facts about Top Gear, facts about the Top Gear test track, facts about Top Gear's The Stig,facts about Jeremy Clarkson, facts about Richard Hammond, facts about James May.
Top Gear is a British BAFTA and EMMY award winning B.B.C series, primarily about cars, which is also considered an entertainment programme in it's own right, due to the charismatic and humourous personalities of it's three male presenters.
The programme was first launched in 1977 and ran until 2001, when it was taken off air due to low viewing figures.
The series was re - launched in 2002 and has become one of the most viewed T.V programmes in the world, with an average 380 million viewers worldwide.
Today the programme can be seen in nearly every country of the world, with re - runs, repeats and a new series all running concurrently on at least three British T.V stations at any one time.
The show has also been replicated in several other countries, using the same format with three presenters, in the U.S, Australia and Russia.
The show has been acclaimed for being a masterpiece of visual presentation, humour, expert knowledge and general interest, even amongst those that have no interest in cars.
Since it's re - launch and facelift in 2002, there have been 128 episodes from 16 series as well as Christmas specials and Top Gear Challenges.
The programme is reknowned for it's regular features such as races, challenges, power laps, cool wall and 'star in reasonably priced car' features.
THE STIG FACTS
The Stig has been a regular feature of Top Gear since 2002.
The Stig is the show's resident, professional driver, whose identity is a closely guarded secret.
There have been 3 Stigs to date. The first was Perry McCarthy who wore all black and is known as The Black Stig. He appeared on the first 22 episodes of the re - launch in 2002.
The second Stig was Ben Collins, who is known as the original White Stig. He appeared on the show from 2003 until 2010. He was sacked from the programme in 2010 for revealing his identity in his autobiography.
The Stig was the brainchild of series producer Andy Wilman, who along with presenter Jeremy Clarkson, named him after the name given to ' new boys ' at their former college, Repton School in Derbyshire.
TOP GEAR FACTS.
The original Top Gear, was first televised in 1977 from the Pebble Mill studios in Birmingham. it was originally a half hour long, bog standard car review programme, which showed test drives, pricing and performance reviews of the days popular cars.. it's first presenter of many, was Angela Rippon.
Top Gear's re - launch was first aired on BBC 2 television in Great Britain on the 20th of October 2002 and was originally presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and Jason Dawe.
Since it's re - launch in 2002, there have been 128 episodes from 16 series.
The series is televised with a live audience in a large aircraft hangar at Dunsfold Aerodrome, Surrey.
Other features for the show are filmed at Waverley Business Park, Surrey.
It is currently aired on three British channels at any one time, B.B.C 2, B.B.C HD and DAVE.
It is distributed abroad by B.B.C Worldwide.
TEST TRACK FACTS.
The location of it's test track is Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, a former Canadian, W.W.II air base.
The test track's corners are called, Gambon ( after actor Michael Gambon), Crooner, Wilson, Bacharach, Bentley, Chicago and Hammerhead.
The test track is 1.72 miles long ( 2.82 km ).
The test track was originally designed for Top Gear by Lotus Cars.
The cars used in the ' star in reasonably priced car ' feature have been, from 2002 - 2005 - a Suzuki Liana. From 2006 - 2010 - a Chevrolet Lacetti and from 2010 - present a Kia Cee'd.
JEREMY CLARKSON FACTS.
Jeremy Clarkson, affectionately known as ' Clarkson ' was born on the 11th of April 1960 in Doncaster, Yorkshire.
He is typified as the alpha male of the trio and is reknowned for his sarcastic humour and tongue - in - cheek remarks.
He is 6ft 5 ins tall, making him one of the tallest people on British T.V.
He was educated at Repton School, Derbyshire.
He is an author and journalist, and started his career writing for a local newspaper.
He appears on T.V less than his two peers, preferring to write for British national newspapers and to write books, although he does make guest appearances on topical panel shows.
He has been married twice, presently to Francis Cain, whom he married in 1993.
They have three children, Emily, Katya and Finlo and live in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.
He originally appeared on Top Gear in 1988 until it's axe in 2001 and was one of the original presenters for it's re - launch in 2002.
Along with co - presenter James May, Jeremy is hailed as the first man to ever drive a car to the North Pole, when he made Polar Challenge for Top Gear in 2007.
RICHARD HAMMOND FACTS.
Richard Hammond, affectionately known as ' The Hamster ' was born on the 19th of December 1969 in Solihull, Warwickshire.
He is typified by his cheeky disposition and his cute, good looks.
He was educated at Harrogate College of Arts and Technology, and has worked as an author, journalist, radio DJ and television presenter.
As well as Top Gear he is known for his Brainiac and Wipeout series and Morrison's supermarket ads.
He married Amanda Etheridge in 2002 and they have two daughters, Isabella and Willow.
The family currently live in Gloucestershire.
Richard joined Top Gear as one of it's original presenters of it's re - launch in 2002.
He is probably best remembered for his near fatal accident in York on the 20th of September in 2006, whilst filming a race in a Vampire Dragster for Top Gear. He crashed the dragster whilst travelling at 288 miles an hour and received serious head injuries, of which he has made a spectacular and full recovery.
JAMES MAY FACTS.
James May, affectionately known as ' Captain Slow ' was born in Bristol on the 16th of January 1963.
He is typified by his serious and sensible disposition of which he is often ridiculed by his fellow presenters, making him the show's ' stooge'.
He is an alma mater of the University of Lancaster where he studied music and in 2010 was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters.
Of the three Top Gear presenters James is the one most seen on T.V, as he has made several science series, as well series on wine, toys and music.
James originally began his Top Gear career in 1999 until it's axe in 2001, joining the present line - up in 2003.
He presently lives in Hammersmith, London with his partner, dance critic, Sarah Frater.
Along with co - presenter Jeremy Clarkson, James is hailed as one of the first men to drive to the North Pole in a car, when he made Polar Challenge, for Top Gear in 2007.
VISIT THE TOP GEAR WEBSITE www.bbc.co.uk/topgear
Other British popular culture articles.
Images courtesy of wikimedia commons.
Presenters by Ed Perchik.
Test track by Joel Russel.
The Stig by Nahtanoj