Series / The Grand Tour

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/grandtour_01.jpg
from left: James May, Richard Hammond, and Jeremy Clarkson. They had a show about cars on The BBC. They now have another one on a new network.

"...back in the spring [of 2015], as you probably remember, I suddenly became... unbusy."
Jeremy Clarkson, Amazon FireTV ad

The Grand Tour is a motoring show on the Amazon Prime streaming service that debuted on 17th November 2016. Amazon has picked up the show initially for 36 episodes, three seasons of 12 episodes each. New episodes debut weekly, instead of the whole season released at-once available for "binging", like many other streaming shows.

The show is hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, who were the presenters of the second iteration of The BBC programme Top Gear that ran from 2002—2015. Their Vitriolic Best Buds rapport, along with their combination of car knowledge and absurd antics, turned that show into a global phenomenon, and Amazon has captured a similar flavor with The Grand Tour. The show is co-produced by the presenters, along with former Top Gear producer Andy Wilman.

Episodes feature segments ranging from semi-serious car reviews, many extravagant stunts, and some difficult trips, all filmed in various places around the world. For the first season, the presenters introduced and discussed each episode from inside a mobile studio created inside of a giant tent in front of a large audience, which was pre-taped in several cities across the world. They also engage in segments such as "Conversation Street" where they discuss current events in motoring, and "Celebrity Brain Crash", where they invite celebrities onto the show before said celebrities die on their way to the tent (fictitiously, of course). There is also a test track in a top secret location note  that happens to be shaped like the ebola virus, and so has been dubbed the Eboladrome. There they also have a test driver, ex-NASCAR racer Mike Skinner, nick-named as The American, who as he runs his test laps grumbles about the presenters, and that any car not made in America is "communist."

The Grand Tour's first few episodes debuted first only in the U.K, U.S, Japan, and Germany (countries that offer Amazon's yearly Prime membership), but beginning December 13th, 2016, it became available nearly globally via Amazon's Prime Video website. Wilman has also expressed an interest in licensing the show for broadcast to other countries that don't have access to Amazon, as well as possibly running the show in some sort of broadcast syndication deal, outside of streaming, so it can eventually be seen by as many viewers as possible.

The run-up to the series, considering the history of the presenters' time at Top Gear, and of the circumstances that led to its creation, made for considerable coverage on social media and in the UK press. To make a very long and controversial story short, Jeremy Clarkson's contract for Top Gear was not renewed in March 2015 after a physical altercation with one of the show's producers. A few weeks later, May, Hammond, and Wilman opted not to renew their contracts for the show, and so subsequently left with Clarkson after the end of the show's 22nd series.

The four then began looking for an outlet to begin again with a new show; A deal was eventually struck between Amazon Studios and the quartet's new production company, "W. Chump & Sons" note  and they were offered a generous amount of money (said to be in the neighborhood of $250 million) to make three series of (at the time) their still-unnamed show. After a long, long period of comical Internet bickering, fan debate, and serious legal wrangling, the show was christened The Grand Tour in May 2016.

As part of the show's global tone, and also due to the larger budget afforded them, the series travels around the world and to (arguably) more far-flung locations than in comparison with Top Gear. The first tent setup and subsequent audience filming was in Johannesburg, South Africa on 17th July 2016, with the final audience segments taped for the last episode of the first series were recorded in Dubai, UAE on 10th December 2016.

Filming started on the 2nd series not soon after the 1st series wrapped; The filming has had its share of peril — Richard Hammond was involved in two accidents: a motorcycle accident in Mozambique in March, 2017, and a crash in a supercar in Switzerland in June that was far more serious, but from fortunately he has since recovered. In light of these recent accidents, the presenters announced in September, 2017 that the pre-taped segments for the episodes for the second season will all be done at a single location, at a studio in the Cotswolds in the UK. Audience tapings will begin on 25th October 2017, which could mean the second season may begin to stream on Amazon shortly after. The final taping is set for 19th December 2017.


