I remember distinctly when Top Gear had suddenly stopped airing and i wondered what had happened. I waited a week and then again there was no sign of a new episode. Concerned, i went onle looking for news about Top Gear and my fears had come true. The lead presenter Jeremy Clarkson had apparently punched the producer after being served a cold meal at the end of a long hard day. Richard Hammond and James May were asked to continue with the BBC’s most watched show but they too resigned and walked away.
Those were nervous times really as no one knew what would happen to their favourite car show. Top Gear announced a new set of presenters which included none other than Matt LeBlanc himself along with a few others. It was all any one could talk about in those months. Speculations and more speculations about the new format of the show. Rumours surfaced and then died but all waited in anticipation with fingers crossed. Meanwhile, another rumour surfaced from an unlikely destination that the trio of Clarkson, Hammond and May had partnered with Amazon Prime to launch their own car show. This set fire to an already raging volcano. Suddenly Top Gear had competition and they knew they couldn’t be taken lightly. Top Gear had the advantage of already being a brand and airing several weeks before while these three hadn’t even come up with the name for the new show.
Finally the day arrived and i remember watching the first episode of the new season of Top Gear. I sat there in nervous excitement. But the episode was crap. Subsequent episodes showed a hint of promise but failed to deliver to an audience begging for a strong return. It was all over for Top Gear. People were visibly pissed and took to social media and rampaged hate comments all over the place. The show that had a waiting period of almost 20 years to be a part of the studio audience was now struggling to keep up ratings. The season ended in a “terrible disappointment”.
Anyway, the stage was set and the audience was primed and ready for The Grand Tour. And it was a smash. The pretty much nailed it and then some. It was exactly what the people wanted and that was exactly what was delivered. The same quip and snark that made the show so loved and admired was there again. Only now, they were on a much bigger budget. Which meant these three could let their imagination wild and set fire to whatever they liked. And that’s exactly what they did. In the run up to the show, BBC had laid out strict laws and regulations that The Grand Tour were not allowed to steal ideas from Top Gear. But they didn’t need to. They came up with something entirely new and original yet somehow keeping elements of the old show still intact. Their on-screen chemistry for instance is unparallelled. Now having aired its 12th episode of the first season, things keep looking up and up for the new show. Top Gear was defeated in its own game by the very people who made it famous worldwide in the first place.
While i do feel bad for Top Gear, but justice was done here. I mean Clarkson was punished rather harshly in my opinion and it was a bad move to let them go. Now after a season full of criticism, new Top Gear presenter Chris Evans has already called it quits after just one season with the show. Matt LeBlanc has agreed to stay on but the show seems to be grasping at straws and a comeback seems unlikely.
For now though, The Grand Tour is the show to watch even if you aren’t a petrol head. This show is for everyone. There’s laughter, there are explosions, there are serious bits as well, there’s drama all rolled into one. I honestly cannot think of another show quite like it. And i am sure as hell these guys brought their magic back.
Image credits : Google image search.