During the DriveTribe pub quiz, host Rachael Hogg questioned Clarkson on when the latest episode of The Grand Tour would be released. Sadly, it turns out that this has been delayed due to production and voiceover suites being shut down during the COVID-19 outbreak but has also been pushed back due to Wilman falling unwell with the virus. Clarkson said:
“The producer of the show, Andy Wilman, who also edits it for months and months and months, he had to take to his bed a few weeks ago with this weird new flu. Barely able to breathe, I’m not actually making this up, barely able to breathe.
“Then he coughed his spleen out on a number of occasions – (he) was very, very, very poorly. Anyway, the good news is he’s better but all the edit suites and the voiceover suites and all the places you use to make television programmes are shut. We are working on ways to get around that because we have filmed the programme, it is 94 percent edited. We haven’t put voices to it yet but we can do that we think and as soon as we’ve got all that together, we will get it to Amazon.”
We’re glad to hear that Andy Wilman is on the mend and we also have our fingers crossed that lockdown restrictions in the UK are lifted soon enough so he can get back to what he does best… entertaining the nation.
Who Is Andy Wilman?
For those unaware of who exactly Andy Wilman is – well… if Clarkson, Hammond and May are the three amigos, Wilman is very much the fourth.
Andy Wilman, actually started out his career in front of the camera on the old version of Top Gear alongside the likes of hosts Jeremy Clarkson and Tiff Needell before turning his expertise to production.
He is the person to thank for the Top Gear format that we know and love – if any of you are old like me, you’ll know that the old format of Top Gear (before Hammond and May joined), was much more erm.. Fifth Gear. For those too young to remember Fifth Gear, it was basically a rubbish (in my very humble opinion) version of Top Gear (Fifth Gear fans come at me, if there are any).
He is also the man we can thank for creating The Stig – something which the BBC still owns the rights to, which prevented him from taking the beloved anonymous driver with him to Amazon.
As mentioned earlier, Wilman and Clarkson have known each other for a lot longer than the Top Gear days – with the duo being friends since school, having both attended Repton School alongside Formula 1 designer Adrian Newey.. quite the class for motoring entertainment right? It also turns out that Wilman was Clarkson’s best man at his wedding, as seen from their rather youthful faces in the below picture.
During the Top Gear days, Wilman and Clarkson started a company called Bedder 6, which handled merchandise and international distribution for Top Gear. It is reported that in 2012 Bedder 6 earned over £149m in revenue – before a restructuring deal between the company and BBC Worldwide gave the BBC full control of the Top Gear rights.
In April 2015, Mr Wilman announced that he had resigned as Top Gear’s executive producer after the “fracas” in which Jeremy Clarkson was involved in with producer Oisin Tymon. Following this, Wilman became the executive producer for The Grand Tour, which was produced by W. Chump & Sons – owned by Wilman, Clarkson, Hammond and May. Wilman has never actually appeared on The Grand Tour but is often referenced by the lads as “Mr Wilman” – Clarkson, Hammond and May tend to refer to Mr Wilman as more of a strict parent, boss or teacher on screen.
In 2019, after the third season of The Grand Tour – it was announced that the car show would be changing formats, steering clear of the usual episodic seasons for a more individual specials approach. For a long time now, the Top Gear and Grand Tour specials, have always been a firm favourite for fans, seeing Clarkson, Hammond and May take on unlikely and most often, difficult road trips and challenges. As a result, the W. Chump & Sons production company was closed by the group, due to it no longer being necessarily based on the amount of content that was being created.
Wilman also confirmed that he would be doing a solo project for Amazon, which would be produced following projects from Clarkson, Hammond and May. Not much has been released in terms of information about Wilman’s new Amazon’s project but he did have the following to say in an interview with Deadline last year:
“All four of us are doing our own thing for Amazon, but I will be last out of the traps.”
Suffice to say, we wish Andy Wilman a continuous and quick recovery from COVID-19 and can’t wait to see what the producer has planned for The Grand Tour and his new Amazon show.. whatever that might be.