The Grand Tour

The Independent Slates The Grand Tour: Seamen Is Latest Review

With a 1 star out of 5 rating, The Independent has slated the first episode of The Grand Tour’s Season 4 in their review. “The tension has curdled into outright dislike,” Fiona Sturges writes in the headline.

Now, as we told you in our social media roundup, we didn’t think the episode was perfect compared to previous examples, but is it worth 1 star? Not at all. Let’s take apart this review bit by bit and see where Sturges is coming from. But before we start, this is of course an opinion, and should be treated in such a way. We aren’t here to hurl abuse at anyone and want to approach this with the greatest of respect for the writer.

Firstly, Sturges obviously ins’t a fan of Jeremy Clarkson. She describes the trio as an “explosion of egos” that isn’t afraid of offending entire nations. Now, this isn’t entirely false, as the three aren’t exactly afraid of causing the odd controversy. take the Falklands War example in Argentina, or the time when Hammond said ice cream is only for homosexual people. I think it’s fair to say they’re not afraid to rock the boat – excuse the pun. Sturges then makes a joke about the wheels falling off in regards to them using boats.

After questioning The Grand Tour’s definition of ‘Special’, the writer notes the obviously large budget spent on this episode. And yes, obviously a lot of money was spent just on the boats, with Jeremy explaining that his boat alone cost £100,000. But with only two episodes a year and no tent, celebrities, or car review segments, it’s no surprise that they have more money to play with. She explains Clarkson as being ‘self-important’ regarding bringing the historical joke back to Vietnam. I believe she’s taking it too seriously.

The Grand Tour Season 4

Sturges goes on to disregard Clarkson’s historical piece that many of us loved, and calls the trio’s accident-prone boating, where they crash a number of times into other smaller boats and themselves, arrogant and imbecilic. While I don’t know for sure, do you really think that wasn’t all planned? Of course it was. They knew exactly what they were doing, as did the other boaters involved in the film. It’s a testament to the show that Sturges thought it was real.

To conclude the brief review, Sturges writes about the trio’s chemistry:

“There is no chemistry or camaraderie; even the pranks are half-arsed. At no point does anyone look happy in their work. When they hit the South China Sea, where they are met with crashing waves and relentless, painful spray, all three appear positively ashen.”

I don’t think she’s entirely wrong here. Personally, I felt like they weren’t feeling themselves, but on hearing about how dangerous and problematic filming for this episode was, I’m not surprised that they weren’t completely feeling it. This however, reflects the danger of the trip and how difficult it was to actually pull off. And it did mean that some parts of the film weren’t filled with laughs, but neither was the filming.

The Grand Tour Season 4: Seamen - Behind The Scenes

The Grand Tour on wheels has its problems,” she says,”but this one’s dead in the water.”

As someone who writes about The Grand Tour most days and keeps up with all the latest news and rumours, I’m not surprised the first episode wasn’t perfect. But if I didn’t know everything that went on behind the scenes, I think it’s realistic to feel the way Sturges is coming across in her writing.

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts on the episode and if you agree with any of the points made here.

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  1. Reckon this is the best episode yet, as a sailor I get it, its meant for entertainment. Wish I couls afford one of Clarksons boats🙂

  2. I liked it, but then again I’m a skint sailor, who can’t even afford the boats the guys had. But I can relate.
    The only downside for me is the fact we never got a look inside any of the boat cabins (especially Hammond’s: I imagined lots of fake matted fur. Lol). Also no limit on the spend. Rather than dumping boats from other countries, picking up local boats would have been better. Clarkson’s boat as a joke fell a bit flat. Still 4 out of 5 though.

  3. It’s ok to admit that there was a crummy episode for a program you love. I love TG/TG, which is why this crummy episode was such a bitter disappointment. And there will only be one other one this year, so half of this season’s GT stunk. You can be a fan and still say that stunk.

  4. The reviewer had the headline ‘Dead in the water’ and decided to use it.

    The only way to do so was to slag it off.

    It wasn’t a bad episode, wasn’t brilliant but as it seems fashionable to slag the programme off, I’m hardly surprised.

  5. Has the critic ever tried to captain a boat on the Ton Le Sap Lake/River or Mekong River during Monsoon!?!? Amazing the film crew could even shoot it with some clarity… there are always haters who only wish they could do this shit, but would rather just sit and be an arm-chair expert!

  6. I knew I needed to go into this with an open mind, and I must say I was thoroughly amused. I am not a boat enthusiast, I am a car enthusiast, but seeing them (Jezza, Hamster, and Cpt. Slow) outside their comfort zone made for some really good laughs, especially during Richard Hammond’s multiple temper tantrums.
    I did not see Amazons influence as much as I saw Clarkson’s influence. It is no secret he enjoys history, and this special was full of it. Everything from his boat to the stops along the way. The show had all the dynamics of an old episode of Top Gear and the Grand Tour. The crashes, the pranks, the banter and the arguing all made for great entertainment. And for those who are angry there were no cars in the special, remember the first Vietnam Special they did on Top Gear? I can’t wait to see what is next, Airplanes…Maybe? Probably not, but it is not the vehicles that make the show, it is the unique dynamic between Clarkson, Hammond, and May that brings me back every time. I would watch a craft show special with the three of them.

    1. Airplanes and helicopters would be kinda good. May and Hammond are pilots. Clarkson would have to be Chauffered.
      I did like the historic bits like the FCC.

