The Grand Tour

The Grand Tour: All The Special Episodes Ranked From Worst To Best

Despite The Grand Tour being presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May from Top Gear, it felt very different from the BBC car show. For one, fans complained of the show feeling more scripted than before. Regardless of this, it’s still been incredibly successful with it now becoming a show that focuses on specials only, with no more studio/tent episodes alongside an audience. So, with the new Scotland special on the way as well as a special that found the trio in Wales and Warwickshire, we had to go through all of the special episodes released up to this point.

So, with one hell of a budget from Amazon, The Grand Tour has managed to explore the world in all sort of different cars, and even boats. But which are the best to watch? Read on and we’ll find out together. We’ll go from the worst to the best episodes in this list. Enjoy.

The Grand Tour Presents: Seamen

This was possibly one of the least liked specials from The Grand Tour, with fans complaining about a lack of storyline and a severe lack of cars. Clarkson, Hammond, and May boat from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Vũng Tàu, Vietnam, on the Mekong Delta. May brought a 1939 Wooden Cruiser, Hammond a Scarab, and Clarkson brought a custom-built PBR.

Interestingly, this was the first episode without the usual writer Richard Porter behind the script and was the first to really come under negative criticism from fans. While there’s a definite correlation here, it was also the first full episode of The Grand Tour without the tent. It may have been too much of a change from the previous season.

Executive Producer Andy William found the change of format very challenging. He told BT the following:

“We’ve always tried to make a special feel special,” he said. “If you look back at the Top Gear ones, they started at an hour. Then they became 90 minutes. Then some of them became two-parters. None of that was planned. The key thing is the 90 minutes. That’s the biggest thing that beats you around the head.

“A 90-minute special needs a narrative. In an hour you can piss around more. Just jump around like children with too much sugar. But these longer specials need a journey and narrative, which is added pressure.”

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Sea To Unsalty Sea

It’s difficult to choose from the rest of The Grand Tour specials which one comes after the boating episode because simply, they’re all brilliant. But Sea to Unsalty Sea was a little… dull(?) compared to the other special episodes on this list. They basically drove three very expensive GT cars from Georgia to Azerbaijan and not a lot happened. Clarkson, Hammond, and May drove three grand tourers: an Aston Martin DBS, a BMW M8, and a Bentley Continental GT.

These cars aren’t anything to complain about, but we’re used to something a bit more interesting over three performance cars that aren’t going to break down, have no real issues that the trio will have to deal with, and have no real connection to where they’re driving. On top of this, the story of the episode was to find the perfect car for someone who lives in Georgia but wants to eat freshwater fish. It’s not quite finding the source of the River Nile, is it?

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International Buffoon’s Vacation

Okay, now we’re getting into the good stuff and an episode that we’d actually want to go back to and watch again. In this special episode, Clarkson, Hammond and May went on holiday to the United States in three RVs and unsurprisingly didn’t want to share vehicles. So, they each bought their own RV and modified them to suit their own tastes. Clarkson’s RV became a yacht for the road, Hammond made his… completely useless, and May made his into a pub – not so surprising as this was very close to his reveal on DriveTribe that he had actually bought a pub back in England.

This episode was full of challenges the trio had to manoeuvre around making it much better than the previous episode in this list. And of course, we were treated to the joke in the RV park of putting the word a*al in front of the RV names. Comedic genius at its best. Then, when the episode was coming to an end, The American made a shocking appearance after being replaced by racing driver Abbie Eaton in the previous season.

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Feed The World

This was the first episode I watched of The Grand Tour which reminded me of the good old days of Top Gear. It began with the outline of the mission: to take fish from the coast to a developing village in the centre of Mozambique. May was constantly being soaked thanks to his poor design of keeping the fish in a tank behind the driver’s seat, and the other two presenters were faced with several other challenges throughout their adventure.

The largest of challenges came in the form of a crash by Richard Hammond, who fell off his bike thirty times! He told us the following:

“Things that have gone wrong this series, I think we missed a flight or two but that is just logistics. Imagine corralling us around the world, it is not an easy task. I had a slight incident in Switzerland when I departed the road backwards in quite a fast car but I also crashed a number of times on a motorcycle in Mozambique. Basically, what’s gone wrong is I keep getting injured.”

