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Top Gear is a long-running British Magazine Show about automobiles and motoring. This page chiefly concerns the presenters and other characters featured on the show since its 2002 restart. For the hosts of the US version of the show, see Top Gear US.
- Big Guy, Little Guy: Clarkson and Hammond
- Fan Nickname: The "Top Gear Three" or "TG3" for short.
- Flanderization: They're not quite this extravagant in real life.
- Freudian Trio: Clarkson is the Id, Hammond the Ego, and May the Super Ego.
- Heterosexual Life Partners
- With a good dash of Ho Yay that they frequently spoof, such as this gem from their caravan holiday;
May: I like it, it's romantic.
Hammond: Don't say things like that! I'm in the same bed as you!
- Last-Name Basis: Frequently.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Averted. If someone's car breaks down, they're left behind to fix it. Played straight in Bolivia however as the wilderness is so hostile that even they insist on staying together.
- Odd Couple: Clarkson and May.
- One Head Taller: Clarkson and Hammond.
- Power Trio
- Sitcom Arch Nemesis: Collectively, they regard the original Volkswagen Beetle as theirs.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork
- True Companions: After producer Andy Whilkman was fired, Jeremy was fired for disagreements with the new management team. The BCC offered Richard and James a lot of goodies to stay on board to do a new Top Gear with just them two but they refused and went off to a do a new car show with Jeremy.
- Vitriolic Best Buds
- Universal Driver's License
The leader of the central trio: the oldest, tallest, and most obstreperous. He tends to be very vocal in his dislikes and self-confident to the point of arrogance. Also physically the most fragile. Given his choice of cars (and most everything else, really) he prefers sheer raw power (preferably with the noise to go with), then control, and then speed. When all is said and done, however, the man is genuinely passionate in his admiration of and respect for good engineering, and not just automotive engineering, he's known for being an all-round technophile, possibly because he's not that skilled at designing something from scratch, and therefore recognizes how hard it really is to do.
May: The great thing about Jeremy's shooting is that you are perfectly safe just as long as you stand right in front of the target.
- AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: He's prone to putting emphasis on certain syllables to extend his words such as how he says "many".
- The Captain
- Catch Phrase: "How hard can it be?", "...and on that bombshell...", "POWERRRRRRRRRRR!" "...in the world."
- For a few series he also has "...but that's exactly what they're expecting us to do."
- Caustic Critic
- Chainsaw Good
- Contrived Coincidence: The license plate on his Porsche 928 in the Patagonia special is 'H982 FKL' which many Argentineans viewed as a reference to the Falklands War a complete Curb Stomp Battle in England's favour which prompted a large anti-British feeling in the region. The license plate however is a complete coincidence, one of many countless codes that Porsche stamped.
- Crazy Awesome: Jeremy frequently appears to do things simply because he can.
- Deadpan Snarker: He's particularly good at delivering patently ridiculous lines in a serious, authoritative tone. Needless to say, that's why he almost always is the one to introduce the Stig.
- Heartwarming Moments: His love for the Porsche 928 comes from that he was road testing one in 1994 and its speed allowed him to make it to the hospital in time for a final goodbye to his dying father.
- Hidden Depths: Would you believe he's an avid bird-watcher?
- In-Series Nickname: "Jezza."
- Incoming Ham
- Insufferable Genius: He knows a lot about cars, and won't hesitate to tell you so.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He sent Hammond's wife humorous texts every day for the five weeks that Hammond was hospitalized after his crash in order to keep her spirits up.
- Large Ham
- Lethal Chef: His V8 Smoothie gave even James May pause.
- Mad Scientist: Some of his inventions include the V8 Blender, the V8 Rocking Chair, the "Hammerhead Eagle-i Thrust" and one treated a remote controlled high powered ex-military minesweeper as if it was a dog.
- The Mean Brit
- Percussive Maintenance: Thinks a hammer is the only tool you will ever need.
- Refuge in Audacity
- Particularly recently, he said union members who went on strike should be shot in front of their families.
- And a few days after that, that people who commit suicide by train are insufferably selfish and that, to keep the resulting delays down, they should retrieve the larger parts of the remains and leave the little bits "for the birds and foxes".
