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Customer Review

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet more essential outings from the lads!, 21 July 2010
This review is from: Top Gear - The Challenges 4 [DVD] (DVD)
Volume 4 in the Top Gear Challenges DVDs, like the ones before it, has plenty to satisfy fans' appetites and is again so reflective of the show's consistent quality. Like Volume 3, this is a two-disc set with room for some superb extras. But the sheer number of challenges collected here (more than any previous compilation), means that the whole programme is actually spread across the two discs, making viewing this time come across as a true journey with plenty of hilarities and excitement.

So which famous exploits of Jezza, Hamster and Captain Slow are present this time round? The Train Race from London to Scotland (with Jeremy in the Tornado steam locomotive, Richard on the Black Vincent motorcycle, and James in the old Jaguar), the attempt to build an Electric Car (as reviewed in Autocar), Ice Racing, the Police Cars (FINALLY!), Classic Rally, a Fiesta road test, Commie Cars (as tested by Jeremy and James), James' day with internet sensation Ken Block, the Audi RS6 against a couple of Skiers, James in a boat against Richard in a Ferrari in the Riviera and finally a test to see if the almighty Bugatti Veyron can surpass the legendary McLaren F1 hypercar. That's an unprecedented ELEVEN challenges collected for a DVD release, which is uncanny.

Now, because this is Top Gear, and it's new challenges, it's obviously essential purchasing. And the consistent freshness of these releases means you still won't be disappointed. The Train Race is absolutely excellent, due to Jeremy being on the magnificent Tornado and Richard coming into his element as `the Black Shadow' and the true-to-form high-stakes nature of the challenge. The Electric Car and Police Car escapades both feature originality and innovation, and the Ice Racing with rear-wheel drive cars features Jeremy realising he can actually MEND things and the presence of the dreaded Morris Marina. All these challenges are true classic, with the rest being exceptional. In other words, you won't be disappointed with the content.

Presentation-wise, the DVD is again typical BBC and 2Entertain quality. Picture and sound are clean and crisp, there're good subtitles, the menus are well-designed and structured, chapter breaks are at convenient points; it's what we've come to expect from these DVDs since the BBC learned from the mistakes of the very first Challenges DVD.

In terms of extras, you can expect usual things like extended interviews with celebrities (Jenson Button and AC/DC's Brian Johnson), multi-angle features (a ride with the Stig and a Training Run with Speed ), and more unseen footage of the show and the Top Gear Awards. Those who've experienced previous Challenges volumes can expect to be fascinated by the new, noticeable footage and totally immersed by the multi-angle features and car spotlights.

The only problem with Top Gear: The Challenges 4 that may irk some fans is the noticeable changes to the soundtrack here and there. This has always been a problem that has hindered DVD releases of the show. Because of the annoying contractual reasons, you can no longer expect to see (for example) James arriving in his Lexus to the theme of "Murder, She Wrote" during the Police Car challenge. It's understandable, and the challenges are still such great entertainment, but it remains unfortunate that we no longer have the music we fondly remember and have substitute music which is hit-and-miss.

Still, it's Top Gear, it's the Challenges, and the choice, features and presentation are brilliant as always. And fans are going to buy it regardless.

So what are you waiting for?
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Review Details



R. Wood

Top Reviewer Ranking: 970