The Grand Tour season 1 episode 1 HDTV [720p ] [1080p] [x264] [H264] download
The Grand Tour is a British motoring television series for Amazon Video presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May and produced by Andy Wilman.
The four agreed to produce the series following their departures from the BBC series, Top Gear with an initial agreement of 36 episodes over three years. Episodes are scheduled to be released weekly to those with Amazon Prime accounts in the UK, U.S., Germany, Austria and Japan, beginning 18 November 2016. In the days following the launch it became Amazon Video’s most watched premiere episode. As of November 2016 the show was expected to be made available to an additional 195 countries and various territories from December 2016.
The intended format was initially for individual television films, using location shooting without studio segments, but after the title reveal it was announced that there will be studio segments shot in large tents at various locations. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos described the deal as being “very, very, very expensive”. W. Chump & Sons is the production company for the programme, and Amazon.com is distributing the show.
Studio recordings began on 17 July 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Recordings in the United States took place on 25 September 2016 in Southern California, with further recordings taking place in Nashville on 21 November 2016. Studio recordings in the United Kingdom took place in Whitby on 13 October 2016, with further recordings planned at Loch Ness in December 2016. Further studio recordings took place in Rotterdam on 22 October 2016 and Lapland on 3 November 2016. Stuttgart was also a filming location. In November 2016, it was announced that the final studio filming location will be Dubai in December 2016.
The show has a dedicated test track called the “Eboladrome”, at the former RAF Wroughton. Clarkson stated in the first episode that the name is due to its shape resembling the structure of the Ebola virus.
It is designed to “trip cars up,” according to Clarkson. Section names include the “Isn’t Straight,” “Old Lady’s House,” and “Your Name Here”. In the first episode, the track was said to have been modified following the discovery of an unexploded Second World War bomb.
Cars are tested by NASCAR driver Mike Skinner, known as “The American”. According to the presenters, the hiring of Skinner was a contractual obligation by Amazon.com, and that Skinner considers anything not American, front-engine and V-8 powered as “Communist”. While doing a lap, Skinner makes sarcastic remarks about the car.
The first car to lap the track was a 2016 BMW M2, driven by Skinner, posting a time of 1:26.2 seconds. A Ferrari 488 was used in episode one to demonstrate the track, but Ferrari did not allow the programme to time it.
Clarkson, Hammond and May discuss car related news. A new intro is created every week for this segment but is based around the same concept of their silhouettes, depicting them sat on stools, being projected against a white background. Clarkson usually gets cut off after saying, “Can I talk about…” before either Hammond or May introduce the next segment.
The Grand Tour has established running gags. During each episode a camera drone is destroyed; in episode one a drone is “shot down” by an unseen person. In episode two a drone is destroyed by a giraffe at the end of the opening sequence. In episode three it collides with the mast of a fishing boat and crashes into a lobster pot. In episode four it is attacked and then soiled by seagulls.
Another running gag is the “Celebrity Brain Crash” feature where celebrity guests are humorously “killed”. In episode one Armie Hammer, Jeremy Renner and Carol Vorderman are all “killed” before being able to take part in the programme. In episode two a woman, announced as actress Charlize Theron, is seen to be “killed” by a lion as she approaches the tent on foot. In episode three British actor Simon Pegg is “killed” by falling from a bridge while being attacked by seagulls. In episode four, comedian Jimmy Carr is “killed” after jet-skiing into a tourist boat. This element of the show reflects the BBC’s efforts to stop The Grand Tour from interviewing celebrity guests, as had been the focus of the Top Gear “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” segment. Also, every time a celebrity guest dies, James May asks “Does that mean he/she isn’t coming on then?” to which Richard Hammond replies “No James, he/she’s not” or any such other comment explaining the death of the celebrity guest.
