[Polar Challenge Special] July 25th, 2007

That American Girl

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The crew took the cars back while a plane picked up Jeremy and James.
Richard also got a plane back but he had to wait a while they either fixed the plane or got a different plane because the thing that lets the plane land on ice got broke.

I knew the presenters took planes back..and heck, who wouldn't?

But I wonder if the dog lady drove back as well? And I'm assuming that the crew drove the Hilux back too?
 

shellygrrl

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Yeah, Matty went all the way back to Resolute with her dogs.

The crew drove the truck back as well, I believe.
 

Wolfashin

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As the matter of fact, after the presenters were evacuated by plane, the team drove on, further north, to the disused Isachsen weather station, where they made camp and checked the vehicles to make sure they were in good enough condition to make the return trip to Resolute.

Hat down for the team ...
 

Firebird

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May and Clarkson visited the weather station before reaching the Pole, watch the directors cut.
A bit ghostly, also there were a stationed pickup truck there i believe.

EDIT: Fixed mistake
 
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Stewbie

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Just bought the S14 blu-ray (North American version). It actually includes the Polar Special!
 

RaphEmer

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Liked it, but it isn't my favourite special. I like it more when it's those three together, that's when the real fun starts to happen.

I feel the same way. Didn't realize it until earlier today, but the Polar special seemed more like a classic "Two against one" race (ie. across Japan, or to Oslo...) than subsequent specials (Bolivia, Botswana, etc), which had the three presenters together, facing whatever obstacles the land, producers, cars (and sometimes each other) came up with. Definitely enjoyed it...but it's not my fave.
 

skylock

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Behind the scenes.
 

Alasondro Alegré

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Revelator

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Since I don't know how long the Hjalti article will stay up, here's the rest of the Polar tidbits:

Not originally due to be on the North Pole adventure, put back a year after Richard Hammond suffered a near fatal car crash, Hjalti - at well over 6ft - jokes that he was the only one Clarkson could not bully.

?It was a brilliant trip for me personally and a huge thing for Arctic Trucks, a big break,? he says. ?I was not chosen originally because I was a Bear Grylls, boy scout type person. But we knew the cars, how to drive them and make them work.?

Despite his Arctic inexperience, Hjalti must have felt like he had to play babysitter to Clarkson and Co, who are renowned for their mucking around as much as they are for their motoring insight.

Hjalti admits he was concerned that antics in the Arctic could have been a cocktail for disaster.

?Remember the scene when they are drinking gin and tonic and saying technically they are sailing and not driving?? asks Hjalti.

?They had been doing that the whole day. It was surreal, the camp was attacked by a polar bear and we were in the middle of a sea of ice, sleeping in tents and had a couple of celebrities drinking gin and tonic. It was not very professional,? he recalls.

?But obviously everybody clicked together and realised how to do this... And Clarkson and May were not drinking the whole time!?

While the BBC?team will have wanted to get the action in the can, Hjalti says there was no room for prima donnas on the trip.

?The whole time there was a danger that the car could fall through the ice. So it was a little bit plain luck,? he says.

Prior to departure, local pilots and a weatherman told them the ice was impossible to cross in certain places.

It was not just luck that got them through though, the Top Gear boys were helped by what people from this region would know as ?wasta? - influence. Not only had Toyota signed on with an open chequebook to help fund the trip, without any guarantees of good reviews for the truck, dropping the Top Gear name helped keep the expedition on track, literally.

?We had been driving through rumble fields for days,? says Hjalti, referring to the most gloomy part of the trip where Clarkson and May were genuinely fed up.

?We heard it was possible to get ice satellite images. That is the only thing that kept us going. These guys are Top Gear, they can call somebody. So they called this Canadian guy who controls the [satellite] camera up there. ??Hello, we are Top Gear? and we need a satellite image of this area?.

?Ok it costs $10,000.? ?Tell me - are you a Top Gear fan? If I give you two tickets to see filming would you send the picture???

?No problem, they got it for free,? says Hjalti.

?When we got the picture it showed a clean surface in the middle of the fields. It was like 50km long - like a highway - so for two days we are digging into this only because we knew that highway was there, somewhere.?

As we bash up and down UAE dunes - a world away from the Arctic chill - it is clear that Hjalti is fiercely proud of the modified pick-up and the hundreds of hours of work put into it. So, it was a little disheartening when the Top Gear producers were adamant they wanted to break it on camera during the Arctic slog.

?They said to us in the beginning they were going to break it. that it would look good, they were going to roll it over,? he says.

?I felt really bad about it. On the second day though they realised that if we broke down we were done.?

Despite, this Clarkson did manage to destroy a shock absorber on the Hilux and damaged the fuel tank.

?Luckily that was an extra tank and he did not completely destroy it. If he had lost the fuel we would probably still be there,? says Hjalti.
 

onthewall2983

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I watched this again recently. What kind of trips me up is Clarkson's line about the nearest hospital being 1,500 miles away (if I remember right he said it not long after he and May set off). Apologies if this has been discussed before, but was that true or a little embellished for TV?
 
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skylock

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I watched this again recently. What kind of trips me up is Clarkson's line about the nearest hospital being 1,500 miles away (if I remember right he said it not long after he and May set off). Apologies if this has been discussed before, but was that true or a little embellished for TV?

Probably true. Hospitals are few and far between in the north. Not many people.

I worked in Alaska and the next hospital from where I was was like almost 600 miles away. Everything was flown in or out because we were not on the highway system. There was only around 60 miles of road around the town that basically went nowhere or to a village that had 40 people in it and they were impassable during the winter anyway. Two miles out of town there were big signs saying don't even try it or you may die. Summer, it was a nice day out. Wildlife everywhere.
 
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