Top Gear Thursday: Season 20 Begins July 8, Includes ‘Most Ambitious Shoot Yet’

Scenes from the Mall (Jeremy Clarkson)

Scenes from the Mall (Jeremy Clarkson)

We now have a date. The 20th season of madness, mayhem and motoring is to begin on BBC AMERICA on Monday, July 8 at 8:30pm/7:30c.

In addition to the unexpected, what can you expect?

Our favorite petrolheads will try to take the principles behind the hovercraft and apply them to automobiles to help cars cope with severe flooding. Richard Hammond, no stranger to cab driving, will conduct an epic survey to try to discover the world’s best taxi.

That’s in addition to previous news that there’ll be a new Reasonably Priced Car, that the show has pitted car against boat in New Zealand, and that the trio engaged in an epic race that began in Gibraltar.

Here’s the trailer:

But in case half a minute just isn’t enough for you, here’s another 30 seconds – it’s the British trailer:

For those inveterate compare-and-contrasters, there’s plenty of room down below for comment on the two trailers.

But the big news this week is that, seeking to top their endeavors of the previous 19 seasons, the boys went to Buckingham Palace. Or near Buckingham Palace, anyway.

And you’d think that a British television show that has sent its hosts to race to the North Pole and in Africa, that has pitted cars against planes and that has even set up challenges between cars to figure out which is best at dodging bullets, would find filming on the streets in London to be a piece of cake.

You’d be wrong.

In fact, according to Jeremy Clarkson, Top Gear confronted its most formidable test to date in London this week.

We should explain that the show shut down the Mall, the road leading to Buckingham Palace (seen in the above photo from Twitter) early Sunday morning and filled the street with £200 million ($308 million) worth of British cars.

That’s a lot of cars, even for Top Gear. And it wasn’t just the quantity, it was the quality.

The trio themselves drove red, white and blue Jaguars, each sporting a Union Jack waving in the wind. Jeremy was also reunited with his famed micro-mini “P45,” a vehicle that looks like a cross between a car, a mobility scooter and a hazmat suit.

But there were vintage cars, classic racers, ice cream trucks — and even the Bloodhound, a British-made car whose builders hope will shatter the land speed record.

A fortunate car enthusiast was on the Mall in the wee hours on Sunday and managed to capture the procession in a motionless state on video. The videographer’s name is Shmee. (“That’s Mister Shmee to you.” “Shmee to me?” “Yes, Shmee to thee.” “I see.” But we digress.)

The Mail called the Top Gear shoot “the most expensive traffic jam in history,” and after watching Shmee’s opus, we couldn’t help thinking of another cinematic moment, the famous traffic jam scene in Jean-Luc Godard’s Weekend. Here it’s narrated by a film critic:

Jean-Luc Godard – Weekend, The Traffic Jam Sequence from Blue Heron on Vimeo.