Clarkson, Hammond and May launch their new programme with a film showing Clarkson leaving London to fly to Los Angeles where he meets Hammond and May. As the Hothouse Flowers play “I Can See Clearly Now” the trio drive Ford Mustangs through the California desert to Rabbit Dry Lake, accompanied by a range of cars and a fly-over by the Breitling Jet TeamFollowing a sequence where they greet the audience and viewers, and introduce the tent, the first feature shows Clarkson, Hammond and May testing three hybrid hypercars; the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 and Ferrari LaFerrari at the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal. Later, Clarkson introduces the show’s new test track, the “Eboladrome” with laps by a Ferrari 488 and a BMW M2. Renner, Hammer and Vorderman are all humorously “killed” before being able to take part in the show. Returning to Portugal, Jérôme d’Ambrosio performs timed laps in the hypercars. The episode ends with Hammond and May declaring that they will demolish Clarkson’s house as forfeit for losing a bet: that the McLaren P1 would be fastest in a timed lap and beat the Porsche 918 and LaFerrari.
The tent is at the Cradle of Humankind nature reserve overlooking Johannesburg. The intro and theme tune (omitted in Episode 1) are played before the presenters discuss President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, the Nkandla compound firepool controversy and carjacking. Clarkson and The American test the Aston Martin Vulcan. Producer Andy Wilman sends the presenters to the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre (KASOTC) outside Amman, Jordan for a SAS-style military training exercise. Car-builder Johan Ackermann shows his self-built replica of a Sauber Mercedes C9. May visits Soweto to take part in South African motorsport of “Spinning” where cars generate smoke by performing doughnuts set to rap music until the tyres blowout. A person introduced as actress Charlize Theron is pounced on by a lion and “killed”. Finally the presenters return to KASOTC in Jordan to review an Audi S8 Plus while rescuing a VIP and transporting them to the “British Embassy”.
The tent is on the quayside of Whitby harbour in North Yorkshire. The presenters test an Aston Martin DB11, Rolls-Royce Dawn and Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat by “Grand Touring” in Italy. Clarkson and May’s tour starts at the Palio di Siena horse race, before viewing The Birth of Venus painting at Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Clarkson and Hammond race each other the Mugello Circuit. In the tent the presenters discuss Whitby jet. Returning to Italy, Hammond visits the Lamborghini Museum whilst Clarkson and May watch Carmen staged at the Verona Arena, in the Piazza Bra. The tour continues via the Piazza dei Signori, Vicenza and ends up in the Venetian Lagoon. Simon Pegg “falls to his death” from Whitby Swing Bridge. Jeremy Clarkson presents his take on automated vehicles. Fulfilling their bet from episode one, Hammond and May destroy Clarkson’s house at Diddly Squat Farm in Chadlington, Oxfordshire.
Clarkson reviews the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and compares it to the BMW M4 GTS; despite criticising the M4 GTS for sacrificing creature comforts for no overall gain in performance, he declares it the winner simply because Hammond owns a GT3 RS. The presenters travel to South Wales and set out to make the most environmentally friendly car bodies using the platform of a Land Rover Discovery. Prior to their 11 mile road trip, May’s mud car falls apart, resulting in him rebuilding the car using bricks and Clarkson’s meat car is destroyed by a local dog. After Clarkson repairs his car with spare ribs, the trio ford a river, which disintegrates the bricks of May’s car. Hammond’s car is almost destroyed by an unseen person mechanically cutting the hedgerow. The next morning, May changes the brick body into one made of hay and cow dung. The presenters arrive at a dirt track, where they race against three normal cars. The idea of environmentally friendly car bodies is abandoned after Clarkson’s meat car is infested with maggots, Hammond’s garden car catches fire, and May’s hay car falls apart. Jimmy Carr is the guest of “Celebrity Brain Crash”, but his jet ski collides with a boat on his way to the tent. To fill in the time, the presenters introduce an Audi TT Mk1 Quattro with Hammond hidden behind the rear bumper to show a new smuggling technique used by illegal immigrants, as well as using Hammond as an improvised parking sensor.
