It made for some very interesting watching and both Jezza and Mr Wilman have provided us with some insight into why there has been a delay and it’s not all to do with the COVID-19 crisis (which Andy Wilman thankfully recovered from). Jeremy started off the conversation asking exactly why we can’t see it as of yet:
Jeremy: “We filmed it four months ago, so why can’t we see it?”
To which Mr Wilman politely corrected Mr Clarkson, informing him it was more like six months ago and that without a global pandemic sweeping across the globe.
Andy: “October, November, December, January, February, March, April… 6 months ago. Well, even without a world pandemic, it takes a long time. Part of the problem is, I’m not in the edit [suite].”
The editing suite is one of the single most important parts of a whole show – it is where the show is put together into a viewing format, and while we’re no expert, we can only assume that this is something that cannot really be done remotely. Clarkson clarified for us somewhat how the process of creating a Grand Tour episode works:
Jeremy: “This is the deal ladies and gentlemen – James, Richard and I and the crews go out to really hot and difficult parts of the world with, as often as not, officials who are tricky at the best of times. We sleep in tents with one another snoring, we catch appalling diseases, we’re bit by insects that even David Attenborough doesn’t know exists. We come back, we bring our hard work back to Mr Wilman who then takes months of sitting in his agreeable Soho edit suite being passed sushi – thats what the problem is isn’t it?”
Andy clarified that the biggest issue is the huge amount of technology that an editing suite provides, the kind of technology that one doesn’t often have just lying around their house:
Andy: “Well its been a problem here now because I just haven’t got the technical, I had to go to Tesco the other day to buy a microphone! Biggest f*****g show in the world and I’m in Tesco stepping over people fighting over eggs to try and get to the electronics section. And then the editors in Cambridge, I’m in London which [we’d] normally would sit together. Granted the biggest issue is not the technical back up but the food and drink back up.”
Jeremy then went on to tell viewers just how complicated and time-consuming editing an episode of The Grand Tour really is:
Jeremy: “So you’re sitting at home and it’s slowed you down because I think, I tried to explain it to some people last week, how complicated it is to edit an episode of The Grand Tour and I don’t think people get it. As I understand it the average shooting [to edit] ratio for a show in the world these days is twelve hours for every hour you show? What is that, something like 500:1 [hours]?”
However, it turns out that ratio is actually a whole lot more, double in fact:
Andy: “No we’re nearly [at] 1000:1”
Obviously there are only twelve hours in a day, so how can 12 hours of filming amount to 1000 hours worth of footage? Well, the primary reason is just how many cameras are recording footage within that 12 hours – with The Grand Tour being one of the worlds biggest shows, understandably their camera crew is extensive and therefore each individual camera will capture a huge amount of footage within a twelve-hour window.
Jeremy: “We shoot a thousand hours for every hour you watch? Which is twice as much as Attenborough shoots and he’s waiting for polar bears to come out of their holes. So we come back with a thousand hours of television and you’ve got to edit that down to one hour and a half? And is that what the time is, the problem?”
Obviously, the vast amount of footage given to Mr Wilman is unusable and his job is to cherry-pick the best of it and put it into a watchable format – he joked that most of it is just the three chumps wittering on and on:
Andy: “In our defence, you’re going on about it taking a long time, most of that thousand hours is you three talking and going on and on.”
So there you have it, The Grand Tour films hours upon hours of footage, which is then diluted down to a watchable format – but the process of doing this requires a team of people in a room, an incredible amount of technical hardware as well as software and Mr Wilman to be provided with all the food and drink he could ask for at the extension of an arm. Hopefully, Wilman and his team will be able to get back into the editing suite as soon as possible and get the fans the much anticipated next episode of The Grand Tour.