Jeremy Clarkson returns for another dose of his annual DVD collection of motoring mayhem in this latest release, Duel. The show is packed with, well, duels, as the Top Gear presenter sets himself and his guests various tasks, such as who is the best celebrity offroader – newsreader Kate Silverton, former England rugby ace Matt Dawson or singer-songwriter Ronan Keating? Or which car is best for powersliding in wellies, ice skates or swimming fins? Or which is the best car show, Top Gear or that other Gear show? Some say that The Stig hates fifth gear, and he hardly uses it!
Let's face it, this DVD is only going to appeal to fans of Clarkson and Top Gear. If you're not, then why are you even reading this review? If you are, then not to worry, the latest helping of the growling motoring journalist and presenter is just as good as you would expect. The duels are suitably ridiculous and there are some fantastic cars on show, including a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, a BMW M3 and an Aston Martin DBS Volante, all beautifully captured in the fetishistic cinematography style of Top Gear. Clarkson's DVDs always play like extended episodes of the top rated BBC motoring show anyway, except clearly without the Hamster and Captain Slow, so cue lots of super fast edits of cars speeding by the camera and overuse of that blue hue lens they seem to film every car through.
The real appeal of the show, beside the cars, is Clarkson himself. Widely vilified in the left wing press for being a bit of an opinionated, Tory-loving arse, Clarkson still makes for a highly likable presenter and he can make motoring technobabble, such as torque and slip diffs (whatever that is), sound exciting to the least knowledgeable petrolhead. His dry sense of humour, amiable presentation style, wide motoring knowledge (OK, so he's not James May, but he still knows his stuff) and tendency to shout "Power!" whenever possible perfectly blend to make a highly enjoyable and entertaining 90 minutes or so of car-related fun.
If you are at a loss of what to buy Dad or your brother for Christmas, then this DVD certainly fits the bill – it's no surprise that Clarkson's new DVDs always top the special interest charts in the run up to the festive season. Now ... what to buy Mum?
EXTRAS * Clarkson's DVDs are always disappointing on this front, and Duel is no different. OK, so you get a gallery of behind the scenes photos and some downloadable screensavers for your PC, but there's nothing particularly exciting on here. Some mini interviews with his guests about their experiences might have been nice, particularly as the 'star in a reasonably priced car' segment of Top Gear is such an enjoyable part of the show.