Top Gear – India Special Review – 2011 Christmas Special

I’ve been greatly looking forward to this year’s Top Gear Christmas season special – especially after I heard it would take place in India – a country that would surely challenge our crew. The question is – could they top last year’s Middle East special or the best Christmas special of recent years – the Vietnam special?

I think they have.

The premise of this year’s special is simple – to help save Britain’s economy they set off to India on a trade mission. Amusingly, they start out at 10 Downing St with the Prime Minister telling them not to go and to stay away from India.

Fast forward to India and they introduce their choice of cars for the journey. They make Interesting choices of cars – Jeremy chooses a Jaguar XJS, James a Rolls Royce and Richard chooses a classic Mini cooper. I question the logic of choosing a mini with a Union Jack painted on the roof…

One thing is clear from this special – India is a dizzying place. I’m not sure it’s a place I could comfortably travel too.

This special had a slightly different structure than previous specials. Their journey across India was interspersed with several mini adventures including an 18 hour train ride, creating banners to promote British Business, a hill rally using locals, etc. I liked the new structure.

Indian highways are rather crazy and the crew gets into several altercations and discover that when they get into accidents with Indians, they Indians keep on driving. I would also not recommend playing ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ on a loudspeaker as you drive through India.

The highlight of the episode is when they attempt to have a British Garden Party to demonstrate British Food, products and culture. It of course ends up being a disaster of Top Gear proportions.

The journey ends with them driving through in the Himalayas to reach the end of India and it’s a beautiful journey with plenty of scenery to admire. If you can watch this special in HD – it’s quite spectacular.

There’s a rather funny moment near the end where they share their dream of a fantasy Top Gear Christmas special. Honestly, it’s much more entertaining to watch them suffer.

The 2011 Top Gear Christmas India special was a very entertaining journey and I can’t wait to see where they take us in the new series of Top Gear (Series 18) due to start in the UK in January.

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  1. avatar says

    Thanks Jonathan, I am sure the train ride would have been disastrous. I haven’t watched the episode yet, but I am sure it was fantastic. Your comment about Indians keep driving after meeting with an accident is so true. I would have rather seen them driving around in a Ferrari, a Lamborghini and an Alfa on Indian roads with the potholes and the cows.

    • avatarnigel lockley says

      Watching the end of this expensive load of crap – it is without doubt the worst Top Gear of all time. Remember when they used to review cars???!!!!!

  2. avatarAndy says

    Top Gear India
    What a complete waste of licence cash to indulge these three on another expedition.
    When will the BBC understand this format simply does not work. This programme should be dealing with motoring issues relevant to the viewer and not pointless profile enhancement of Clarkson and team!!!!

  3. avatarGreg says

    I’m afraid I didn’t rate it highly. There were a few amusing moments but as a whole I thought it was weak and direction-less. Jeeza, Hamster and Slow looked tired and like they were just going through the motions. Sadly, going by this episode the show is getting very close to it’s sell by date.

  4. avatarAndy says

    I love Top Gear and love what they have done with the series, but seriously Mr. Anglophie, get out of your well and see that India is not all snakes and elephants like you Brits still seem to think…it’s not Britain, and the sun does set pretty quickly nowadays on the British empire, so learn some humility, Britain ain’t all that chuffin’ great either

  5. avatarterry b says

    give me a break , it was rubbish . three old men going through the motions. They could have made it better but were to lazy.

    • avatarMick says

      Precisely correct. 3 has-been idiots who think so much of themselves they can’t be bothered to even try. It was the worst installment of Top Gear I have ever seen and it may even signal the beginning of the end for that show. They’re no longer entertaining and no longer care.

  6. avatarSimon says

    I thought it was poor this time.

    They are becoming parodies of themselves.

    There were some funny moments but this was connected by the usual banalities that are ingrained in the series.

    Still it’s making lots of money for the BBC so that can’t be a bad thing.

    6 out of 10

  7. avatarKeith Thomas says

    Have to say I think it was the funniest thing on TV over the holiday so far!.

    Top marks to David Cameron for his cameo (almost a pun?) and I though the summation from JC at the end was quite touching in his obvious affection for the cars and acknowldgement of the service they delivered despite they hammering they took.

