“Hello and Welcome!” Those words booming from the infamous presenter at the beginning of each episode of Top Gear incite a pavlovian response in me. It’s a mixture of comfort and excitement, like the smell of mom’s Thanksgiving stuffing mixed with racing fuel. Needless to say, I was devastated to hear of the “fracas” that led to the demise of the show.
Luckily the world doesn’t have to suffer long without Clarkson, Hammond, and May gracing the airwaves, with “The Grand Tour” coming to Amazon this fall. Here is everything we know so far.
Why such a generic name for the most recognizable trio in automotive journalism history? Part of the answer is in the question itself. In the time since the original Top Gear launched, thousands of car-related magazines, websites, and blogs have cropped up, trademarking virtually every automotive related term you can think of. There were very few options left for the trio that hadn’t already been claimed.
The other part of the answer relates to the new show’s format. Instead of presenting every week from the same studio, it will travel, presenting each week’s episode in a different country, so each season will literally be a grand tour for the boys.
Along with the permanent studio, the new show is ditching the “mini-film” episode format in favor of a longer episode-long film, more similar to the travel specials of old Top Gear. The first season will be 11 episodes long, significantly longer than the later seasons of Top Gear, which would sometimes have as few as six per season.
There was constant friction between the BBC (which is technically a public broadcasting company) and Top Gear. Each time Clarkson landed them in the tabloids for an offensive comment — which was often — the BBC would threaten to pull the show’s contract. Amazon doesn’t face the same limitations, and should provide Clarkson unrestricted creative freedom with the show.
Through the years, Top Gear grew from a small British consumer advice program to an international entertainment heavyweight, however, each season was still released in Britain first, only airing in the US months later, with several minutes of content clipped out to allow for commercials. As a result, many die-hard fans of the show were illegally downloading them to get the full episode as soon as possible. Amazon’s international syndication will make it much more convenient for fans across the globe to access the show legally, as soon as it airs.