Top Gear (2002 TV series)/Home Video Releases
Since 2003, Top Gear has released compilations, box sets, and specially-filmed material on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Due to the BBC's blanket licence in regards to copyrighted footage and music that would otherwise necessitate purchase from the necessary rights holders, many challenges and episodes are not presented in the manner in which they were initially broadcast.
Series Box Sets[edit | edit source]
Main article: Top Gear (2002 TV series)/Home Video Releases/Series Box Sets
Criticisms[edit | edit source]
There are many problems with the series box sets which make them generally unworthwhile purchases for fans of the show.
Incompleteness[edit | edit source]
The most obvious of these is the incompleteness of the show's coverage. Even if one legally owns every Top Gear home video release, they can only watch the latter 14 series produced from 2007 - 2015, and fans living in the UK will need to import their copies of Series 9, 12, 18, 21 & 22 from mainland Europe, as they were never sold in the former. The programme's first 8 series were never released individually, and nothing from Series 6, barring the Race to Oslo|Race to Oslo, ever appeared on home video.
Later on, Series 2, 3, and 6 may have been released in Japan by Assist-Corp in 2019, but they were released in such few numbers that even the most ardent collector will be generally unable to find them without resorting to bootlegging.
Furthermore, Blu-Ray releases of the series are very limited, and only Series 14 - 17 are available in this manner.
Missing episodes[edit | edit source]
In addition, there are several episodes from the selected time period which cannot be watched, either due to clearance issues, personal issues, or simple omission.
- Series 9, Episode 1 is not available to watch on home video due to host Richard Hammond's request the footage never be shown again.
- Neither of the programme's charity specials from 2007 and 2008 were ever released on home video.
- All non-broadcast versions of Series 15, Episode 5 remove the Ayrton Senna tribute film due to copyright issues with FOM. The Italian Blu-Ray release of Series 15 & 16 remove the episode entirely.
- Top Gear: Festival Sydney was never released on home video.
- Series 1 of James May's Cars of the People was only released on DVD in Australia as a very hard-to-find Region 4 release.
- The programme's second series was never released on any home video format.
- An Evening with Top Gear is not included on any Series 22 box set.
Loss of quality[edit | edit source]
The versions of the episodes released on home media are not at their original broadcast quality; in order to fit several episodes onto space-limited discs, they have been compressed. Usually, this is not particularly noticeable unless one looks at finer details such as car number plates.
The final five series, originally broadcast in high definition, are only available on DVD at standard definition, with just the specials being released separately on Blu-Ray.
Gratuitous cuts[edit | edit source]
Typically, cuts were made because the original footage contained copyrighted material or the content featured might have been deemed objectionable. However, certain releases cut footage as a simple cost-cutting measure and did not need to be removed. The worst offender of these are the Series 10 box sets. Due to featuring 10 episodes, unnecessary cuts were made to The News and Star-in-a-Reasonably-Priced-Car segments in order to cut each episode down to 50 minutes, so that the whole series could fit on to three discs as opposed to incorporating a fourth.
Incorrect framerate[edit | edit source]
Region 1 releases have been "stretched" to 60 FPS from their original 50, which creates intermediary frames that are noticeable under playback as a ghosting effect.
Lack of bonus features[edit | edit source]
Most Region 2 releases of the series box sets do not feature bonus material, which is odd since the Region 1 releases typically do. None of the online-only bonus clips from Series 11 - 13 were included on any home video release, and due to various website revamps, were eventually removed, rendering them lost media. In addition, a lot of the bonus features included were also featured in other Top Gear releases, meaning they weren't exclusive, and were often from different series than the one the box set originally covered.
Confusing release dates[edit | edit source]
Due to BBC/2Entertain and BBC America's differing approaches to releasing box sets, as well as the plethora of licenced European vendors, series were often released out-of-order and years after their original broadcast.
Compilation Box Sets[edit | edit source]
Main article: Top Gear (2002 TV series)/Home Video Releases/Great Adventures Releases
Main article: Top Gear (2002 TV series)/Home Video Releases/The Challenges Releases