The Grand Tour will be a 'breath of fresh air', says Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson has admitted to feeling slightly nervous about his new car-based TV show The Grand Tour, after the global success of fronting Top Gear with Richard Hammond and James May.

But he said he was confident the first episode of their Amazon Prime Video series would be popular and that being forced to rethink the way they created a motoring show meant The Grand Tour was “a breath of fresh air”.

The trio, who stuck together after Jeremy’s contract on the BBC programme was not renewed in 2015, have spent the past year working on their new programme.

But Jeremy said there was more pressure for their new endeavour than for any past series of Top Gear, which he referred to fondly as his “baby”.

Jeremy said: “Top Gear was always the same. James fell over, Richard caught fire, I said something stupid. You just don’t know.”

Using a new format in The Grand Tour, one that would not clash with Top Gear’s favourite segments such as Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, was a challenge for the presenters and production team.

He said: “We’ve had to change a number of aspects, a number of elements to the show. You don’t know how they’re going to play.”

Rather than being based in a studio, the team now travels the world and hosts an audience in a large tent.

Referring to the first episode of the series, for which they managed to secure the holy trinity of hybrid hypercars – the McLaren P1, the Porsche 918 Spyder and the Ferrari LaFerrari – Jeremy said he was confident it would be well-received.

He said: “I think programme one will be all right. I’d be extremely surprised if that was poorly reviewed. I think programme one is extremely strong.”

Moving on from Top Gear and seeing it taken over by Matt LeBlanc and the now-departed Chris Evans was somewhat difficult for Jeremy.

After watching the first two episodes of the new series earlier this year, he said he felt sad because “I did used to think that show was my baby”.

He added: “I worked and chivvied away at it for 12 years. But we’ve got a better show now. So that’s good.

“Our baby’s gone through puberty and it’s now an adolescent. That’s what it is.”

Being forced to rethink a motoring show for Amazon has been a largely positive experience and Jeremy said that being made to leave the BBC and Top Gear was creatively valuable.

https://youtu.be/kLtpcxtk4HI

Top Gear’s incredible growth over the years, he said, “would have been its ultimate demise”.

He added: “We were absolutely convinced for certain every year that Top Gear would start to plateau and every single year it just got bigger and bigger viewing figures, in more and more territories.

“Which actually would have been its ultimate demise because we were so terrified to change anything, we never did. It was all, ‘just let us do the same thing, the same thing, the same thing’.

https://twitter.com/JeremyClarkson/status/794410808407183360

“And the good thing is now we’ve been forced to reinvent it so it’s a breath of fresh air.”

The “stakes are lower” now, though, because of his age, and he said he cared less about the reaction from critics.

He said: “The only reason the stakes are lower is because I’m now 56, it doesn’t really matter any more because I’ll be dead soon.

https://twitter.com/thegrandtour/status/794184477773824000

“You can all say, ‘This is a terrible programme and Amazon’s wasted its money’, and I’ll go, ‘Yeah but I’ll be dead before anybody notices’. Whereas when I was 40, it mattered because you think, ‘I’ve got a whole life to earn some money’. But now I’m falling to pieces. I can’t even get up a flight of stairs.”

The Grand Tour arrives on Amazon Prime Video on Friday November 18, with a new episode released every Friday.

More in this Section

Ringo Starr salutes Black Lives Matter during 80th birthday livestreamRingo Starr salutes Black Lives Matter during 80th birthday livestream

Phillip Schofield says he has written ‘honest’ book about his life and careerPhillip Schofield says he has written ‘honest’ book about his life and career

Olympia Dukakis: I hope sharing past drug use and suicidal thoughts helps othersOlympia Dukakis: I hope sharing past drug use and suicidal thoughts helps others

Tom Hanks says he felt ‘rotten’ while he had coronavirusTom Hanks says he felt ‘rotten’ while he had coronavirus


Lifestyle

Dónal Clancy is a musician from An Rinn in Co Waterford. He will perform the music of his late father, Liam Clancy, in a special online solo performance on Thursday at 7pm as part of this year's Clonmel Junction Festival.Question of Taste: Dónal Clancy

BETWEEN 1973 and early 1975, John Lennon split with Yoko Ono, took up with his assistant May Pang and embarked on a period of intense creativity and outrageous behaviour. Lennon later described this time as his “lost weekend”.Rufus Wainwright has returned a new man

Stan O’Sullivan tells Ellie O’Byrne about the genre-busting album from 2007 that probably doesn’t get the recognition it deservesB-Side the Leeside - Cork’s Greatest Records: Louder & Clearer from Stanley Super 800

In recent times one of the most recurring and troubling conversations I have with teenagers, in therapy, is around their use of marijuana. Often parents seek out therapy because they have noticed a dramatic shift in their child’s behaviour.Richard Hogan: Beware of making light of your teen's marijuana use

More From The Irish Examiner