The Grand Tour: The First Special

I am deeply disappointed by The Grand Tour. I find it cringeworthy to the point where I’ve stopped watching it with others in attempt to contain the embarrassment and minimise awkwardness.

The celebrity segment was never funny. Why the GT team insist on keeping it up is totally beyond me. The American seems to have already exhausted his back catalogue of jokes. The whole communist introduction has become stale and for the life of me, I can’t figure out the thinking behind conversation street. You sit through ten minutes of regional chatter at the start, which is only funny if you are in the tent, or live within a 30 mile radius. Next you usually are treated to a short film. Cinematography is naturally second to none but there is still something about the presenting that just feels forced. To follow is a sting that introduces the next load of over scripted chatter. Usually here they will try to insert some kind of unnecessarily controversial item to get some publicity in the following days papers. By this point in the show I’ve become bored and started flicking through social media. 

The season is not over yet but as you can probably tell, I’ve made up my mind. I don’t like it. The final nail in the coffin for me was the Namibia special. The special episodes on Top Gear were always brilliant to watch. The trio had an amazing talent for really making the viewer care for the cars they were driving. Combining that with beautiful scenery and some kind of seemingly impossible task always resulted in great TV. Whether you were into cars or not, the specials entertained all. The India special was the worst of the bunch. There wasn’t a tangible goal or challenge, they just filled some time over doing one others stereotypes and just being generally immature. However, The Grand Tour Namibia special took this to another level.

Part one was boring for several reasons, firstly the choice of transportation. What made the special episodes interesting in the past was either watching cars doing something they shouldn’t i.e. the Australia special, or having proper underdogs, bought for a few hundred quid, doing the unthinkable. The problem with the Namibia special was that it had neither. The beach buggies were effectively doing what they were designed to do and there didn’t seem to be any rules or budget in the creation of the cars. It seemed the only design aim was to rinse the stereotypes even further. 

There is very little else to say about part one because nothing actually happened, they just drove around in circles. The only mildly exciting part was when they were racing the tide. Even then it was dull because you were watching three old men driving beach buggies… on a beach. I could not escape the feeling that if all the buggies got swallowed up by the sea I just wouldn’t care. 

Now I will be the first to admit that part two was much better. The main reason for this was because things actually happened. Having said that, there were moments I wished they hadn’t. The whole night shooting “incident” was embarrassing verging on pathetic. Same story when Hammond “woke up” hanging from the bottom of a helicopter. Ten out of ten for acting effort from Hammond but it was just unnecessary.  

I haven’t watched a single GT episode more than once and I doubt I ever will. With Top Gear however, I still find myself watching the countless repeats on Dave and I find them brilliant no matter how many times I’ve seen them! I don’t get that with the new show. If they ever find there way off Amazons streaming service onto mainstream TV I can tell you now, I’ll be getting out my Top Gear box set. I mentioned it in my initial post about The Grand Tour and I now think I may have been right. 


“So good, not even the people who made it, know how to make it again”

– Jeremy Clarkson on the Lexus LFA



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