Ever since that infamous “fracas” with Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon over a lack of steak, all eyes have been on Jeremy Clarkson to see where the gobby motoring presenter heads next. The answer is The Grand Tour.
A motoring show that’ll stream on Amazon Prime, it’ll probably give those who couldn’t stomach the Chris Evans-fronted Top Gear a satisfying cars and bantz experience.
It’s one of the most anticipated TV shows of 2016, but little is known about The Grand Tour. Fortunately, loaded has trawled all corners of the web to round up everything you need to know about Jezza’s Top Gear killer TV series.
Who’s presenting The Grand Tour?
Joining Clarkson for the venture are his old Top Gear cohorts James May and Richard Hammond. Clarkson’s dismissal from the BBC actually left May and Hammond having to present a series wrap-up special as a duo, but their loyalty lies with their old pal rather than the Beeb.
Hammond admitted that he and May knew almost immediately they’d have to leave Top Gear once the Clarkson crisis emerged.
“It all became a bit obvious past a certain point,” he told BBC Radio 2. “We do what we do and for whatever reason and whether you agree or not there are those that think we do it quite well, so it became obvious and I thought, well if we’re going to carry on doing that, we’ll do it together.”
Why is it titled The Grand Tour?
After a jokey promo vid in which Clarkson, May and Hammond attempted to come up with a name for the show (‘Gear Knobs’ was legally prohibited, probably because of the use of ‘Gear’), everyone eventually settled on The Grand Tour.
Clarkson said of the choice: “We’ll be travelling the world hosting each episode in a different country, from a giant tent. It’s a sort of grand tour, if you like. So we’ve decided to call it The Grand Tour.”
May added: “I wanted to call it ‘Nigel’, or ‘Roger’. We needed a name, and they’re names.”
Hammond enthused: “I already love camping. But this is something else. We are like our pioneering and prospecting forebears, sallying forth into a new frontier of broadcasting…”
Apparently this title took nine months of deep thought, debate and deliberation to come up with. Intriguingly it’s initials ‘GT’ are the inverse of Top Gear’s ‘TG’. Coincidence?
When will The Grand Tour be released?
There’s no confirmed launch date for the show yet other than it’ll be arriving in Autumn 2016.
Unlike the standard streaming practice of releasing every episode at once allowing viewers to watch at their own pace, The Grand Tour will play things a little differently. One new episode will be released per-week, with the first series made up of 12 episodes.
How can I watch The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime?
Paying a £79 annual fee for Amazon Prime will get you Prime Video plus free delivery on items purchased through the retailer. Amazon Prime Video on its own costs £6 per month to subscribe, which works out at £72 a year – but with that option you get none of the delivery savings.
Amazon customers around the world will also be in with a chance of winning tickets to be part of the studio audience. So a bit like Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, except to see three bickering middle-aged men instead of rivers of chocolate.
Will it be like Top Gear?
Yes and no. Segments like Star in a Reasonably Priced car and race driver The Stig belong to the BBC, but expect this to have the feel of Clarkson, May and Hammond’s more ambitious globe-trotting episodes.
The show will see them move from country to country presenting the show in front of a studio audience, naturally with some of the world’s most expensive cars in tow.
— James May (@MrJamesMay) July 17, 2016
It’ll look slick, too. Filmed in 4k, each episode will have a reported budget of around £4.5 million, making it Amazon’s biggest investment in original content to date. Each instalment will have the scope and scale of a mini-Hollywood movie.
Former Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman has made the leap with the trio over to Amazon and explained that their friendship will be integral to the show.
“You can’t reinvent the Sideways, Last of the Summer Wine-type relationship they have because that is outside of television, that is theirs,” he said. “But there will be a new look, new elements, new home.”
There’ll be a Grand Tour / Game of Thrones crossover (sort of)
It sounds slightly ridiculous, but The Grand Tour and Game of Thrones will be merging. Producer Wilman revealed at the Edinburgh International Television Festival that one segment “will see Clarkson drive through the vast Game of Thrones set”.
Clarkson in his hypercar will stick out like a sore thumb in Westeros, of course, but maybe there’s a chance of seeing the likes of Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke and Sophie Turner getting behind the wheel to guest on The Grand Tour?
What cars will be on The Grand Tour?
Three of the latest hybrid hypercars – the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 Spyder – will take centre stage in the first episode.
These limited models can each go past 200 mph, and price-wise the Ferrari is the most expensive at £1.15 million, followed by the £866,000 McLaren and £625,000 Porsche.
On the cheaper end of the scale a British staple, the three-wheeled Reliant Robin, will also be making an appearance.
Proof we are spending the money on the screen; not on company cars. pic.twitter.com/Xknxjq7f52
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) November 27, 2015
Without a set location for the series, there won’t be a regular track to test these motors on, but Jezza and co have enough sway to access racing circuits across the globe. One will be the Autodromo Internacional Algarve in Portugal, famous for hosting the A1 Grand Prix and Formula One testing.
Are there any Grand Tour trailers?
We’re strictly in “teaser” territory, with no full-blown trailers on offer as of yet.
However, videos from The Grand Tour have been getting drip-fed out since the show’s title was confirmed back in May.
Here’s a selection to give you an idea of what to expect…
Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. James May. pic.twitter.com/tcBxuG3VuY
— The Grand Tour (@thegrandtour) August 19, 2016
— The Grand Tour (@thegrandtour) July 28, 2016
On the road with The Grand Tour. pic.twitter.com/9uCoioBjQM
— The Grand Tour (@thegrandtour) July 15, 2016
Will there be a Grand Tour series 2, 3 and beyond?
Though nothing has officially been confirmed by Amazon, Clarkson, May and Hammond’s initial contracts are for 36 episodes. This means we’re likely to get two more series going by the first’s episode count. And possibly more if all goes well.