This show provides examples of:

  • Acquired Error at the Printer: A feature of the show's opening. A sign will welcome the presenters, but the last one listed will have their name misspelled. For example: "Richard Hammond, James May, and Germy Clarkson," or perhaps "Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and Jams Made."
  • The Alleged Car: In Episode 4, the presenters are given a Land Rover Discovery and told to remove all its body panels and replace them with sustainable materials. Clarkson uses animal bones, skin and flesh, Hammond uses various plants, and May uses (variously) mud, bricks, and straw packed together with dung. In true Top Gear tradition, all three were this trope:
    • Clarkson's car gradually went rotten over the three-day challenge, creating a horrible smell, and eventually it overheated due to maggots infesting the engine.
    • Hammond's car actually worked very well, even attracting some small animals... which were all seemingly killed after May accidentally tore it open with a JCB. Even after that, Hammond's car was easily the best of the three, right up until the exhaust set the bodywork on fire.
    • As for May: the mud car was impractically heavy and fell apart within moments; the brick car was even heavier (to the point the chassis broke in half), even less secure (the roof collapsed the instant he set off, and it completely fell apart as he drove through a river), and his industrial method of producing the bricks completely defeated the purpose of the challenge; and the straw/dung car also fell apart (twice), and had practically no windscreen so he couldn't see where he was going.
      Clarkson: It's the Meat-TI, the Tree-TI, and the Peat-TI!
    • In Episode 9, Clarkson tries to built a more sporty SUV by mating the body of an old MG B sports car to the internals of a Land Rover Discovery. The bodywork didn't fit properly and ended up floating ridiculously high above the wheels, the steering was barely functional, the brakes weren't functional at all, and neither were any of the dials on the dashboard. When he tried taking it offroad it quickly started falling apart and he abandoned it. His second attempt, using the bodywork of a Mercedes SL, actually looked surprisingly good... from the outside. The interior was extremely shoddy and, like the MG B version, barely anything worked.
  • Anachronic Order:
    • The audience segments, taped in various parts of the world, weren't used in the order that were taped. The opening scenes out in the desert & the audience segments that were part of the first episode were taped in Los Angeles in late September 2016. The audience segments in Johannesburg, South Africa in the second episode were actually the very first ones shot, in mid-July 2016.
    • For episodes 3 & 4, the audience segments were taped in Whitby, North Yorkshire, which was the next shoot after LA, so the order would up only being only slightly tweaked, and the series progressed in the same order as the boys filmed, eventually ending in Dubai.
    • Richard Hammond's "single lap" round the desert sets in Episode 5 is clearly composed of multiple different attempts assembled in anachronic order: he starts out with visible damage on the left-hand side that wasn't there before, it suddenly disappears partway through the lap, and then at the end of the lap he slides sideways into a statue and accrues the damage that he had at the start of the run. It's a very jarring editing goof.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: In Episode 3, Hammond approaches Clarkson and May, who are watercolour-painting:
    Hammond: What are you two doing?
    Clarkson: [sarcastically] I'm defusing a bomb, Hammond. What does it look like?
  • Ass Shove: In "Operation Desert Stumble," Clarkson gets stuck in a window trying to escape the terrorists. Clarkson then says the terrorists are (off-camera) doing "unpleasant" things to his back half, causing him to beg Hammond & May to shoot him.
  • A-Team Firing: Related to the above, as Clarkson begs Hammond and May to kill him, May duly opens fire with his assault rifle, from no more than ten feet away, and manages to shoot all the way around the window frame without hitting Clarkson once. Clarkson is not amused.
    Jeremy: ...HOW DID YOU MISS?!
    James (to Hammond): It's true what they say about machine guns, isn't it? You can't hit a thing with 'em!
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!!: In one of the show's early YouTube ads, a brain-storming session to come up with a name devolves into Hammond online color-customizing a car, and Clarkson and May online customizing Ray-Ban sunglasses.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Hammond and May's upgraded version of Battleship that you can create at home! All you need is an unused air field, several thousand pounds worth of scrap cars, some shipping containers, two cranes, at least twenty explosive-rigged G-Wizes...