- Particularly recently, he said union members who went on strike should be shot in front of their families.
- Smug Snake
- Talks Like a Simile
- Tim Taylor Technology: Devoted to the principle that power is good and more power is even better.
The second in command: the youngest, shortest, and second-most obstreperous -- and generally agreed to be the easiest on the eyes. Described by the others as the toughest physically but the most fragile emotionally. Tends to be chatty and moody. Given his choice, he generally wants a fast, powerful car, but the love of his life is a 1963 Opel Kadett with under 50 hp. Known affectionately as "Hamster" for his size, chattiness and willingness to engage in risky stunts.
- Adult Child: He keeps the cardboard boxes of large appliances and plays pretend with them.
- Ascended Fanboy: Was a fan of Clarkson and the original Top Gear before becoming a presenter in the revival.
- Badass Beard: Has recently grown a goatee.
- Berserk Button: "I have NOT had my teeth whitened!"
- Book Dumb
- Brief Accent Imitation: The most likely to do this.
- Cargo Ship: In-universe with "Oliver," a 1963 Opel Kadett A.
- Catch Phrase and Lampshade Hanging: In the more recent series; when Clarkson asks "How hard can it be?", expect Hammond to reply "Don't say that!" or similar.
- Cluster F-Bomb
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: In their last America special, his Dodge Viper ultimately proved the best car. He only lost due to sabotage.
- Mr. Fanservice
- Fan Nickname: "Hamster." It was an In-Series Nickname bestowed by Clarkson, but the fans have kept it alive (to his dismay).
- Clarkson has also called him "Teeth" a few times.
- Iron Butt Monkey: As close to one as a living person can be.
- The Lancer: To Clarkson.
- Made of Iron
- Mr. Fixit: Clarkson admits that he and May could do anything to Hammond's car yet it will only take about ten minutes for Hammond to get it running again.
- The Napoleon
- Never Live It Down: "I AM A DRIVING GOD!!!"
- Picky Eater : "He might eat... a free-range egg."
- "Richard Hammond refuses to eat anything that hasn't come from a burger van on the A39."
- He's delighted in the Middle East special when they go to a Jordanian restaurant specializing in lamb, but rather less so when they bring out delicacies such as sheep's brain, testicle and eyeball.
Hammond: I'm now in a horror film.
- Deconstructed in Italy. He looks forward to eating spaghetti bolognese but in Italy, the traditional spaghetti bolognese is spaghetti with pork which he won't eat. Clarkson had been eating an Italian meal called ragu the entier time which is what Italians call spaghetti bolognese.
- Punctuated for Emphasis: One of his tooth-whitening denials echoed off of nearby mountains.
- Really Over 40 Years Old: Claims to only be 38 years old, despite being over 40. A fact made fun of by the other two.
- Rule of Cool: Why he likes muscle cars despite the other two usually highlighting their poor agility and that the air vents and splitters are usually just there for show and don't really add anything to the car's performance. They look really cool and powerful as well as producing a very loud engine growl.
The quiet one (relatively speaking) somewhere between Clarkson and Hammond in age and height: a picture-perfect Straight Man with an understated sense of humor and a gift for deadpan delivery. Likes physics, classical music, alcohol, light aircraft and interesting facts. Far more careful than the other two, and obsessive (to the point of possibly suffering from OCD) about details, down to the proper arrangement of his tools. He is implicitly acknowledged to be the most technically savvy of the three. As he prefers control and good handling over power and speed -- and absolutely refuses to run on camera -- the other two have dubbed him "Captain Slow".
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Berserk Button: Usually unflappable, but with his fear of heights, should you annoy and run into the back of him on "Death Road" in Bolivia, he will turn Axe Crazy.
- Whenever Jeremy does something particularly irritating;
- Blatant Lies: Claiming that hand built British engines from the '70s and '80s are a byword for reliability.
- Butt Monkey: The other presenters love driving into the back of him and expect any pranks performed (usually involving cows heads) to be directed at him in the specials, where the unofficial rule seems to be "get James eaten."
- Catch Phrase:
- "Oh... cock."
- "Now as you'd expect, I've done this properly."
