As a former Top Gear fan and upcoming fan of The Grand Tour show that premieres on November 18th, you could imagine my excitement as I was one of the 400 people selected to attend yesterday’s TGT even in Southern California.
The first I’d like to share with you is that there was a total of 1.2 Million applicants for this particular show and only 400 people (who were allowed to bring up to 3 guests) were selected for the opening sequence scene while 300 hundred people were selected for the studio taping happening today.
After weeks of applying, waiting for emails, then waiting for phone calls, then waiting for more emails, it was an amazing experience to meet other fellow fans in the parking lot and being to line up for an experience of a life time.
To be up front, I’m not going to give away any details of the show in the spirit of the request of what was asked from us by the Grand Tour staff. But I will share with you the overall experiences that I saw.
The Crew and Cast
Growing up in Southern California, I’ve been to my fair share of tapings, so I wanted to get a sense of how the crew and cast were feeling as I walked around the set. It’s definitely hard to explain, but there was definitely a feel of excitement and anxiety in the voices of everyone throwing the event. Much like the first night of a high school play where everyone was walking a bit faster or taking the edge off with a little joke here and there. If anything, it helped with the energy from the 1600 extras that showed up at the event.
Not to say that anything was unorganized at all, as I think this has to be one of the biggest productions ever for a television series. You can definitely see that they aren’t saving a single dollar.
Without giving anything away, I would just say that in that interview with the TGT Insider where he says it’s the “Wildest Dreams of Top Gear come True,” he absolutely hits it on the head.
You arrive to the set and you see the tents and of course you know you’re going to see cars, but this isn’t anything you’ve ever seen on Top Gear before.
All the extras and I were kept really comfortable with a large tent to shade us from the sun and there were tons of people walking around with water bottles to make sure everyone was staying hydrated, food trucks to keep them fed and a DJ who was doing a great job with a MC making sure the crowd didn’t fall asleep.
From what we heard, the furthest we heard of a fan driving was from Kansas, Missouri.
Speaking of the extras, it was really great to meet other fans from other parts of the country. It was easy to start up a conversation about the show, then to cars and then to just what our hopes were for the show after seeing the crazy level of production from the taping. I hope that as this show grows, we can meet more fans from around the world and have them talk about everything here on the GTN like we did yesterday.
I want to share more, but I’m trying my best to be responsible here.
Of course, you’ll want to know how the hosts were. I can say that they are as gracious as you would think. They met with the fans multiple times and even took time to sign some autographs as you can see in these photos from reddit users below:
There were definitely more shirts and body parts that were signed, but we weren’t allowed to bring any sort of recording device into the event. All these photos were taken after we were brought back from the set.
Overall, it was an experience that I will remember forever and I hope that everyone gets the chance to go to one of the 36 tapings they plan to do over the next 3 years.
Thank you to Andy Wilman, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May for giving us fans from the other side of the world this experience.