  • Badass Driver: Former NASCAR driver Mike Skinner assumes the role of The Stig in The Grand Tour, with his nickname being "The American". Unlike any of the Stigs (McCarthy, Collins, and the unknown current one), he doesn't cover his entire body with his race suit and speaks, grumbling about the quality of the car and making fun of the presenters.
    Skinner [about the test track] "...wonder which one of them came up with this thing - the tall one, the short one, or the one with the girly hair?"
  • Bait-and-Switch: Episode 5's celebrity guests, Dutch band Golden Earring, were introduced performing in a Rotterdam port beneath an overhanging shipping container. Given the segment's Black Comedy Running Gag, it's easy to assume that the shipping container is going to fall on them and crush them, but it doesn't. They're instead electrocuted when a loose cable falls into the sea.
  • Benevolent Boss: In the second brain-storming ad, Hammond gets an e-mail from "Jeff' pressuring them to come up with a new name. The "Jeff" in question is obviously Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Hammond, when the obviously-supercharged Nissan Patrol he was racing in Dubai overtook his Porsche 918 Spyder.
  • Black Comedy: The entire Celebrity Brain Crash segment. Ostensibly, it's a test of the competing celebrity's reflexes, but in reality, it's a set-up for them to be "killed" before they even reach the tent, often in a gruesome manner and right in front of the audience. The Narmy intro, James' meek "Does that mean they're not coming on, then?", and Richard's description of what just happened only adds to the funny.
  • *Bleep*-dammit!: In episode 12, although they never actually say it aloud, thanks to being bleeped out and one Curse Cut Short, they still constantly show the name of their destination, Fucking, on maps and signs. It was likely an attempt to keep the show's rating down, but it didn't work; this is the first Grand Tour episode to get a TV-MA rating.
  • Boring, but Practical: James defends his beach buggy from jabs by Richard and Jeremy in the Namibia Special with this.
    James: It's boring in that it WORKS.
  • Breaking In Old Habits: In the thirteenth episode, May breaks the BBC's promise not to say 'Oh, cock' on the show when he comes to a pub and realises he had just missed out on a concert.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the ninth episode, "Berks to the Future," Hammond and May respond to Clarkson's voiceover, which they obviously can't hear during filming.
    Clarkson: (voiceover) We'd only gone a few miles before Richard and James completely changed their minds and realized that the Excellent was the best car they'd ever been in.
    Hammond: No, we haven't! Stop saying saying things in voiceover that aren't true!
  • Bring My Brown Pants:
    • In the first episode, at the beginning of Clarkson and Hammond's duel between the McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918, they decide to drive each other's cars around the Portuguese race track. Clarkson comments on how the Porsche's four-wheel drive allows him to be more confident in taking corners faster. Hammond, driving the rear-wheel drive McLaren P1... doesn't.
    Hammond: "I didn't think it was possible to shit yourself to death!"
    • Once May arrives with the LaFerrari and they run their first drag race, Clarkson doesn't set the launch control properly, which causes his P1 to waver all over the track at the finish, which visibly shakes him.
    • In the second episode, "Operation Desert Stumble", Jeremy's pants fall down as he descends down a rope from a military helicopter. He blames it on all the gear (charges, ammunition, etc.) attached to them.
    • Multiple instances during the Nambia special as they traverse the desert. At one point, Clarkson's buggy locks up, driving his buggy's front tires deep into the sand, right in front of the edge of a outrageously steep dune that he didn't even see. Another harrowing scene (from the POV of Clarkson's buggy camera) shows Hammond's buggy going over another steep dune at an odd angle, which panics Clarkson, who radios the crew. As Jeremy rushes over to the edge, he sees Richard was able to get the buggy get down the dune.
    Clarkson: "How the [bleep] did you get down that?"
    Hammond: "With my eyes shut! I was terrified!"
    • In the Namibia special, as Jeremy launches his buggy from the cable car platform, he quickly realises this. With his eyes closed.
    Clarkson: My rectum has just opened like a set of theatre curtains!
  • Call-Back: To some segments or unfinished business from their time on Top Gear:
    • Alluding to a notorious segment from Series 15 of Top Gear, when the three presenters and Wilman founded their new production company, W. Chump & Sons, all four bought Reliant Robins as 'company cars.'
      • They are seen on the Amazon 'name brain-storming' YouTube ads. May's is beige, Hammond's is brown, and Clarkson's is blue.
      • In the second ad, the fourth car (the green one that belongs to Andy Wilman) is tipped over on its side.
