Complete Speed with Guy Martin

Sunday, 07 June 2015 23:00 Written by 

Complete Speed - out now on DVD and Blu-rayIn the wake of the recent Top Gear fiasco, Guy Martin's name was near the top of many people's lists for replacement presenters. Having seen the eight daring feats documented in this new release, it would be difficult to disagree. Already a legend in the field of motorbike racing, Guy's love of engineering is combined with an unquenchable thirst for fresh, thrill-seeking challenges, and a desire to push his body and mind to their limits.

This box set includes both series as shown on Channel 4. Each of the eight episodes task Guy with breaking a speed or distance record on land, water or in the air. Surrounded by small teams of British pioneers in the fields of science, engineering and human endurance, Guy must construct innovative vehicles and undergo intense physical training to give him the best possible chance of success, whilst minimising the risk to life and limb.

The episodes are “Britain's Fastest Cyclist”, “Hydoplaning Bike”, “Human Powered Aircraft”, “World's Fastest Toboggan”, “24-hour Tandem”, “Pike's Peak Hill Climb”, “Hovercraft Speed Record” and “Fastest Gravity Racer”.

Narrated with deliciously OTT seriousness by Shaun Dooley (Broadchurch, "The Woman in Black"), and backed by thunderous, pulse-pounding music, each episode features a riveting (excuse the pun), educational and exciting mixture of action, engineering and simple-to-follow physics explanations that give the viewer an all-round understanding of the challenges facing the teams.

We learn about aerodynamics, high-tech materials, the different forces being exerted on Guy's vehicles and how to counter or work with them to achieve greater speed, lift or efficiency. This might sound a bit dull but it never is, thanks to the superb presentation and real-life examples to help illustrate their points.

In the centre is Guy Martin himself, a real one of a kind personality. Guy has buckets of charisma, is brave beyond words and picks up new skills in moments. He looks like Wolverine with his enormous sideburns, albeit Yorkshire born and bred, and is more interested in a refreshing cup of tea than a rumble. His favourite phrases include 'Bugger', 'Mega' and 'Spot on'. Like the ex-Top Gear presenters, he feels like a bit of a 'throwback', but in the nicest possible way, never uttering a single negative or derogatory word about anyone.

Each trial invariably involves setbacks and accidents despite their best efforts, but Guy soldiers on, listening to the experts and taking heed of their warnings and advice. He meets some well known people including Sir Ranulph Fiennes, gold-medal-winning cycling Laura Trott (who Guy takes rather a shine to!), and Olympic Skeleton champion Amy Williams.

In summary, this is a hugely entertaining, insightful and rewarding series. Guy Martin is a national treasure and I urge anyone who has not seen his programmes before to snap this release up and enjoy it with a nice cuppa!

The only bonus content is a trio of trailers for other series involving Guy. This is a real shame as there must surely be plenty of outtakes that could have been included, along with audio commentaries. A missed opportunity.

The picture and sound quality of the DVD version reviewed are pretty good, and with lots of slightly shaky onboard footage, that is fine.

Complete Speed with Guy Martin (2013-2014) is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Spirit Entertainment Limited. The 2-disc sets have a running time of 360 minutes approx, carry an 'E' certificate and retail for £19.99 on DVD, £24.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

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