2014 Top Gear was perfection. It featured the McLaren P1, horny horses, and the Burma Special episode. But however much we liked this episode, there’s one aspect of it that we’ve never discussed. What happened to that bridge they built?
Driving three lorries, Clarkson, Hammond and May were following the structure of the book, Bridge Over The River Kwai. And just like in the book, they eventually go to a river which they had to cross. It was no surprise that somewhere in their travels they’d gone wrong and were in fact not at the famous River Kwai, but instead the River Kok, which flows from Burma to the East towards Mueang Chiang Rai in Thailand. Yep, they were a few hundred miles out.
Despite this, they got to building the bridge.
After a few technical difficulties, including Jeremy tipping over a crane and nearly killing James, then tipping a just woken up James out of his tent and into the river, they eventually had something built that resembled a bridge.
It worked, but there were a couple of problems. One, a comment Clarkson made about the bridge became viral after he used a racial slur in a joke and caused quite a stir. Two, well, they had to dismantle it afterwards despite it being strong enough to cross.
Someone on Reddit emailed the campsite in which the trio were staying throughout that special episode, and they replied with all the information we needed. This was their reply:
Thanks for this. You are correct and they did stay with us. Indeed I found the location for them and we organized all the logistics. Unfortunately, the bridge was then taken down after the filming even though we asked for it to remain in place as it was an excellent facility for the local people. The bridge was not built over the Kok, but over the Fang River which flows into the Kok, for a number of reasons.
What a shame that this masterfully(ish) built bridge had to be taken down. At least we’ve still got the special to remember it. And the massive backlash that Clarkson received, of course.