In the late 1970’s before there was Mr Top Gear himself, Jeremy Clarkson, The Hamster, Captain Slow or The Stig, Top Gear was a middle-of-the-road magazine show reviewing new car models and addressing car related issues such as road safety.

That was before Clarkson joined the show in the early 1990’s, bringing with him a more humorous, controversial and high-octane tone to the program. Combined with his famous irreverent wit, the show saw a massive boost in its audience.

Clarkson left the program to pursue other television opportunities and in 2001, BBC axed the show after Clarkson’s absence saw a significant drop in audience, proving his influence and crucial role in the program’s success. The following year BBC brought Top Gear back with a brand new format fronted by Clarkson and introducing all new co-presenters in Richard Hammond, Jason Dawe and The Stig.

For the first time on Australian free-to-air television, travel back to where the phenomenon began in 2002 and witness the rebirth of Top Gear, the politically incorrect and witty motoring entertainment program that has become a hit in more than 120 countries around the world.

Top Gear Series 1 debuts on SBS Television, Saturday, February 23 at 7:30pm.

Saturday February 23 at 7:30pm
Episode 1
Jeremy introduces Italy’s newest supercar, the Pagani Zonda. Meet The Stig as he attempts to bust a popular myth – that if you drive fast enough past a speed camera, it cannot take your picture. Then find out how you can run a car on used vegetable oil and the star in a reasonably priced car is comedian Harry Enfield.

Saturday March 1 at 7:30pm
Episode 2
The team checks out three hot hatch rivals and asks The Stig to take each for a spin around the test track. Jeremy is blown away by the new Noble M12 GTO, Jason looks at buying a used BMW M3 and Richard drives Subaru’s Forester.  The determined and competitive Jamiroquai front man, Jay Kay, drives the reasonably priced car.

Saturday March 8 at 7:30pm
Episode 3
The team consults top car designers to find the best-looking car of all time, grannies learn to do doughnuts in a Honda S2000 and a bed spring with a bike engine takes on the Zonda around the track. Ross Kemp (EastEnders) is the star in the reasonably priced car.

Saturday March 15 at 7:30pm
Episode 4
To celebrate the launch of James Bond film ‘Die Another Day’ the team pitched an Aston Martin Vanquish against a Ferrari 575M and recruited former Formula One World Champion, Damon Hill to help with the decision. Actor Steve Coogan tries out the reasonably priced car.

Saturday March 22 at 7:30pm
Episode 5
On a DIY-themed Top Gear, Richard turns a Rover 820 into a cut-priced Bond car filled with gadgets for ₤300. Top Gear takes a look at the ₤280,000 Mercedes-Benz Maybach before testing the much cheaper S-Class. The Stig manhandles a Palace around the test track and the star in a reasonably priced car is television presenter, Jonathan Ross.

Saturday March 29 at 7:30pm
Episode 6
The grannies are back and this time it’s to have a go at handbrake parking. Jeremy introduces the ‘Cool Wall’ concept and Tara Palmer-Tomkinson notches up a seriously respectable time in the reasonably priced car.

Saturday April 5 at 7:30pm
Episode 7
Top Gear looks at eco-friendly cars, Jeremy takes a Lotus Elise for a spin and Richard test drives the Saab 9-3. In a bid to find the World’s fastest faith, Top Gear tests various men of God on the track and Status Quo’s Rick Parfitt tries out the reasonably priced car.

Saturday April 12 at 7:30pm
Episode 8
The Maserati’s coupe is given a run on the circuit and Richard checks out five superminis to find out which is the best. White van men battle for supremacy on the track in a Transit van and the team give Lotus the task of turning a Lada into a track car. Award winning actor Sir Michael Gambon is determined to set a fast lap in the reasonably priced car.

Saturday April 19 at 7:30pm
Episode 9
The team picks the ultimate family car and The Stig meets his match on the Top Gear test track. The star in the reasonably priced car, Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey, is asked to taste food cooked off a car’s motor.

Saturday April 26 at 7:30pm
Episode 10
Top Gear finds the best car for going off-road, the team reflects on the motoring year and hands out a few Top Gear awards. Jeremy tests the Lotus Esprit (the Mick Jagger of supercars) to see if its wrinkles are showing and announces who was the fastest celebrity in the reasonably priced car.

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