Clash of the Titans: Who will come out on top? The Clarkson-led Grand Tour Vs the new-look Top Gear
They’re noisy, they’re controversial, they’re offensive and they’re loud. And after over a year out of the spotlight, they’ll be returning to our screens this August with their new show on Amazon Prime a show which they’ve now revealed will be named The Grand Tour. And it’d be a safe bet that the ex-Top Gear trio will be louder, brasher and more ridiculous than ever.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since Jeremy Clarkson and the gang last appeared on Top Gear, and the infamous punching of his former Top Gear producer – a regrettable incident which led to him getting his P45 from the BBC. He’s a very naughty boy that Jeremy, but it’s the naughty schoolboy in him which fans love. Driving an assortment of supercars, affordably priced runabouts and clapped out rustbuckets, the trio travelled the world and deeply offended entire countries as he went. When Clarkson, Hammond, and May mortally offended and then fled Argentina following his controversial H982 FKL number plate stunt, and insulted the Indian High Commission over his diarrhoea remarks, and offended every lorry driver anywhere, there’s no denying it made fantastic telly.
They were arguably as much of a draw as the Top Gear brand itself, if not more, which is why the upcoming clash between the new Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc-led series of Top Gear, and the Clarkson/Hammond/May-led Amazon Prime show, The Grand Tour, has us all twitching in our seats.
It’s a motoring clash of the titans, and with the notoriously big mouths of Clarkson and Evans on opposing sides of the battlefield, and with both shows wielding huge budgets, expect noise and plenty of inter-rival sledging over the coming months.
The big questions on everybody’s lips though is what can we expect from the new-look Top Gear, and will the ex-Top Gear tearaways succeed in using their mocking, irreverent humour to create a show which is as funny and brilliant as the old Top Gear?
Before the biggest dust-up on TV this year kicks off, let’s first have a little preview of both sides.
The Grand Tour: the new kid on the block
Yep, after months of waiting and speculation Clarkson and Hammond finally revealed the name of their new show on Twitter just a couple of days ago.
Seeing as The Grand Tour is in fact an actual tour which will see the studio/tent at different locations across the country every week, it’s a pretty fitting name. In fact the entire concept is a really good idea, especially from a fan’s angle. While the tent and the props are expected to be the same week-in, week-out, the show will be shot and filmed at a new location somewhere in the UK for every episode.
Fresh locations for every episode means there will be a different view and feel each to episode, and fans of the show from every corner of the country will be able to come see Clarkson, Hammond and May do what they do best, live.
If this video released on YouTube is anything to go by, the gang had a bit of an ordeal trying to come up with a name for their new show, before settling on The Grand Tour. Amazon unable to use the word “gear” in any part of the name of their new motoring show, which no-doubt potentially prevented a more abrasive name being chosen.
The lineup – who are the guys and gals that’ll be gracing our screens this summer?
Top Gear have moved away from the three presenter-format, and have instead taken on a six-man squad of personalities – some of which have real star factor – to fill the void left behind by the recently departed Clarkson-Hammond-May axis. Not a bad move, bearing in mind the size of the boots that needed filling!
In fairness to the BBC and Top Gear, while the original presenters are irreplaceable, they have recruited a strong lineup which could well give The Grand Tour a run for its money.
A media heavyweight who, in addition to being the presenter of the Radio 2, has presented a number of TV shows and set-up his own production company, the motormouth Chris Evans will be leading the line for Top Gear.
As a notorious petrol-head and car enthusiast with his own fleet of rare and super-expensive supercars, including the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the odd Ferrari or two, he knows his stuff about motoring.
However while there is impish mischief about him, Evans will neither be as belligerent or controversial as his predecessors, and after numerous BBC scandals the broadcaster will be terrified of having their fingers burnt again.
With his smooth, almost Fonz-like charm and charisma, Matt LeBlanc will sit alongside Evans as one of Top Gear’s lead presenters. And this won’t be the first time that LeBlanc has been on-set, having been a guest on the show a few years ago.
