• Top Gear’s UK site has made an official announcement that this year’s Christmas special will be a trip to India. (Note: It will air in 2012 on BBC America. Exact date TBA.) But “big boss” Andy Wilman told fans this year’s show won’t just be about creating a unique challenge for cars and drivers. No, this year, he says, he’s got a much larger goal – nothing less than “sorting out the British economy.”
He said that Top Gear intends to help out Prime Minister David Cameron in his goal to make Britain a favored trading partner with India.
“Our plan,” producer Wilman writes, “was to drive across India, drumming up interest in British goods, advertising the peerless standards of British skills, British nous, British Britishness. We would make the Indians think: ‘No, we shall not buy mayonnaise from Belgium, but Angel Delight and Kendal Mint Cake from the British.’”
So the boys thought that instead of going out and buying some cheap jalopies, they’d get three cars that “represented the best of the British” within a budget of £7,000 ($11,000). Jeremy chose a 1995 Jaguar XJS and Richard bought a Mini Cooper.
The real problem came when James insisted on a Rolls-Royce, and Wilman wrote that the only one that fit the budget was a 1976 Silver Shadow. (Though that seems like a pretty cool car to us.)
“The success of our mission lies not only in how the cars coped, but also whether Britain’s balance-of-trade deficit is rectified,” writes Wilman, tongue firmly in cheek. “We’re not being unrealistic: we know it won’t happen immediately, but if Britain’s trade with India reaches an even keel by, say, Easter, we’ll be happy.”
• Aside from the above information, there’s not much that Top Gear UK is revealing about the India trip. Except for one thing: Richard came back with a colorful Indian hat that was auctioned off for charity to help the homeless earlier this month, along with items from other celebs, including Tom Waits, Eric Clapton, and Joanna Lumley. Richard’s hat went for £2000 ($3,100 ).
• Jeremy Clarkson did appear on BBC’s The One Show yesterday (November 30) to chat about his new DVD and the Christmas special and even brought along a clip (which you can view around 2:35). Apparently, the boys engaged in a few stunts that were “properly dangerous.”
• Top Gear Live opened in London last week, repeating the success of its Birmingham show earlier this month – but with a few differences. The boys stuck with their Olympic theme, apparently still holding a grudge that car curling is not included in the real games. But the London edition had a new roster of celebrity guests, including Rupert Grint. You can take a look at video of the event here.
• With the new 007 film Skyfall coming out in 2012, the 50th anniversary of the franchise, the folks over at TopGear.com have asked readers to pick out James Bond’s next set of wheels. They culled the most popular suggestions into a photo gallery, which you can view here. We’re torn between the Morgan Aero SuperSports and Bentley Continental GT.
• Finally, if you missed it, BBCAmerica.com revealed No. 41 of the best Top Gear moments voted by the fans. And it’s a doozy: Richard Hammond racing two top-level skiers in an Audi RS6. You can catch more of these classic bits in the second episode of BBC America’s Top Gear Top 40, which airs Monday at 8/7c.