Since James May joined the BBC’s popular motoring program Top Gear in the early 2000s, he has been followed by Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond as they explored the entertainment industry as a trio.
Now, with the second lockdown special of The Grand Tour, Carnage A Trois, released, James May has talked to Express.co.uk on the reason why they’ve moved onto this new ‘special episode’ layout, and why the trio is doing more and more individually.
James admitted that it was much healthier for he, Jeremy, and Richard to be working on their own projects outside of their popular motoring show, before explaining exactly why they have reduced the number of episodes and content they release for The Grand Tour each year:
James revealed: “The real reason we’re doing the specials is because that’s the bit we do best.”
“It wasn’t to make space for us to do other things, it’s so that we concentrated our efforts.”
Season 4 saw a huge change to the show with the removal of the audience, the tent, and the famous Eboladrome. Not only this, but they removed all the segments, stripping all episodes back to a single storyline. Unfortunately for The Grand Tour crew, almost as soon as they did this, the UK was plunged into a lockdown, meaning they had to focus their efforts within the island. This meant they’d bring us a brilliant Scotland special episode, Lochdown, and an episode that revolved around French cars, albeit set in England and Wales.
This also meant that the trio could each work on their own shows. Jeremy started Clarkson’s Farm which was released to huge amounts of praise earlier this year. As was James’ show Our Man In Japan. Following this, Richard Hammond’s Workshop was released to Discovery Plus.
James said: “But we have done a few things.
“Like I’ve done travel and Clarkson’s done farming, and Hammond has done desert island engineering.”
“I think it probably is quite healthy that we do things individually.”
With now almost 20 years of experience working beside each other year in, year out, James is very happy with their chemistry on-screen.
“I think that our relationship is so old now, and it’s so established that we are, like it or not, we’re a little bit of a sitcom with characters in.
“And the viewers choose one to identify with. Or two to identify with against the other. It’s quite a simple, childish mechanism that makes the thing work.”
He did admit, however: “It’s probably quite good for us if we go off and film ourselves making sandwiches or wandering around Italy or trying to grow potatoes or whatever. It’s probably quite healthy.”
The second series of Clarkson’s Farm has been confirmed for next year, and May is working on Our Man In Italy, which also has a confirmed release date of next year. It’s safe to say, we’re very excited.