    Good job lads.

  8. avatarRay Millard says

    I’m afraid I was disappointed in this one: it seemed to follow the usual formula where they mess with another team mate’s car; do some signs that turn out to be rude; and spoil perfectly good classic cars.

    I love Top Gear, but I think the India programme was a missed opportunity. The formula needs to be changed, otherwise I feel it will wither on the vine.

  9. avatarJames Stevenson says

    Absolute rubbish.

    A case of three tired old hacks trying far too hard to be funny.


  10. avatarGiles says


    Used to love the show but it is getting tired and old now. The spark has gone and most of the time they are just going through the motions. Still the occasional funny bit but few and far between.


  11. avatarStuart says

    I loved their previous Specials but this was appalling self-indulgent nonsense with far too many set-up racial stereotypes and very little clever humour.
    I accept that Top Gear has moved away from being a show about cars that people will actually drive, but this was just puerile nonsense.

  12. avatarAndrew says

    I thought that the india special was epic!!

    It had lots of funny, entertaining moments and was really fun to watch.

    The only thing I didn’t like is that it was only 90 minutes!

    One of the best specials they’ve ever done!

  13. avatarA Leigh says

    Avid fan of Top Gear, but unfortunately, I didn’t have a good impression with this episode. It felt to scripted and rehearsed with nothing shockingly new. Despite all of that, it was nevertheless a “good” episode and will be looking forward into seeing more in the future.

  14. avatarsteg says

    Must admit I thought the India special was an opportunity lost. The boys dialed this one in — totally pre-scripted, no drama or tension. The “meal delivery” at the start — gosh, those weren’t real meals. Oh, look, James gets “lost”, zzzz. The “uphill rally” — oh look Jeremy drives like an idiot — gee that’s a surprise. Oh, look Richard’s car gets destroyed by the winch, zzzzz.

    The scenery up north was very pretty.

    The India special was three jaded presenters leaning on their producers and script writers. They need to stop hamming to their cartoon characters, and start being themselves again.


  15. avatarBill says

    I have been an avid fan of Top Gear since the days of Raymond Baxter, I watch repeats of repeats on Dave but this was the first time I have ever switched over half way through a programme. The scenes were so contrived and the humour so puerile it was embarrassing. Get back to what you do best guys and concentrate on the cars and please try to elevate the humour above the level of 4 year-olds.

  16. avatarGayner Wholey says

    Poor Poor effort by the TG team. TG is in desperate need of a revamp this “special” was aweful.

  17. avatarMud says

    The funniest show on TV for ages. Clarkson is genius and that banner on the train had everyone in hysterics

  18. avatarJohn B. says

    This India special was awful, worst TG yet. Way too staged and scripted in most parts of it. This show has gone past it and they’ve forgotten what made it funny in the beginning.

    Last season with things like catching a skier on fire and most of that staged mishaps as well. This show is just getting very bad and not funny.

    The India special looked like 3 guys going through the motions like it was a bad Monday at work. Damned shame too because this WAS the best show on television and now it is just non-spontaneous boring bad acting.

  19. avatarYakyai says

    More 4th form drivel from three tired sad old parodies. No wonder Cocky Clarkson is so unpopular and the Hamster would do well to distance himself.
    James May it would seem has already started, although there is a lot of money on offer for the next series. Be brave BBC it’s time to can this show

  20. avatar says

    I was forced to watch this due to circumstances beyond my control. It was like watching one of the worst episodes of Last Of The Summer Wine without the honesty or wit. Contrived puerile high jinks. And you can see in their faces that every time they say Great Britain, they would rather be saying Great England. That last bit is probably just my Scot’s paranoia though.
    Trite tripe.

  21. avatarJonny says

    I’m a huge top gear fan but I was really disappointed with this years offering I’m not even sure i made it to the end the whole thing seemed forced and only there because of tradition. I can only hope the new series is a LOT better after all they only manage 6-7 a series i remember when they used to do 19-20 a year. So come on Jeremy put some effort in after all your earning at least £80,000 an episode!!