This was a rather controversial special episode thanks to the awkward ending where the trio left a struggling, developing village in a helicopter. This outraged the public who wondered whether Clarkson, Hammond and May really did help the village, and the fact the jokes at the end revolved around the village not being able to feed itself.

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The Beach Buggy Boys

The first season of The Grand Tour certainly had its ups and downs, and plenty of fans were quick to say that they didn’t enjoy it. Celebrity Brain Crash was a bit weird, The American was unloved, and compared to Top Gear, everything felt very high budget, when the best part of the TG days was the trio struggling to make something brilliant out of not a lot of money. But, then the two-part special arrived and everything in the world was good again.

In this episode, the trio each bought a beach buggy and modified it to suit their individual tastes before driving across the deserts of Namibia. The style felt like Top Gear again, and this alongside the 4k filming quality of the upgraded camera crew and the gorgeous landscapes of Namibia, plus a certain d**do joke, this was a brilliant episode and a return to form.

Again, Hammond almost crashed after driving over a blind sand dune, but somehow he survived despite closing his eyes and hoping for the best.

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Survival of the Fattest

This was by far one of the best episodes of The Grand Tour to date, and this was for one very special reason. The presenters arrived in Mongolia and were straight away challenged to build their own car in order for them to return to civilisation. The car they built was based on a Land Rover, and Hammond and May had to put up with Clarkson’s love of hammers while surviving on rations of food and water while they put it together. Finally, once they’d built the off-roader, they named it John, and since then it has been a legendary part of The Grand Tour’s short but rich history.

Fans loved it, but presenter Jeremy Clarkson wasn’t a fan.

Posting on Twitter, Clarkson wrote: “I really hope you enjoy the Grand Tour Mongolia Special as much as I hated making it.”

The episode was full of incredible tracking shots, hilarious moments between the trio and their trusty John, and a real story, making it one of the greatest episodes yet.

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The Grand Tour Presents: A Massive Hunt

The latest episode of The Grand Tour, A Massive Hunt, follows the trio as they drive over the rough roads of Madagascar with three modified cars as they search for lost pirate treasure. Each of the cars were randomly chosen at the beginning of the episode, and when they realised it involved driving over some of the worst roads in the world, they were modified for such a task.

Clarkson chose a Bentley GT Continental and heavily modified it with larger wheels, longer travelling suspension, and underbody armour, as well as a host of other small changes to improve its off-road abilities. Hammond chose a Ford Focus RS, which he modified with tracks. Unfortunately, while the tracks were a great idea in theory, they ended up being useless. It was so useless in fact, that the Focus RS is the only vehicle to not finish a challenge.

May chose a Caterham, and while it made it with only a change of rear wheels, it was incredibly uncomfortable for the presenter who was soaked in mud by the end of the episode.

In the end, they didn’t find the treasure, but they did blow up a beach, and that always makes me feel better.

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The Grand Tour: The Colombia Special

The Colombia Special was a spectacular and nostalgic trip through the country as Clarkson, Hammond, and May go on a photography trip in a Jeep Wrangler, A Chevrolet Silverado (with flames plastered down the side), and a Fiat Panda 4×4. They’re hunting for Amazon screensavers, but encounter plenty of trouble along the way, making it a memorable and hilarious episode. It’s also incredibly reminiscent of the old Top Gear days. 

This episode made headlines however, when Jeremy Clarkson was accused of being homophobic after making jokes about his Jeep being a gay icon. Singer Will Young was very vocal about this on Twitter, where he complained about these jokes. 

Jeremy was quick to respond in a column on The Sun, where he talked about Young’s outburst:

“But this week, he went berserk on Twitter, saying that I’d been homophobic in the most recent episode of The Grand Tour,” Clarkson writes.

“Many gay people who’d seen the show said they couldn’t see a problem. None of my leftie friends could either. One even said I should tell him to stop being so gay.

“I won’t do that though. And nor will I suggest, once again, that mobile phones should be fitted with breathalysers to stop people drinking and tweeting.”

He finished his column in a spectacular fashion: 

“No. Instead, I will apologise to Will for causing him some upset and reassure him that I know I’m not homophobic as I very much enjoy watching lesbians on the internet.”

Next: Worst Injuries Suffered During Top Gear And The Grand Tour

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