- Cloudcuckoolander: Sometimes comes off as this, such as his idea that if drivers slow down for deer but speed up in the cities... put the deer in the cities.
- Also, he thought banning cows would mean the end of eggs (it turns out his reasoning was that the milkman brings eggs.)
- Deadpan Snarker
- Drunken Master: Manages to defeat Gordon Ramsay during The F Word's cooking challenge despite knocking back several glasses of wine while making his deceptively simple fish pie.
Ramsay: James, do you always drink like this when you're cooking?
May: Dulls the horror of the food that I'm going to eat later on.
- Extreme Omnivore: On Top Gear itself, he sipped Clarkson's horrible V8 smoothie containing raw beef, Bovril, peppers, and bricks with nothing but a Delayed Reaction. On another show, he drank grape juice which he had squeezed with his own bare feet, then made wine out of other, similarly squeezed grape juice which he fermented for a week in the boot of the Jag he was driving across France. In the next series of that, he drank from the spittoon at a wine bar, after Oz Clarke had done so and observed that someone had stubbed out a cigarette in it. On a third show, he defeated Gordon Ramsay's challenge by drinking snake whiskey then eating a bull penis and a fermented (read: rotten) shark. Ramsay reached for the bucket after the shark, but May barely even made a face. In an interview, he claimed he was "catastrophically ill" that day not because of a weekend bender with Hammond and Clarkson in Dublin, but because he'd eaten a prawn sandwich on an aeroplane -- and apparently endorses the ten-second rule, but admits a plane floor probably shouldn't count.
- On the other hand, he did have an abrupt and fleeting bout of vegetarianism during the first American road trip, and was quite offended by some garlic wine he and Oz picked up in California.
- Fan Nickname: "Captain Slow."
- Freudian Excuse: Claims his slow and responsible driving style is the result of being traumatized by his mother's aggressive Clarkson-style driving.
- The Good Captain
- Good with Numbers
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: He does more with "Oh, cock!" than most people could with The Angry Video Game Nerd's vocabulary.
- Hates Being Touched
- Ironic Nickname: Despite the moniker of "Captain Slow", he's usually the one pushing the high performance cars to their top speeds.
- Kryptonite Factor: Has some degree of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Limited Wardrobe: Always tends to test cars wearing the same striped maroon shirt. Played with whenever James needs to do some driving beyond his capabilities and we see the shirt being worn by The Stig or Tiff Needell, in the case of the Atom V8 versus superbike test posing as "James."
- Neat Freak
- No Sense of Direction: Claims he has an electrical imbalance in his brain which leads to him visualising the map of Britain upside-down. Once he got lost on a race track. An oval race track.
- In India, he managed to lose Bombay and wind up in a forest.
- Not So Above It All: Despite below, he's often just as silly as everyone else.
- Only Sane Man: Count on him being the most sensible of the three. Something every knows.
- Precision F-Strike
- The Quiet One: Relatively speaking.
- Rummage Sale Reject: Some of his favorite shirts are... loud.
Clarkson: Are you wearing that for a bet?
- Skunk Stripe: He's started to go grey at the temples.
- The Smart Guy
- The Stoic
- Straight Man
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: He rarely shows his anger visibly, being The Stoic. When he does, it's a Beware the Nice Ones moment.
May (tonelessly): I have to have all my air vents aligned just right... and if anyone moves them... I get really angry.
The show's "tame racing driver," who is never seen without his racing coveralls, gloves, and (face-concealing) helmet. Has a variety of local cousins in the various locations the Top Gear team visits. Some say that he sleeps inside out, and that he once had phone sex with Russell Brand's answering machine... all we know is, he's called The Stig.
All three Stigs
- Always Chaotic Evil: The Chinese Stig enjoys randomly attacking people. He even stopped mid-lap to get out of the car and attack the camera man.
- Badass Adorable: Between the Stig Farm, The Baby Jesus Stig, and his complete incomprehension of anything not car-related, The Stig is just... d'awww.
- Badass Arm-Fold
- Badass Driver
- Buffy-Speak: Due to his belief that all vehicles are cars, he refers to trains as "Big Underground Cars".
- Cloudcuckoolander: Many of the things said about him imply this.
