The Grand Tour is wildly successful but that doesn’t mean its success hasn’t come without its hurdles. We’ve decided to take a look back at six things that have stopped (or might stop) The Grand Tour from filming.
This one’s obvious and The Grand Tour wasn’t the only program affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the virus putting a halt to pretty much all filming globally. You could say that The Grand Tour was hit harder than most, as firstly, their executive producer and editor, Andy Wilman, had a terrible bout of the virus, and may have even caught it for a second time.
“Part of the process of setting up these films, you have to spend quite a lot of money before you go. You’re paying fixers, you’re setting up stuff, you’re getting the locations sorted out, you’re shipping cars, all that kind of thing. It’s hundreds of thousands [of Pounds] and all the time we’re spending it, there is all this stuff going on about ‘are countries going to close their borders’… so we were spending money like crazy not knowing we could have kept going like that. And then the Russians go ‘oh actually we’ve shut the borders’ and there is no word in Russian for ‘I’ll give you a refund’.”
Due to the requirement to go to Russia in the winter when there is snow, means that The Grand Tour have had to put the whole episode on whole until early 2021.
James May has opened up about how his age makes The Grand Tour more and more difficult as the years go on.. and to be honest, we don’t blame him. We can imagine even a young twenty something in top shape would still struggle with some of the long and enduring adventures the three presenters go on in each season. He told The Sun when asked about ageing:
“Bad, I’m in the second half of my fifties now and in all honesty, I’m slightly falling apart. I’m developing nervous disorders and aches and I don’t think I’ll do this much longer because I don’t want to fall apart in public.”
He went onto discuss how the end of The Grand Tour may be in sight and how he’d rather quit while he’s ahead:
“It would just be a bit undignified and I don’t think people want to see it. There’s almost certainly more of it behind us than in front of us. How long do you want to see old blokes?”
So while we may have many more episodes of The Grand Tour to come, we do know that it will come to an end someday and that day maybe sooner than we think. It will be a sad day when that happens but we’d rather remember them for their adventures than it taking them 15 minutes to get in and out of tiny supercars, as James concluded:
“Jeremy’s possibly even more decrepit than me. When it takes us 15 minutes to get out of a Ferrari, do you really want to see that? It’s sad. You’re supposed to leave the audience wanting more.”
4. Hammond’s Rimac One Crash
This incident was a lot closer to home for The Grand Tour presenters. On the 10th of June 2017, the show was filming in Hemberg, Switzerland and took part in the Bergrennen Hemberg hill climb event. Hammond was on his last run in the Rimac One, just after crossing the finishing line, crashed off the road and tumbled 110 metres away from the tarmac and then burst into flames, with Hammond narrowly escaping in time.
Clarkson described the incident on Twitter as the biggest crash he had ever seen:
It was the biggest crash I've ever seen and the most frightening but incredibly, and thankfully, Richard seems to be mostly OK.
Hammond was air lifted to hospital where he was diagnosed with a tibial plateau fracture in his left knee which required a plate and ten screws to be inserted.
Both Clarkson and May saw the crash from afar and believed that Hammond had died. James described the feeling as a “blossoming, white-hot ball of pure, sickening horror”.
Filming was suspended while Hammond got better, thankfully he recovered quickly and they were able to finish filming the season.
While ISIS hasn’t directly had an effect on filming The Grand Tour, they are causing difficulties in the future filming of the show.
The problem is, that during their time on both Top Gear and the The Grand Tour, Clarkson, Hammond and May have been to so many places around the globe and are now running out of places to visit.
There is a whole wealth of locations they could go but sadly the majority of them have been impacted heavily by ISIS and until they are no longer around, it would not be safe for The Grand Tour to film there. Jeremy Clarkson said of the issue:
“We have two ideas – obviously we don’t say where they are. I just wish ISIS would pack up – it would open up huge chunks of the world. Or whatever they call themselves. The whole way from Senegal to Borneo – that’s a really tricky area to get insurance for the crews. I’ll go!”
While Jeremy, who is first and foremost a veteran journalist, might be quite keen to go he does understand the need to keep the rest of his crew safe:
“You can’t say to young kids, camera assistants… ‘We’re all going to this war zone, you might get killed’. You’ve got to look after people, you can’t make them go.”
Hopefully that part of the world will open up soon and we can see the three presenters driving McLaren’s from Senegal to Borneo or something!
2. Clarkson Catching Pneumonia
While Jezza was on holiday in Majorca with his family back in 2017 he fell ill and was diagnosed with a very serious bout of pneumonia.
According to a column which Jeremy wrote The Sunday Times he spent:
“Three nights spent spasming in my bed [before a doctor insisted] if you don’t do as I say, you will die.”
While in hospital Jeremy learned that his right lung was covered in mucus, leaving him struggling to breath. Thankfully he made a full recovery, but the incident did cause some big changes to the show, specifically that the tent was no longer going to be roaming across the globe and would remain in the Oxfordshire countryside, near to Jeremy’s Chipping Norton home.
Keeping the tent in one place also came with other benefits, specifically it cut down on a lot of costs moving the absolutely huge tent around the globe.
1. Plane Noises
Finally, being in a tent means that you don’t have much protection from the outside world. We’ve all been there, camping in a field and waking up to a loud noise or water dripping on your face because your tent isn’t as waterproof as advertised.
So imagine how difficult that much be when you’re filming a massive TV show with full crew and a live studio audience.. well it would be pretty difficult as is, but what if I told you the tent was set up at the end of an airfield?
Yep that’s right, according to Reddit user r/drpellypo – who was actually present at the last ever tent filmed episode – filming had to be stopped multiple times due to planes flying overhead and making a racket. He said of the experience:
“Re-takes are mainly because of planes flying over the tent. This became quite funny throughout the day but I imagined it was really frustrating for the cast and crew. The tent was placed at what was basically the end of a private airfield and every time a plane took off, it flew over the tent and they had to start that segment again.”
So they’ve had some ups, downs and hurdles but it has never stopped Clarkson, Hammond, May and Mr Wilman from producing some of their best television. We’re sure they’ll have plenty more hiccups but at least we’ve seen the evidence that they won’t be phased.