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In the special episodes of Top Gear (and maybe others) the hosts seem to give each other very inconvenient gifts, often ones too large are heavy for their modes of transportation. For example in the Vietnam episode Jeremy Clarkson gave Richard Hammond an extremely large model ship which he had to carry on a motorcycle, and in another he gave him a large chair to put in the boot of a small car.

I was wondering if holding on to these gifts is a requirement, done just for fun or challenge, or is it some aspect of English culture being referenced/joked about that I'm not understanding?

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Because it's hilarious for the audience – DustinDavis Jun 9 '14 at 17:36
You have to remember that Top Gear is a comedy program that happens to be about cars, not the other way around :) – System Down Jun 9 '14 at 20:55
up vote 7 down vote accepted

You've hit the nail exactly on the head. The gifts are given in order to create an air of silliness in each of the challenges.

Not only do you have to cross the sahara in a trabant but you have to do so while carrying a double bass, a live boa constrictor and you're not allowed to open the windows. Ta da! Instant merriment.

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I would add that there is an element of exaggerated English politeness (for comic effect) in being unable to refuse a gift, no matter how inconvenient. – EleventhDoctor Mar 17 '15 at 11:42

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