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The twenty-second series of the BBC motoring show Top Gear, starring presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, premiered on the 25th of January, 2015, and concluded on the 28th of June, 2015, following a three-month hiatus. It was preceded by the two-part Patagonia Special, which aired in December 2014, and featured seven regular episodes in addition to the aforementioned special and a "Big Send-Off Special" inadvertently caused by what was to ensue behind the scenes. It would also be followed by the second series of James May's Cars of the People early the following year.

The series was put on hiatus in March of 2015 after Jeremy Clarkson was suspended by the BBC following a fracas with a producer on the show, Oisin Tymon; at the time, seven episodes of the series had aired. An investigation was conducted by the BBC after which Clarkson was dismissed from the show on the 25th of March, 2015. Subsequently, Clarkson's co-presenters Hammond and May announced that they would leave the show shortly after and the show's executive producer, Andy Wilman, also announced his resignation. As such, the series marks the final appearance of the show's iconic presenting line-up of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

No doubt spurred on by the myriad of controversies which occurred before, during, and after the series aired, viewing figures stabilised in comparison to its immediate predecessor, retaining the 6.49 million average that Series 21 set. Only one episode would fail to break the 6 million view mark, and the 7 million view mark would almost be broken three times, the final episode falling short by just 80,000 viewers. With the controversies surrounding the show and its main host, Jeremy Clarkson, coming to a head through the assault of Oisin Tymon in March 2015, the show would be renewed, with Hammond and May offered to retain their roles as hosts, though Jeremy Clarkson would be dismissed. This would put the show on hiatus for over a year, as all three hosts left to produce rival show and spiritual successor The Grand Tour.

Episodes

Episode Film(s) Track Test SIARPC
Patagonia Special (Part 1) (173) (Patagonia Special, Pt. 1) The presenters head off on a 1,600 mile trek across Patagonia in three aging V8 sports cars, heading for Ushuaia, the world's southern-most city, in order to play a game of car football. Along they way they must deal with all manner of terrain as well as several mechanical breakdowns, physical injuries, and several sketchy bridges.  None None
Patagonia Special (Part 2) (174) (Patagonia Special, Pt. 2) Now back in Argentina, the presenters approach the climax of their Patagonian adventure as they continue heading for Tierra del Fuego. However, unforeseen events force the crew to take drastic action as they near journey's end.   None None
0 (175) In a one-off live broadcast simulcast on BBC's Red Button, Facebook and YouTube, the three Top Gear hosts discuss the upcoming season, with a healthy dosage of preview clips in front of a studio audience. None Christian O'Connell (host)
1 (176) The presenters travel to Russia in an attempt to find the fastest way across the beautiful city of Saint Petersburg. With Jeremy on the water - in a disconcertingly large hovercraft, James defending the honour of the car - in a space-age Renault Twizzy, Richard on a bike, and the Stig once again baffled by public transport the race comes down to the wire. Lamborghini Huracan (Richard) Ed Sheeran
2 (177) The guys head to the Australian outback for a road trip, driving through the stunning scenery of the Northern Territory in three grand-tourers. Their trip sees the team camping in the outback, encountering crocodiles, racing through an open-pit mine, and a massive challenge to herd cattle. None Kiefer Sutherland
3 (178) The boys attempt to revolutionize the Emergency Services by each building their own ambulance. Having made their creations, the presenters are told to meet up for a series of life-like challenges to see if their homemade ambulances have a place in the real world. None Daniel Ricciardo
4 (179) Jeremy questions which new BMW is best, starting at the Top Gear test track with the old school M3, he then takes the futuristic i8 up the Yorkshire Coast in search of some fish and chips. Richard pays homage to the Land Rover Defender by driving it up a dam, remaking an old advert. Mercedes AMG GTS (James) Margot Robbie, Will Smith
5 (180) Jeremy and James take a look at the weird and wonderful history of Peugeot in a film involving artillery shells, corsets, and a trip to the desert. Also, James finally puts Ferrari's latest and greatest hybrid supercar - the LaFerrari - to the test on the glorious roads of Italy. Porsche Cayman GTS vs Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (Richard) Olly Murs
6 (181) Richard is dropped into the wilds of Canada's British Columbia to test a watch with a built-in distress beacon which unfortunately is received by Jeremy and James who are disinterested and disorganised. Eventually, they arrive, procure two pickup trucks, and set off into the frozen wilderness to rescue their their colleague. Lexus RC F (Jeremy) Gillian Anderson
7 (182) James is forced outside his comfort zone as he enters in a professional race at the FIA World Rallycross championships in Lydden Hill with Jeremy and Richard as his support crew. To make matters worse he is sent to compete against Top Gear USA Host, Tanner Foust. Elsewhere, Richard drives the new Mazda MX-5 in Spain. Jaguar F-Type R and Eagle Low Drag GT (Jeremy) Nicholas Hoult
Final (183) The presenters investigate the strange world of classic car ownership by buying a perfect classic convertible for the English summer. Later, the trios are challenged to purchase a second hand SUV meet up for a series of challenges to see who got the best deal, with a severe punishment for the loser. None None

Unaired Episodes

Following presenter Jeremy Clarkson's suspension on the 10th of March, 2015 the final episodes of the series - episodes 8 through 10 - were pulled by the BBC. Footage from these episodes was compiled for one final episode, which was broadcast several months later.

Episode Film(s) Track Test SIARPC
10 The guys decide to investigate the strange world of classic car ownership and are challenged to each buy, what they believe to be, the perfect classic convertible for the English summer. Then, they must attempt to become true classic car owners by taking a drive in the country, tinkering with their engines, and participating in a track day. Subaru WRX STi vs Volkswagen Golf R (Richard) Gary Lineker
11 The guys are challenged to each purchase a second hand SUV on the cheap and meet up for a series of challenges to see who got the best deal. Their challenges involve watersports, caravanning, and an off-road challenge. Luxury Limousines (Jeremy) Henry Cavill
12 Unknown. Unknown (possibly Porsche 911 GTS & Rolls-Royce Wraith Unknown (possibly Keanu Reeves)

Final Episode

After many months of speculation, on the 9th of June, 2015 the BBC finally confirmed that a final special episode was in production which would compile some of the unaired footage from the series. The episode was the first in modern Top Gear history in which Jeremy Clarkson was not featured as a presenter for the studio links, his role taken up by an elephant of the same name. These segments featured only James May and Richard Hammond, and did not have an audience.

The episode combined the two main features from the cancelled eighth and ninth episodes which saw Clarkson, Hammond, and May partake in a classic car challenge and attempt to purchase the best second-hand SUV for less than £250.

A pair of teasers for the episode were revealed on the 9th of June, 2015. Later, the BBC announced that the 75-minute-long episode would air on the 28th of June, 2015.

Although the episode made use of the majority of the footage that was shot for the remainder of the series, there remains a number of films that were shelved and will likely never be seen. The main film that was to be featured in the tenth episode was being filmed at the time of Jeremy Clarkson's dismissal and was likely incomplete. Furthermore, Richard Hammond was due to review the new Subaru WRX in Episode 8 and Clarkson was set to conduct a power test of three limousines in Episode 9. It is unknown if either of these films were shot.

Trivia

  • Filming of the series was conducted in countries spanning a total of five continents, including North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia/Oceania. The only continent left unvisited was Asia.
  • The series marks the final appearances of Clarkson, Hammond and May as presenters on the show. May would remain, whilst under contract from Amazon, to produce the final three episodes of Cars of the People.
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