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Screenshot from The Grand Tour, The Official Trailer © The Grand Tour
Screenshot from The Grand Tour, The Official Trailer © The Grand Tour
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The Grand Tour: First Reactions To Amazon's Expensive Motorshow Experiment

Picture of Cassam Looch
Film Editor
Updated: 18 November 2016
The staggering numbers behind Amazon’s new automotive show, fronted by Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond are matched only by the furore surrounding a certain “fracas” from earlier in the year, but is The Grand Tour revving up to a quick start off the line?

If you thought Netflix’s recent outlay on royal saga The Crown was lavish, wait till you hear how much has been spent on bringing the popular trio to Amazon’s streaming service.

Here’s what fans made of the show on Twitter… and early word was overwhelmingly positive.

The reported spend of £160m for 36 one-hour episodes of The Grand Tour, just goes to confirm how much faith the company has in Clarkson & Co. The breathtaking opening sequence alone, in the style of Mad Max: Fury Road, featuring over 2000 extras, stilt-walkers and fire breathers cost almost £2.5m.

The start of the show also made reference to Clarkson’s controversial departure from the BBC, however the supposed midnight launch was somewhat scuppered when a number of viewers were able to access the show early.

Richard Hammond himself got involved, apparently caught off guard like the rest of us by the early launch.

Finally Amazon themselves acknowledged the early start via this tweet:

The Stig has now been replaced by an American NASCAR driver and the news section is now known as “conversation street”.

The show wasn’t lacking in star power either, but things didn’t turn out as you might expect. Jeremy Renner literally dropped out of the sky and was “killed off” when his parachute failed to open and replacement guest Armie Hammer was attacked by a snake before he could make it to the studio. The celebrity section was then delayed by a week when Carol Vorderman was also found “dead”.

It looks like this will be a running gag for the series.

Part of the high cost is explained by the international setting of the show. Not only are the “reviews” and challenges conducted at locations around the globe, now the studio is on the road too. Clarkson recently commented that he wanted to recreate the look of a baptist church, and he is certainly keen on encouraging viewers to worship at the alter of the bantering trio.

Grand Tour | © Amazon

Having left Top Gear under well-discussed circumstances, the bidding for the services of the presenters was brutally played out in public. Amazon Prime won out and quickly set about launching The Grand Tour, but not before the BBC attempted to continue making their series with a new line-up. Although Friends star Matt LeBlanc proved to be a popular choice, lead host Chris Evans drew criticism for his style and perceived lack of motoring knowledge. He won’t be back for a second run and fans weren’t going easy on the radio host either.

The Grand Tour is shot in 4K Ultra HD and the first series will take in far-flung locations across the globe. The team has already taken the tent to Johannesburg, California, Whitby, Rotterdam and Lapland, with Stuttgart, Nashville, Loch Ness and Dubai next on the itinerary.

The show ended with Jeremy losing the first challenge, with the forfeit being that he would have his house knocked down. We wait and see if that actually happens in the coming weeks, but at least there will be a legion of fans watching too.

The Grand Tour will be available everywhere from November 18 on Amazon Prime, with new episodes every Friday.