The format of segments in the programme are a result of needing to ensure differentiation from the team’s previous work on Top Gear for the BBC. The show is presented from a pair of large tents on a Grand Tour around the world. The presenters sit around a trestle table, with the studio audience seated in front of them. The “Conversation Street” segment allows discussion of current events at the time of filming. Lap times are shown on an electronic scoreboard. A recurring test driver used for lap times is a named NASCAR character, portraying a stereotypical redneck accent and viewpoints, and prone to tangential speech. Any celebrity guests booked for the “Celebrity Brain Crash” segment are shown being “killed off” before they can be interviewed by the presenters.
The show’s title was announced as The Grand Tour on 11 May 2016. The show’s logo was unveiled by Clarkson on Twitter on 28 June 2016.
There was speculation that the show could be called Gear Knobs after a trademark application was made for that name by an associated company, but Clarkson stated in October 2015 that this would not be the title. He explained in April 2016 that the word “Gear” could not be used for legal reasons.
A short trailer was released on 8 April 2016 portraying Clarkson, Hammond and May brainstorming for a suitable name for the new series, before ending with the hashtag.
Another short trailer was posted by Clarkson on Facebook, yet again portraying the trio attempting to conjure up a suitable name. But this time, they end up getting distracted and completely forgetting the task at hand. Shortly afterwards, the trailer was released on the Amazon Video UK YouTube channel.
United Broadcast Facilities (UBF) in The Netherlands won the contract for the outside broadcasting tent segments. Fourteen microphones are used for recording the audience reaction laugh track within the tent. The mobile studio audio setup uses Lawo mixing desks connected via MADI for live sound mixing, recording and talkback intercoms.
In July 2016 following the completion of filming for The Grand Tour an offshore powerboat racing powerboat C-237 belonging to Sunus Racing was stopped in the San Marco basin and impounded by police near to San Zaccaria, Venice, for only having insurance during filming itself, and not afterwards.
Following the public naming of the show, Amazon offered new customers a £20 discount for their first year on Amazon Prime during 14–16 May 2016. A trailer announcing the release date of the show as 18 November 2016 was posted on the show’s YouTube channel on 15 September 2016. A second, full-length trailer, was released on 6 October 2016. Trailers have used the music “Come with Me Now” by Kongos.
As part of their marketing campaign, Amazon placed crashed Toyota Prius cars at Hackescher Markt in Berlin, in front of London King’s Cross railway station, and on the Hollywood Walk of Fame outside the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
In mid-2016 DHL began sponsoring the transport costs of the tent and mobile studio. In June 2016, in connection with the sponsorship deal, the presenters had uploaded videos of themselves attempting to assemble DHL-branded shipping boxes. The first episode stated that “promotional consideration” had been given by the Breitling Jet Team, DHL, and Samsung. Eight of the Breitling Jet aircraft took part in the opening sequence flyovers. For episode 2, the list included 5.11 Tactical.
As of November 2016 the show had received mostly positive reviews from critics, with The Guardian saying “Jeremy Clarkson and co leave the BBC in their dust”. Daily Express TV reporter, Neela Debnath commented that the first episode “resembled a Hollywood blockbuster” and added that “[The Grand Tour is] basically Top Gear on steroids”. However, BBC Arts Editor, Will Gompertz said of the opening that “there is no irony. It feels uncomfortably hubristic” but once the presenters were in the tent “Normal service has been resumed” and that “It seemed to me that Grand Tour is a TV show that wants to be – and quite possibly should be – a movie” The Independent described The Grand Tour as “the best of Top Gear but with a greater budget” TheWrap reported an estimate by Symphony Advanced Media that the opening weekend viewer count for The Grand Tour was three times the size of the opening weekend of The Man in the High Castle.
Episode 2 was somewhat less favourably received by fans and critics. The Telegraph wrote about the Jordan segment: “[…] a tedious action movie segment suggested that they were in danger of losing the run of themselves slightly and that Amazon’s hands-off policy towards the production had potential downsides.” Radio Times said that “many of the viewers were disgruntled to say the least, branding the show as dull and not funny.”