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Jeremy Clarkson Left ‘The Grand Tour’ Because He’s ‘Unfit and Fat and Old’

The 63-year-old says he and his cohosts have "done everything you can do with a car."
Mark Williamson/Country Life/Future Publishing via Getty Images

There are two more episodes of The Grand Tour on the horizon: one set in Mauritania, which should drop on Amazon Prime Video next month, and another in Zimbabwe, release date to be announced. After that, it sounds like it’s over for the iconic trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, at least in the business of making extravagant car-themed travel entertainment. If you’re wondering why they’ve called it quits now, Clarkson’s left little room for ambiguity in a recent interview.

Quite simply, the work is “immensely physical,” as Clarkson put it to The Times of London, “when you’re unfit and fat and old, which I am.”

“I’ve driven cars higher than anyone else and further north than anyone else,” the 63-year-old said. “We’ve done everything you can do with a car. When we had meetings about what to do next, people just threw their arms in the air.”

Clarkson, Hammond, and May began working together on Top Gear in 2003, when May replaced Jason Dawe for the second season onward. Of course, Clarkson’s own history with the program began more than a decade earlier, during its original format. Their missions and adventures have only trended ever more elaborate and expensive since, not to mention dangerous. “If you’re Bear Grylls you go to a hotel,” Clarkson told The Times. “There aren’t any hotels in the Sahara desert.”

While The Grand Tour’s end is in sight, Clarkson’s Farm, which requires significantly less physical toil on the part of the host, is continuing on. And Amazon may very well decide to redevelop The Grand Tour without its original talent. As May recently put it in his own interview, “there’s never been a better time for a car show,” given the constant developments around autonomy and electrification. Clarkson, however, doesn’t appear to see it that way.

“An electric car is no different from a chest freezer or a microwave oven,” Clarkson said to The Times. “There’s no glamour or excitement. This week on Top Chest Freezer! I think it suits the written media more.” Whoa, Jeremy—some of us still have to make a living here, thanks.

All things come to their end, of course, and it stands to reason that the show about three middle-aged men falling over in increasingly elaborate, picturesque fashion depends on the hosts being able to take those hits. Personally, I’d be perfectly pleased with a return to the early Top Gear-style challenges of driving 100 miles across the U.K. in Italian rust buckets, but if the goal must be something new and fresh, it’s not hard to understand why the trio’s throwing its arms up.

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