The moment we have been waiting for! Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have returned to our screens today with the first episode of their new show: The Grand Tour! The Season 1 opener aired this morning at 00:01 GMT at Amazon Prime around the globe and I have just finished watching it. Compared to other car shows that air on television watching it online is ridiculously convenient. If you are based outside the US it even includes different language options and subtitles.
It is the first time I actually consider having a shop addicted wife as a blessing as she already has an Amazon Prime account ready for me to watch the Grand Tour with. For those who don’t have an Amazon Prime account, it is only 99 USD a year and Amazon is running some 30-day free promotions right now. Judging by the first episode just the Grand Tour is worth that and you get all the other Prime benefits on top.
But enough about Amazon Prime – let’s talk about the show and the cars! The Season 1 opening was already teased as the most expensive show opening ever and it did not disappoint. Jeremy Clarkson stands in the center of the attention the first few minutes as he makes his way from the UK to the US where he picks up a Mustang at LAX and heads out towards the desert. There is joined by his friends and co-presenter Hammond and May – a scene that gave me goosebumps. What followed was something unreal – about 100 supercars driving through the desert towards a cheering crowd waiting at the studio tent, fighter jets overhead… Drama. Complete!
The presenter trio mention Top Gear with not a single worth but there are some subtle and not-so-subtle hints at their former employer throughout the episode. Drawing a comparison with their last shows on Top Gear the filming has always been top notch but with the Grand Tour it has taken another leap with a great mix of cinematic and action shots without withdrawing too much from the subject.
The format is still quite similar to what they used to do on Top Gear – without wanting to spoil too much of the first episode – a race track returns including a resident racing driver, individual and comparison tests reappear along with special adventures and there is also a studio albeit a studio tent that can travel the world.
The Grand Tour kicks off in California, USA, where Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May set up their studio tent at Dry Rabbit Lake. Hundreds of fans from across the U.S. traveled to the desert, near Lucerne Valley, outside of Los Angeles to be part of the first ever episode of Jeremy, Richard and James’ new show for Amazon Prime.
Following the introduction in California the trio takes us to my favorite race track in Europe: Algarve International Circuit where they present and test the holy trinity of hypercars: the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari. At the end of the episode they also unveil the lap times a Belgian racing driver set with the cars but watch the episode for the 1, 2, 3 results.
Also in episode 1 Jeremy Clarkson returns to the UK to introduce The Grand Tour race track reviewing the BMW M2 as he goes along. We don’t get to see any celebrities and we see some of their usual antics. The interaction with the crowd still seems a bit scripted but we hope this eases as the season progresses.
The studio parts of every episode will be filmed in different places around the world. The first episode was filmed in the Californian desert, the second one in Johannesburg, the third and fourth one in Withby, United Kingdom. Followed by Rotterdam, Lapland, Stuttgart, Scotland and Nashville. The season finale will be filmed at the foot of the world’s tallest skyscraper the Burj Khalifa in Dubai on Saturday 10th of December.
The first season of The Grand Tour includes 12 episodes airing once a week on Friday from today until Friday 3rd of February 2017. Download The Grand Tour Season 1 Episode 1 on Amazon Prime now.