Amazon Prime’s The Grand Tour – the return of Top Gear trio Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May after Clarkson was let go by the BBC – has largely been a success so far in its first season. The series premiere broke the streaming service’s viewing records and research by online piracy specialists suggest that the show was the most pirated series in history, demonstrating its starring trio’s enduring popularity, even when people aren’t watching legally.
While the critical reception has been largely positive, most commentators have noticed that the series doesn’t stray too far from the formula established during the presenters’ Top Gear days – with an ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach clearly in full effect. Although only at its mid-way point, The Grand Tour has already seen the three boys partake in military training, build a car with mud and ‘kill off’ a host of celebrities in dramatic fashion. However, one staple of the Top Gear formula – particularly around the Christmas and New Year period – that hasn’t yet made an appearance is the epic road trip special spread across multiple episodes.
As such, it’s not too surprising that December 30th and 31st will see the release of a two-part The Grand Tour special taking place in Namibia entitled ‘The Beach (Buggy) Boys’, for which Amazon Prime have now released a trailer. The clip shows Clarkson, Hammond and May trekking across the African country in dune buggies, braving harsh deserts, meeting locals and of course, bickering with each other. Towards the end of the clip, it also appears as if Hammond’s buggy is being carried over a cliff by an overhead cable of some kind – much to the presenter’s terror.
The trailer is more or less indistinguishable from the trio’s Top Gear specials – and given that those episodes provided some of that series’ most memorable moments, the Namibia trip promises to be a late Christmas treat for longtime fans of the motoring trio. The two-parter will do away with the standard format of The Grand Tour, with the traveling tent and skits such as ‘Conversation Street’ and ‘Celebrity Brain Crash’ taking a break in order to allow the buggy trek to take up the bulk of both episodes’ run time.
Specials during the trio’s tenure on Top Gear always saw Clarkson, Hammon and May on top form, giving fans classic moments such as turning their cars into mobile homes during the Africa special and building an actual bridge during their Burma trip. As such, continuing this tradition in The Grand Tour is likely to further the success the series has already experienced and provide essential New Year viewing, thanks to the inevitable blend of stunning locations, motoring escapades and the presenters’ undeniable chemistry.
Interestingly however, the special episodes also have a history of causing controversy – and consequently publicity – in some sections of the media. The 2007 U.S.A. special saw the trio attacked in Alabama for having slogans such as ‘NASCAR sucks’ and ‘Country and Western is rubbish’ on the sides of their cars and the Burma special caused some problems for the BBC after the alleged use of a racial slur. As ever, it’ll be interesting to see whether the presenters can come out of these two episodes without getting themselves into some kind of trouble.
The Grand Tour continues with ‘The Beach (Buggy) Boys: Part 1’ on December 30th and Part 2 on the 31st on Amazon Prime.
Source: Amazon Prime