- Distracted by the Sexy: In the Top Gear vs. Fifth Gear show, he stopped to stare at Vicki holding a paintball gun.
- Ensemble Darkhorse
- Fun with Acronyms: Stig can be read as "Stunt Technician In Gear" or "Speeding Turn Is Great".
- The Faceless
- Fish Out of Water: When he's not behind the wheel, Stiggy becomes this, often with humorous results.
- Hates Everyone Equally: Chinese Stig attacks everyone, not just non-Chinese people.
- He Who Must Not Be Heard
- Humanoid Abomination: By and large treated as such.
- Idiot Savant: He's good at driving, but thinks of every other vehicle as a car (utterly bemused as to how to get on a bicycle).
- I'm a Humanitarian: During the 2008 National Television Awards, The Stig is the only one available to collect the award -- along with a note advising to keep him away from the cast of Coronation Street, as "he seems to have got it in his head that Northerners are edible".
- Inexplicably Identical Individuals: His many cousins.
- "Some say that he's a CIA experiment that went wrong, and that he only eats cheese... all we know is, he's not the Stig, but he is the Stig's American cousin!"
- "Some say he's seen The Lion King 1780 times, and that his second best friend is a cape buffalo... all we know is, he's not the Stig, but he is the Stig's African cousin!"
- "Some say his favourite ever song is 'Forever Autumn' by Justin Hayward, and that he has the world's largest collection of pornographical material. All we know is, he's not The Stig, but he is The Stig's lorry-driving cousin!"
- "He's not the Stig, but he is the Stig's vegetarian cousin!"
- "He's not the Stig, he's the Stig's German cousin!"
- A Communist Stig also appeared in the extended version of the Communist Cars Challenge on the DVD and in the Directors Cut of the Vietnam Episode.
- "He's not the Stig, but he is the Stig's Italian cousin!
- "Some say he's the Stig, but he's not. He's the Stig's Chinese cousin!"
- Comes full circle with "Some say he's the Stig's Alpine cousin, but he's not--he's just the Stig!"
- Legacy Character: The first (black-suited) Stig was taken office by a second white-clad iteration of The Stig, who in turn was replaced by a third incarnation also dressed in white.
- Made of Iron: The Stig's car randomly exploded because the car he was in had a noted defect of randomly exploding. He walked away.
- The Messiah: Parodied in the Middle East Special, where the presenters discover a Baby Stig born in a manger.
- Memetic Badass: In-universe. Jeremy does little "facts" about him before every Stig lap.
- Nephewism: His counterparts are always his cousins.
- Nerves of Steel: He is shown sleeping while riding on Blackpool's infamous "Big One" rollercoaster.
- No Name Given
- Phrase Catcher: The introductions.
Clarkson: Some say that he [something improbable], and that he/his [something equally improbable if not more so]. All we know is, he's called The Stig.
- Red Baron
- Shrouded in Myth
- Spell My Name with a "The"
- The Other Darrin: The Black Stig was replaced by the White Stig, who was replaced by the Third Stig.
- The Nth Doctor: The other potential Stigs in the Stig-Farm.
- The Stoic
- The Voiceless
Black Stig (Perry McCarthy)
Sacked Stig (Ben Collins)
- Berserk Button: He developed an "Irrational Hatred" of Rubens Barrichello, following his 1:44.3 time on the Top Gear track- the only driver in the show's history to beat his own time of 1:44.4 in the Suzuki Liana.
- Fallen Hero
- Face Heel Turn: In the 2010 specials.
- Heel Face Turn: He returns in the final episode of series 17 to help train the wounded British veterans competing in the Dakar Rally.
Hammond: You know... to be honest, I am quite glad to see the old splitter back.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: He competes out of suit for a football match involving cars. Obviously, it's never alluded to that he's the Stig.
- Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Third Stig aged from a baby to an adult in the matter of a month. The rapid aging is explained by Jeremy that all Stigs grow very quickly.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The Third Stig, is pretty much the White Stig with different shoes and black shoulder patches. Justified in that if he was a different colour, they'd have had to change all the White Stig's merchandise.
