The old Top Gear trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May will be hitting your screen as the hosts of The Grand Tour for the final time in 2024. The two final episodes have now been filmed, taking place in Mauritania and Zimbabwe, where the trio we've grown to love will close a chapter that's been three decades in the making.
“We’re done. I have reviewed cars on TV since 1989. That’s 34 years. And after next year, I won’t be doing that any more," Clarkson told The Times.
Since The Grand Tour launched in 2016, after Clarkson was fired from Top Gear for punching a producer, it's gone through several changes. First, it was essentially a Top Gear recreation, with celebrity interviews and an in-studio live show. Then they tightened it up by ditching the celebrity stuff. Eventually, they ditched the live show altogether and just made feature-length specials. And while none of The Grand Tour's iterations managed to capture the magic of Top Gear at its best, it was still one of the most watched shows on Amazon Prime. Millions of people tuned in to watch the automotive equivalent of the Three Stooges (and I mean that as a grand compliment).
All three hosts have their own projects to pursue outside of The Grand Tour anyway. Clarkson has his farm show and May has a travel show, both of which are also on Amazon Prime, while Hammond still does a lot of work for DriveTribe, while also presenting other TV programs. So they'll still be around, even though The Grand Tour won't be.
This news also comes just a couple of weeks after the BBC decided to indefinitely shut down Top Gear. After host Freddie Flintoff's accident during filming and the subsequent settlement, the BBC decided against renewing the show. Clarkson doesn't blame the most recent trio of Top Gear hosts for not wanting to return, either, specifically Flintoff.
"Richard Hammond was always keen to get back to work [following a crash], whereas Freddie isn’t," Clarkson told The Sun. "I don’t blame him. I know what happened on that awful day and it was horrific."
Clarkson even said that anyone who wants to take over in Flintoff's spot would come across as "heartless."
In a matter of weeks, the world learned that the two most entertaining car shows on TV are shutting down. We all knew this day was coming soon, as the original Top Gear gang are all either in their sixties or getting quite close, but it's still a little sad to see them go. Sure, their most recent work pales in comparison to the shows from their prime but, like most millennial car nerds, Clarkson, Hammond, and May made an indelible impression on me and the way I look at cars, and I'm sure I'm not alone on that one. Thanks for the memories, chaps.
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