Top Gear (2002 TV series)/Series 9

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Series 9 (2002 format)
The Stig posing with a collection of hot hatchbacks.
The Stig posing with a collection of hot hatchbacks.
Episodes 6
Originally aired 28/01/2007 - 04/03/2007
Original network BBC Two
Resolution 576i
Aspect ratio 16:9 Widescreen
Uncut length 354:41 (without Polar Special), 429:04
Preceded by Series 8 (2006)
Superceded by Series 10 (2007)

The ninth series of Top Gear premiered in the United Kingdom on the 28th January, 2007, and concluded on the 4th March, 2007, after a run of 6 episodes. The series' main host was Jeremy Clarkson, and he was accompanied by Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig as co-presenters. The series was produced at Television Centre in Wood Lane, London, and aired on BBC Two in a 60-minute studio format. Series 9 attracted an average viewership rating of 7.45 million viewers per episode, with a peak of 8.13 million viewers for Episode 1, and a low of 6.18 million viewers for U.S. Special.

Highlights from this series include the aforementioned special, which despite its comparatively low viewing figures, heralded a new era of Top Gear programming, in addition to Hammond's lauded return in the wake of his 2006 accident. There was also an amateur rocket fabricated from a Reliant Robin, in addition to the first challenge filmed following Hammond's injury, the Limousine Challenge, which tasked the trio with building three limousines from domestically-available models in time for the 2007 BRIT Awards.

The show's sudden increase in viewing figures lead it to dethroning Celebrity Big Brother, then its main rival in the 8:00 PM Sunday timeslot it had occupied since its inception. This increase would be permanent, with a regular viewing audience of 6 - 7 million people until the end of the 2002 format in 2015.

Home video distribution[edit | edit source]

Main article: Top Gear (2002 TV series)/Home Video Releases/Series Box Sets/Series 9
Series 9 would first be released on home video on 19th October, 2012 in Germany as a Region 2 release. Strangely, this was the only home video release for Series 9. Major cuts were made to the episodes for clearance reasons, which included omitting the entire first episode due to Richard Hammond's request that the episode never be shown again. As a consolation, the box set features the Winter Olympics Special from Series 7 as a substitute.

From the series' original 6 hour runtime, the DVD version of Series 9 has been reduced to just 4:15:53, with almost 2 hours of footage being cut in total, and even when one discounts the first episode, 38 minutes remain excised from the five featured episodes. Stranger still, the box set was released in 2012, after several of its immediate successors had already been distributed on DVD and Blu-Ray internationally. As of 2022, it remains the earliest series of Top Gear to receive a home video release in box set form.