Italia. Along the way they undertake a series of challenges culminating in a fight to find the fastest way into New York, all in the name of crowning the world's greatest sports car. There's a round up of car-related Christmas tat and Oscar-winning film director Danny Boyle takes to the track as the star in a Reasonably Priced Car.

  • Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are dropped deep in the Bolivian rainforest armed only with three shabby 4x4s. Forcing their way through gullies, rivers and dense vegetation, they succeed in crossing the jungle, only to encounter drug lords, the debilitating effects of high altitude in the Atacama Desert and the world's most perilous highway, where they are literally pushed to the edge. The final hurdle is a range of impossibly steep sand-dunes as, battered and exhausted, they make their way down to Chile's Pacific coast.

  • It's the ultimate test of man against machine - or should that be dog against machine - as the Top Gear team set out on one of their most ambitious and arduous challenges ever. Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond take part in an epic land race starting in the town of Resolute, Northern Canada, finishing 450 miles later at the Magnetic North Pole.

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