- In the first of two special shows, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are challenged to complete an epic journey across Namibia in three beach buggies, each built to their personal spec.
- What starts off as a simple determination to win an argument with their boss turns into an amazing adventure across some of the most incredible desert scenery Africa has to offer.
The presenters are set a challenge by their producer, Andy Wilman, who wishes to show that beach buggies are poor vehicles. Their challenge is to drive one thousand miles (1,600 km) along Namibia’s Skeleton Coast in three beach buggies, each built to their personal specifications but all derived from the Volkswagen Beetle.
After 36 hours of going nowhere, the presenters camp by the shipwreck of the Eduard Bohlen before venturing to the Namib Desert. The trio climb and descend several dunes and travel through harsh terrain before finally reaching a road.
Clarkson’s buggy breaks down and is abandoned by Hammond and May, who arrive in Windhoek to have a beer while Clarkson struggles with overheating problems on his way to town.
0:01:21 – Namibia was part of the German Empire in the 19th century, then goverened by South Africa. It became independent in 1990. Obviously, this has nothing to do with beach buggies.
0:02:08 – James’s beach buggy shell is called a Prowler.
0:03:31 – Jeremy’s beach buggy is built around a shell design called ‘Sidewinder’.
0:03:31 – Jeremy calls Richard ‘Dicktari’ in reference to 1960s kids’ show Daktari which was about a fictional vet practise in East Africa and in which people wore a lot of khaki clothing.
0:04:21 – Richard’s ‘beach buggy’ shell is a design called ‘Predator’.
0:08:53 – This is a wreck of the Eduard Bohlen, a German cargo ship which ran aground in 1909.
0:09:31 – Haar – a British word for a cold sea fog, here used by salty seadog Cap’n Jeremy Claaaarrrkson.
0:13:04 – The constallation Crux, or the Southern Cross, is a star formation always visible in the southern hemisphere and used by sailors for orientation, just as the North Star is used in the northern hemisphere. How Jeremy knows any of this is, frankly, a mystery.
0:13:52 – Patrick Moore was a British astronomer and television presenter famed for actually knowing what he was talking about when it came to stars.
0:16:27 – Jeremy often says ‘Let’s not get bogged down with…’ It’s a tribute to the line, ‘Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who’ from the Monty Python & The Holy Grail.
0:20:41 – British car ultranerds will notice that Jeremy’s beach buggy has the back lights from a Ford Cortina mk1.
0:22:50 – ‘Bear Clarkson’ is a reference to outdoor survival expert and urine drinking enthusiast, Bear Grylls.
0:26:05 – The Namib Desert is over 1200 miles long and covers an area of over 31,000 square miles. Funnily enough, ‘Namib’ means ‘vast place’.
0:26:59 – Jeremy’s beach buggy has a 3.5-litre Rover V8 making 180 horsepower. Richard’s beach buggy has a 1.9-litre VW flat four making 110 horsepower. James’s beach buggy has a 1.8-litre flat four making 94 horsepower.
0:36:00 – Heliostat – a mirror that can turn to follow the path of the sun across the sky and reflect its rays. They’re often used at concentrated solar power plants.
0:41:46 – Movie nerds might spot a slight Ice Cold in Alex reference in the bar scene with Richard and James.