With their supercars, luminary homicides 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 rumors, the crass PR stunts, the fracas/ non-fracas with an employee at Stuttgart airport; its meter for Messrs Clarkson, May and Hammond to show us what theyve been up to. Succeed on then, what you got?

A lot of fund, thats abundantly clear from the opening sequence, fire in the California desert. But first weve got to get out of rainy old Blighty. So Jeremy is leaving a house, handing his pass in … got it, its supposed to be the BBC.( A slew of this first episode seems to be aimed at his former hire if not quite wind the window down and demonstrating a created midriff digit, then at least drawing up at the flares and looking over smugly: ha, check out my big-hearted plan .) 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 car a muscly Mustang.

On the open street, eventually free, hes joined by the other two, James and Hammond( sorry but I dont do first names with him) in same gondolas; cherry-red, white and off-color. Crossing the desert, they hook up with a Mad Max convoy of cars and trucks and bikes, heading to a stage where the Hothouse Heyday are playing I Can Ascertain Clearly Now( Gone are the dark glooms that had me blind another delve there ). Its like Burning Man; actually they call it Igniting Van because there is one, plus a pirate ship, flaming and a squadron of planes running over. It is undeniably, gloriously cinematic, a bright beautiful spectacle.

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

Then they open their mouths, and unexpectedly its same-old same-old. They insert each other, and their tent, to the crowd. Were going to be like Gypsies, suggests 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 be fired because were on the internet, which necessitates I could pleasure a horse. The other two watch faintly embarrassed .)

Inside the tent the audience are sat 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 large-scale blows: three midlife servicemen messing about. Massively messing about now, because of that Amazon budget.

Theres some joke with the American gathering you say tomato, I speak gearstick, that sort of event. And between the three of them: James is a slow motorist, ho ho; Hammond is less tall than the others, lol; we got fired, tee hee. Then they have an extended psyche to psyche to heading between three supercars: a McLaren P1, a Porsche 918 and a Ferrari LaFerrari( or a Ferarri TheFerrari as James calls it, quite amusingly ). Its a extremely extended experiment, in two parts. This opening episode is surely putting down a marker that articulates this is a serious motoring reveal, and theyre serious auto correspondents , not add former sitcom actors. And it will appeal to the serious petrolhead.

You can pour something into a different receptacle, but it still smells the same The Grand Tour. Photograph: Roderick Fountain/ Amazon Prime

There is a new track, the same figure 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 new chat part, doesnt amount to much, and nor do the personalities who are all killed off, hilariously, perhaps because they US performers Jeremy Renner and Armie Hammer and Carol Vorderman arent the enormous figures theyd hoped for.

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

In the detail, in the format, The Grand Tour is different: there are loadings of new ideas here there had to be, or the BBC legal eagles would swoop. And hitherto its all totally familiar. Because more than format, more even than the amount of money you hurl at something, what really holds television broadcasting reveal its identity is the personnel. You can spout something into a different receptacle, but it still feelings 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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