He’s no amateur when it comes to cars, if his fleet of Ferraris, Porsches, and Mercedes’ is anything to go by, and he posted a quick time when he was last on track. He’ll do well.
A familiar face to Top Gear fans already, it was a brilliant move by the BBC to bring in Sabine Schmitz – the outstandingly brilliant racing driver who terrified Clarkson on the Nürburgring, and probably still has the gouges from where he dug his nails into the dashboard.
She’s likable and fun, and as a pro-racer who has driven around the most famous tracks in the world her entire life, there are few who know more about driving than she does.
As far as recruiting for the new Top Gear goes, you don’t do much better than bring in F1 guru and ex-Jordan Grand Prix owner, Eddie Jordan – he actually owned his own F1 team!
There are few people out there who know as much as he does about F1 and high-speed racing, or who have the bulging contacts book. He has media form too, having been the BBC’s chief analyst for F1 coverage.
A strong addition. Very strong.
A relative unknown when compared to his colleagues, Chris Harris is a YouTube star with hundreds of thousands of followers. You may or may not have heard of him, depending on how much you like cars and how much time you spend online.
As a motoring journalist he knows plenty about cars and racing, and is thought to be a big personality.
The only presenter who landed the Top Gear gig having auditioned, Rory Reid is also a motoring journalist who knows his stuff. During the auditions he is said to have wowed his future co-stars, and was brought in straight away.
Reid will be the presenter of Extra Gear – the new Top Gear spin off show.
A man of mystery, and insanely brilliant racing driver, the Stig is back. Jeremy Clarkson couldn’t take the Stig with him to The Grand Tour, so expect to see Top Gear bring out the man in the white overalls aplenty this season.
The Grand Tour
Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. You know them. Everyone knows them – the automotive scallywags need little introduction.
We’re looking forward to having them back.
The million dollar question: how much money will The Grand Tour and Top Gear have to play with for each episode?
Whilst the Top Gear budget has increased as the BBC seek to take the battle to its rivals, Clarkson and Amazon Prime, the show’s producers, will want to put everything they can behind their production – budget-wise, Top Gear is overwhelmingly outgunned by The Grand Tour.
Top Gear will have a budget of £650,000 for each episode of the show, which is a great deal less than Clarkson, Hammond and May will have to play with at a whopping £4.5million. Over the three seasons that’s an eye-watering £160million, in case you were wondering.
With 10-times the spending power they had at Top Gear, it’s difficult to imagine what madness Clarkson and former Top Gear executive producer, Andy Wilman, will conjure up. With so much money and the free rein to do what it takes to take the show to the top, expect to see unbelievable hypercars, supercars, challenges, superstars and flamboyant ridiculousness.
The big question… what sort of cars and challenges will each show feature? Will it be business as usual?
It’s difficult to say at this stage. The budget for the show has increased substantially, and yet there is no getting around the fact that Team Clarkson and the former executive producer of the show won’t be there.
With this in mind, while there will certainly still be ridiculous challenges and supercars as before, Top Gear may go back to doing more in the way of regular car reviews and a more standard approach to motoring.
That said, it mustn’t be forgotten that the star presenters of the show and the BBC itself has an awful lot of pulling power – don’t be surprised if some genuine A-listers make an appearance from time-to-time.
The Grand Tour
As far as The Grand Tour goes, what you can expect to see from the show will be likened to what would happen if you gave three of the naughtiest kids in school £4,500,000 pocket money a week to play with – expect the old mockumentary-style Top Gear, only more. More insanely fast hypercars and supercars, more fantastic stunts including fighter jets and helicopters, more jaunts around the world, and more of Clarkson’s uncanny knack of offending just about everybody.
Seeing as they won’t have access to the BBC’s test track, or the Stig for that matter, it is likely that The Grand Tour will be filmed at a number of the best race tracks from around the world.
When will both shows finally appear on our screens?
The new series of Top Gear will launch on Sunday 8th May
The launch date of the maiden series of The Grand Tour is unknown, but expect to see Jeremy Clarkson back on your screen for September.
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