The Top Gear Stunt That Was Definitely Rigged

A lot of unscripted TV doesn’t actually mimic reality and is doctored somewhat for the entertainment of its viewers. We expect reveals like these to come from shows from all different kinds of genres, including big name programs like Pimp My Ride. However, I wasn’t expecting former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson to come out and explain in detail that a segment the show created was 100% rigged. But that’s what he recently did. The stunt in question? The now-famous clip of the Reliant Robin rolling over again and again. Here’s what the man had to say:

Well, now’s the time to come clean. A normal Reliant Robin will not roll unless a drunken rugby team is on hand. Or it’s windy. But in a headlong drive to amuse and entertain, I’d asked the backroom boys to play around with the differential so that the poor little thing rolled over every time I turned the steering wheel.

Jeremy Clarkson’s skill sets extend beyond TV hosting, and the above quote comes from an editorial the man penned for the Sunday Times, which also reveals that he was asked to carry around a hammer in case he needed to break some glass while filming the dangerous segment. It later flew past his face, which was probably more dangerous than the rolls themselves. Obviously, this segment was shot more for humor than as a review or test drive of the actual vehicle itself, so the fact that this was pure fantasy isn’t so outrageous. Still, I’m a little surprised the story is coming out, now, as Clarkson prepares to launch another "reality" car series. All in all, if your kid ever asks you whether or not the Reliant Robin moment was real, you can now feels perfectly honest when answering with a snort and a “nope.”

If you haven’t seen the incredibly amusing segment, you can watch it in full, courtesy of the original BBC show, below.

I guess the number of times the car is shown totally off-kilter should be a pretty big indication that this bit was rigged, but I’m still amused that Clarkson is now straight-up admitting it. Plus, he says he liked the experience so much that he’s done the bit more than once.

Since then I've used similarly doctored and similarly hammer-free Reliant Robins in countless games of car football during our live shows. And as a result there's probably no one on the planet who's rolled a car quite as much as I have.

Jeremy Clarkson is currently gearing up to give us more entertaining car moments. He and his onscreen chums James May and Richard Hammond have a new show heading to Amazon sometime in the near future. As soon as we get more juicy details regarding the title and more we’ll let you know. In the meantime, you can relive way more Top Gear favorites, here.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.