In Jeremy Clarkson’s most recent DriveTribe interview with Grand Tour executive producer and editor, Andy Wilman – they spoke at length regarding the second episode of season 4, especially surrounding the difficulties with producing such a program given the current global COVID-19 crisis.
Mr Wilman, who recently recovered from Coronavirus, said one of the biggest issues is the fact that they can’t go to their Soho editing suite for obvious reasons, but also the biggest issue is due to various members of the editing process not being able to sit in the same room together. Another issue is, of course, the vast amount of technical back up that is required to edit such a successful program:
Andy: “Well its been a problem here now because I just haven’t got the technical [equipment], 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 sit together. Granted the biggest issue is not the technical back up but the food and drink back up.”
Jeremy then went on to clarify Mr Wilman’s point on just how difficult the process is, talking about the vast amount of footage that is needed to create a ninety-minute episode:
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”
Due to the huge amount of crew who go out on a shoot with Clarkson, Hammond and May – a twelve-hour shooting time would give the crew a massive amount of footage. It is not unreasonable to assume that The Grand Tour probably has near enough one hundred cameras all filming pretty much none stop throughout the twelve-hour shoot – which would provide Mr Wilman and his team with near enough 1000 hours of footage, which they then have to whittle down into a ninety-minute format.
Jeremy: “We shoot a thousand hours for every hour [and a half] 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 problem is, the time?”
It goes without saying that 99% of this footage is most likely unusable or not relevant to the show, there will also be a lot of outtakes and bloopers that Andy Wilman will need to remove from the finished product – oh, and also a lot of Clarkson, Hammond and May banging on about things that are totally not needed in the show:
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.”
Hopefully, things will begin to go back to normal soon and we can start counting down the days until the next episode.