This article is also available in: Italiano
When one of the most entertaining shows of the century ever travels to the Middle East, magic is just around the corner. In this legendary Top Gear special we will see Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May wearing the clothes of the three kings, determined to bring their gifts all the way to Jerusalem to Jesus
Top Gear’s 3 unlikely magi
In the 2010 Christmas special, the 3 protagonists of Top Gear, a very popular British engine-themed series, will be catapulted to Erbil, a city in the Iraqi Kurdistan, with a very particular goal: to bring gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jerusalem, in order to recreate the legend of the three kings. The journey will see them cross Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Israel, until they reach the much sought-after destination and pay homage to the nativity in their own way.
In the meantime, literally everything will happen, with food poisoning, unlikely niqabs and machines with an increasingly absurd appearance thanks to the protagonists’ mania for “identifying themselves” with the local reality. At the end of the journey, in addition to the means of transport, with the camels replaced by a Mazda, a Fiat and a BMW, the gifts they will become will also be revolutionized: a gold medallion, an incense shampoo and a Nintendo DS (according to Jeremy Clarkson, Jesus would have appreciated more).
Top Gear in the Middle East
The episode is one of the first ever to be filmed in the Middle East and is among the most popular ever in the history of the program, thanks also to truly evocative and timeless settings. In fact, we will pass from an area known for its mountains such as Kurdistan, to desert landscapes such as those near Palmyra, up to legendary cities such as Aleppo and Damascus, ancient places already in Roman times.
Other impossible places not to mention are Jerash, in Jordan, where the 3 will compete in a Nascar race organized inside a Roman hippodrome, and Lake Tideriade, where Jeremy will even try to walk on water. Truly unique experiences in television, combined by the fact that, contrary to what the people directly involved thought, the trio is well known in the area, so much so that they are treated as real pop stars. This will be seen especially in Syria when, following James May’s injury, Richard Hammond and Clarkson will try to go to the hospital covered with a niqab, promptly discovered by the locals.
Syria before the war
Even more interesting than the adventures itself, however, is observing how Syria has changed so much in just a few years, from a wealthy and welcoming nation to the humanitarian disaster we know today. This is extremely visible and present in the episode, shot just 3 months before the outbreak of the Arab Springs.
A testimony that gives even more value to an episode that, otherwise, would be just a fun pastime. Who writes to you does not even have a license for the moped so trust me: if you find it, get it back because it’s worth it.
Follow me on facebook, Spotify, YouTube and Instagram, or on the Telegram channel; find all the links in one place: here. Any like, sharing or support is welcome and helps me to devote myself more and more to my passion: telling the Middle East