  7. I was a little disappointed with the episode but mainly because it’s weird not having “next weeks “ episode to look forward to . There have been poor episodes in the past but they usually rebound with a banger the next week . This special looked great on the drawing bored I’m sure (take the guys , out em in boats , see what happens ) but there was no real interaction between the 3 since everyone was always getting stuck or crashing or waiting for admiral slow to catch up . What they should have done is put all 3 on one boat . To me the core of the show has always been the joy of watching all 3 hang out and feeling the fun they have together . I liked the Vietnam history , but everything else seemed like they had an idea that they thought would work better then it did in the end . I’d give it 3/5 and I’m as excited as ever for there next journey.

  8. I’m a huge fan, but this one left me feeling flat. Dreary scenery, not well scripted, not well edited, and James May’s lack of enthusiasm is becoming palpable. Either quit on a high (ish) note, or do what it takes to rejuvinate. Please.

  9. The show had the heavy hand of Amazon all over it. When it was just Mr. Wilman and the boys the comedic value was much higher. Amazon has tried to Americanize it and it just doesn’t play well. And I think it could also be messing with the incredible chemistry these 3 have, forcing bad jokes (like the poor American in Season 1). Let them be who they are, they built themselves into this incredible phenom, they know their fans, they need to have much more input as to how the show will be played. Pretty obvious when Clarkson actually choked up at the end of Season 3 when he announced no more audiences, that he may not have been in total agreement with that decision. Conversation Street has provided so many wonderful moments, with them somewhat scripted yet free to interact with the audience. Please let them drive the show!!

    1. I am a totally avid fan of the show but thia episode left me feeling flat,I was expecting more all I got from the show was a history lesson.and when Jeremy and Richard raced off never seeming concerned about James plus what the hell when they threw his dinner out the last thing was if Jeremy was an experience on boats I didn’t see that he couldn’t even figure out where they were and why was he flying a Vietnam flag and wearing a baret

  10. Some people just don’t get it…it’s not a ‘car show’ anymore but an adventure show that most of the time involves cars.
    If you don’t like it there is always Discover Velocity…more than enough car shows there.
    I thought it was great.

  11. i don’t care what anyone says i thought it was funny .. I couldn’t stop laughing especially with hamster peeing stood up.

  12. Loved the episode. They’re always very entertaining and I didn’t mind the boats thing. They had engine problems just as they’ve had on car episodes, but we weren’t watching those car shows for the cars as much as we were the adventure they were on.
    And to their credit, they all acknowledged this episode about boats was like tuning in to a cooking show to find the host teaching you how to paint.
    Keep it up guys.

  13. I confess it wasn’t my favourite, and I ws really looking forward to it. There were no night segments where we saw what they’d done to the inside of their boats, no improvement sections where they did madcap things to them, etc. It should have felt like the bridge on the river kwai top gear episode on water but it didn’t.

  14. I work in marketing and media, and I must say it has begun to appear to me recently that there is a concerted effort to belittle both the relationship and the work product of the trio.

    As an avid viewer for over a decade, it is something I have only begun to notice taking form in the last year. It used to be that I would see the occasional off article, but lately I feel I cannot make it an entire day without a headline making it sound like they hate each other and the show.

    Honestly, I would be proud. Someone is obviously VERY threatened by them, and is willing to go to some length to try and gain position over them.

    Loved the new show, will very much miss the old. Very happy with DriveTribe as well. Keep the spirit alive boys!

  15. It was a very odd start, I blame Amazon for killing the tent!
    It’s a car show, this adventure was interesting but these adventures where a break from the show and that’s what made them interesting and they where shorter.
    I hope the boys don’t renew with Amazon and the BBC picks them up again for an actual car show with the Stig, car reviews, track work, funny interactions with the audience.
    I’m not old fashioned, I like progress, but this was progress, it was kind of boring and I lost interest several times in between. Hopefully it improves!

  16. Good entertainment and I enjoy Clarkson’s historical references.. Yes, it’s three mates dicking about but still engaging and entertaining. I look forward to the next episode.

  17. Bravo on nearly making a snuff film. If this program is indicative of the path moving forward, I hope they will succeed in the near future.

  18. It wasn’t that bad but it wasn’t great. Funny in places yes, but how many times can an audience see three over the hill feckless idiots being just feckless idiots without any substance? Scenery will only get you so far chaps. Do something interesting, combine some proper bodgery and always always have cars involved.

  19. I am not a loyalist of Clarkson trio, but the seamen show was entertaining in every way. I would give it a 4/5. I can’t believe the independent let their author publish an article without so much ego, bias, and prejudice.

  20. I just finished the episode and was bored most of the time. When the guys are in cars, even super-expensive cars that most folks will never see in person or oddballs that they have built themselves, the shows are relatable.

    Most everyone watching the show has a car and can imagine themselves doing the car things presented. Even if the events are a little bonkers or take place somewhere exotic, that relatability is the foundation of what makes the guys entertaining.

    Most everyone watching the show doesn’t have a boat for a frame of reference, so this episode was just some old guys behaving dangerously on the water. And separately. They weren’t even together most of the time.

    Two stars for the historical pieces plus zero stars for the entertainment value of the car show. 2/5.

  21. It sounds to me like this woman is one of these people that are becoming more and more liberal and idiotic with every passing day. She’s more concerned about the people who “might” be offended than actually trying to enjoy something entertaining. If you live in the real world than you know that you run the risk of being offended on any given day and it’s just something you have to live with, we all have to live with it so my advice to her would be either try and enjoy the show or turn the f#@&ing channel.

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