The Grand Tour

Clarkson, May And Hammond On Being Cultural Icons And Annoying The BBC

In September, the presenters of The Grand Tour won GQ’s TV Personalities Of The Year award, introduced by Sir Ben Ainslie (whom James once annoyed very much on a boat in New Zealand) and giving a very well-hydrated acceptance speech. They also gave an interview to the magazine in which they discussed the skyrocketing fame that came with doing the biggest motoring show of all time; here are some of the highlights.


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GQ began with a softball: what are the presenters driving now? Unsurprisingly, James’s Ferrari 458 Speciale (458 “Special Needs,” according to Jeremy) is in the shop, so he’s in his BMW i3; Jeremy still has his Golf GTI, which, according to James, was supposed to be red and only have two doors, because Jeremy doesn’t know how to tick boxes; Richard is predictably still surrounded by a cadre of Land Rovers, and a 1930s Lagonda if he hasn’t gotten frustrated with the backwards pedals and sold it yet.

Two of the trio are that into being cultural icons; Jeremy and James downplayed it, the latter quipping that the Musée d’Orsay is a cultural icon, and not three old men falling over and catching fire. Richard, on the other hand, apparently wakes up and falls asleep in the state of mind that he is a worldwide superstar.

The show’s budget was also discussed–Clarkson confirmed that the £160m figure played up by tabloids like the Daily Mail was pretty bogus, and that the show’s actual budget remains largely a mystery, being broadly the same as it was on the Show-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. It’s also apparently impossible to annoy people at Amazon, and Clarkson likened it to leaving school and suddenly discovering that it’s less enjoyable to smoke on the street once nobody’s going to do you in for it.

The best part of the interview came at the end, when Jeremy acknowledged that “there were a few things that, when you look back, you think, ‘I wouldn’t do that,'” with Richard adding that “we had to try stuff, otherwise it would have been a wasted opportunity. Some items will carry on, some items we’ll drop.” This is exciting because it gives us hope that two of the show’s unfunniest segments, Celebrity Brain Crash and Mike Skinner’s ridiculous American caricature, might finally be dumped for the second series.

If season 1 is anything to go by, Season 2 of The Grand Tour will probably debut around the middle of November, hopefully sans-American and sans-murdered-celebrities. Perhaps they simply won’t have time in the show, given that this series will include the presenters’ most travel ever. I can live with that.

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