With their supercars, celebrity assassinations and Eboladrome, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond prove they can still make a spectacle and keep the petrolheads happy

Enough of the secrets and gossips, the crass PR stunts, the fracas/ non-fracas with federal employees at Stuttgart airport; its hour for Messrs Clarkson, May and Hammond to show us what theyve been up to. Come on then, what you got?

A lot of fund, thats abundantly clear from the opening cycle, shot in the California desert. But first weve “ve gotta get out of” rainy old-time Blighty. So Jeremy is leaving a build, siding his pass in … got it, its supposed to be the BBC.( A heap of this first episode seems to be aimed at his former hire if not quite wrap the window down and affording a elevated centre paw, then at least gathering up at the lighters and seeming over smugly: ha, check out my large-hearted budget .) Now hes at international airports, checking in , no fracases this time, he manages to catch the flight to Los Angeles, where he picks up his rental gondola a muscly Mustang.

On the open street, finally free, hes joined by the other two, James and Hammond( sorry but I dont do first name with him) in same cars; cherry-red, grey and blue. Spanning the desert, they hook up with a Mad Max convoy of cars and trucks and bikes, heading to a theatre where the Hothouse Heyday are playing I Can Attend Clearly Now( Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind another shovel there ). Its like Burning Man; actually they call it Burning Van because there is one, plus a pirate ship, shoot and a squadron of planes winging over. It is undeniably, gloriously cinematic, a brilliant beautiful spectacle.

At Burning Van festival it could only be The Grand Tour. Photo: Amazon Prime

Then they open their openings, and abruptly its same-old same-old. They insert each other, and their tent, to the crowd. Were going to be like Gypsies, says Jeremy, referring to the itinerant sort of The Grand Tour. Only the cars we drive are going to be insured. Nought to racist in less than 10 times.( Hes already said hes not going to get fired because were on the internet, which intends I could please a mare. The other two gaze faintly flustered .)

Inside the tent the gathering are accommodated instead of abide, but theres something familiar about it. And about the montage of what there is to look forward to. Cars of course, more stunts and big-hearted bashes: three midlife males messing about. Massively messing about now, because of that Amazon budget.

Theres some joke with the American audience you say tomato, I say gearstick, that sort of occasion. And between the three of them: James is a slow operator, ho ho; Hammond is less tall than the others, lol; we got fired, tee hee. Then they have an extended chief to leader to top between three supercars: a McLaren P1, a Porsche 918 and a Ferrari LaFerrari( or a Ferarri TheFerrari as James announces it, quite amusingly ). Its a exceedingly extended test, in two parts. This opening episode is certainly putting down a marker that says this is a serious motoring prove, and theyre serious automobile correspondents , not say former sitcom actors. And it will appeal to the serious petrolhead.

You can spout something into a different container, but it still tastes the same The Grand Tour. Picture: Roderick Fountain/ Amazon Prime

There is a new track, the same shape as the Ebola virus its known as the Eboladrome with an old ladys residence next to it( theres going to be a rush to get the first interview isnt there ?). Plus a brand-new, unhelmeted test driver known as The American. Conversation Street, the brand-new chit-chat area, doesnt amount to much, and nor do the personalities who are all killed off, hilariously, perhaps because they US actors Jeremy Renner and Armie Hammer and Carol Vorderman arent the huge reputations theyd wish for.

Clarkson, May and Hammond reunite for The Grand Tour – video trailer

In the detail, in the format, The Grand Tour is different: “theres” onus of new ideas here there had to be, or the BBC legal eagles would swoop. And hitherto its all completely familiar. Because more than format, more even than the amount of money you hurl at something, what really makes a television see its identity is the personnel. You can move something into a different container, but it still penchants the same. And, like it or not, this appreciations of Clarkson, Hammond and May. Followers of old Top Gear are going to be happy.

Episode one of The Grand Tour is available now on Amazon Prime, with a brand-new episode every Friday.


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