Top Gear Dog
A female labradoodle belonging to Hammond. She appeared in Season 8 but appears to have been phased out of the show, possibly due to the small fact she dislikes being in vehicles, frequently gets car-sick and apparently hates James May. Also known as "TG" or "Teegee."
- Canine Companion
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Just dropped after Season 8 with no explanation.
- Dogs Are Dumb
- Team Pet
Top Gear Stuntman
A recurring character brought in to do occasional bits of madness which fall outside of Stig's repertoire, such as trying to reproduce movie stunts or vault over a number of cars... in reverse. Like Top Gear Dog, he has been phased out of the show.
Was a presenter with Clarkson and Hammond for Season 1 (fall/winter 2002) but then left and was replaced by James May.
Director of the "Top Gear Technology Centre"; this means he and his team do most of the heavy lifting when the presenters are given a challenge that involves seriously modifying a car. Became prominent in the episode where Clarkson, Hammond, May and The Stig entered the Britcar 24-hour endurance race (Series 10, Ep. 09): first, by performing most of the engine, brake and suspension modifications to convert their used BMW into a racing car, and secondly, pulling an all-nighter in order to completely rebuild the engine after it blew out during James May's nighttime practice laps. Astonishingly, Steve and his team were able to do a complete engine rebuild in roughly 12 hours, allowing the presenters to take their place in the race with literally seconds to spare. Also appeared briefly in Season 12, when the lads attempted to get a Renault Avantime up to the speed of a Mitsubishi Evo 10.
A 1963 Opel Kadett which Richard Hammond bought in Botswana during the African special. Despite "his" age and third-hand ownership, Oliver survived a one-thousand mile cross-country trip straight across the spine of Botswana, including the entirety of the Makgadikgadi Pan, the largest salt flat in the world. Hammond loved the car so much that he bought it with his own money and paid to have it shipped to Britain, lovingly restored it, and even fitted it with a vanity license plate (OLI V3R). Hammond is so fond of Oliver that he forfeited one of the challenges in the "How much Lorry can you get for £5,000?" segment in Series 12 rather than risk injuring the car. Now a featured character in Hammond's children's show, Richard Hammond's Blast Lab.
- Back From the Dead: Oliver had to be dragged out of this river, Hammond worked through the night in the middle of the African bush with only spare bits in a toolbox. The next morning he was working BETTER than he had before. Hammond even somehow fixed the horn!
- Berserk Button: Do NOT threaten Oliver when Hammond is around.
- Big No: When he nearly sank fording a river, Hammond let out an anguished cry of "OLLIVEEEERR!"
- Cargo Ship: With Richard Hammond.
- Companion Cube: In the lorry driving challenge, Oliver was outright said to be the thing that Hammond loved the most. He forfeited the challenge rather than risk injuring his friend.
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: Oliver's regeneration after being half-drowned in a river.
- Featuring in the opening credits of Blastlab.
- I Call It Vera
Hammond: "This is just the happiest car in the world. I shall call it Oliver. [*suddenly sobering*] Not that I would ever name a car on Top Gear. I wish I hadn't said that."
- Inexplicably Awesome: The Opal Kadett was the heaviest and slowest of all the three cars selected for the Botswana challenge yet Oliver managed to get through intact without Hammond stripping off any parts like the other two had done to their cars. He only discarded the spare wheel and "something else."
- Memetic Badass: To the point that the audience suggested that Oliver be crowned 2007's Car of the Year. Clarkson overruled them.
- What a Piece of Junk!: Was 40 years old and looked like scrap, but "he" got Hammond safely across Botswana.
One of the presenters from the original, 1977 to 2001 series. Now of rival show Fifth Gear. Is still technically counted as a Top Gear presenter (at least when James needed to race superbike piloted by a superbike champion). Also moonlighted as "emergency Stig" after the first White Stig left for one episode where he helped train that episodes guest star in a reasonably priced car (Danny Boyle).
- Badass Grandpa: Clarkson joked about having to pull him out of the retirement home.
- Legacy Character: Was a presenter from the original series of Top Gear.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Wears one of James May's purple striped shirts to pass off as him during the race between the Ariel Atom 500 V8 and the BMW S1000RR.
- The Sixth Ranger: On occasion.