      • In January, 2016, Clarkson came clean and admitted the differential of the car had been modified to get it to roll. The presenters are actually fans of the Robin, which is why they bought them.
      • Paparazzi later caught them in North London driving them around, which could mean they will be used in a segment of the show, although Clarkson has refuted this on Twitter, saying they are really just company cars.
    • The show's first shoot, in Portugal, was of a shootout between a Ferrari LaFerrari, a McLaren P1, and Porsche 918 Spyder, a 'dream race' the presenters had first tried to set up during Series 21 of Top Gear. (Hammond had made a bet with Clarkson that if the P1 lost, that Clarkson would legally change his name to "Jennifer"). The shoot-out never came to pass due to varying cop-outs (err, concerns) from the automobile manufacturers. note 
      • Clarkson did know someone who owned all three who could lend them to Top Gear, the problem was their last name - Bin Laden. note  While the show doesn't elaborate on how the cars were procured, we do find out the Ferrari May is given to use is straight from the company and is actually unlicensed, which is a disadvantage the other two presenters exploit when they suggest going out and testing the cars away from the track.
      • Also, while a Ferrari 488 GTB was used to introduce and demonstrate the characteristics of the show's new test track, the "Eboladrome", Ferrari would not allow the American to put the 488 through a timed lap on the Eboladrome to compare against other cars.
      • May continues his running gag from Top Gear of calling the LaFerrari the 'Ferrari The Ferrari' (literally translating the French) and actually never refers to it as the LaFerrari over the course of the shootout segment.
    • When brain-storming for show names, Clarkson suggests "Selling England By The Pound", "Watcher Of The Skies", "Supper's Ready", and "Fifth Of Firth", irking Hammond & May as they are all just names of classic-era Genesis songs.
    • When Jeremy asks how many cars the three have crashed, Richard launched into a Long List that ended with a rocket powered dragster which is the one Top Gear accident that any of the three hosts will barely reference.
    • While much hay has been made in the press as to how much The Grand Tour may not be allowed to be as similar in feel to Top Gear (detailed in-part in this interview with producer Andy Wilman) the tagline in the first teaser is the often-used Top Gear quip, "...what could possibly go wrong?''.
      • In the end, the show's structure is very similar to Top Gear, with a news segment ("Conversation Street") and a celebrity segment ("Celebrity Brain Crash") serving as act breaks to the main segment, although the celebrity segment is decidedly not an interview than an excuse for a bit of black comedy.
      • For the first season, 13 episodes were shot, but there was only 9 audience taping locations. Two episodes being released on December 30th and 31st comprise of a two-part episode similar to the periodic road-trip 'Special' episodes of Top Gear, which features a trip to Namibia (with no audience present and none of the normal segments or couch gags), 2 shows were taped in Whitby (their first time in front of a British audience since they'd left Top Gear) and two were taped at Loch Ness, Scotland.
      • So far, each episode has ended with, "... and on that tremendous disappointment", instead of "... and on that bombshell."
    • In Episode 10; Clarkson references Top Gear's theme song; the full exchange is described under Take That! below.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: In Episode 2, as the trio is driving the Queen of England to safety while taking heavy fire from the terrorists, Clarkson and May take the time to calmly discuss the getaway car.
    Hammond: Will you stop reviewing the car?!
  • Censored Title: Literally with episode 11, "[censored] to [censored]". For those wondering, it's Wank, Germany to Fucking, Austria.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: While the previous episodes had contained a couple of choice swear words, the Namibia special has the presenters throwing around the word "shit" like it's going out of style. Given the difficulty curve of the journey, including a few close calls with cliffs, it's not surprising.
  • Comically Missing the Point: After introducing any Celebrity Brain Crash guest who promptly dies through some unforeseen accident:
    May: Does that mean he's not coming on then?
    • During "Operation Desert Stumble," after James reads that one of the presenters being killed will force the whole mission to restart:
      Clarkson: It's like that Tom Cruise movie...
      (beat)
      Hammond: Cocktail? note 
  • Cool Car: Obviously. The first episode alone features the McLaren P1, the Porsche 918, and the Ferrari LaFerrari, plus the Ferrari 488 appears to demonstrate the Eboladrome. Not to mention the veritable army of Cool Cars that shows up in that epic intro...
    • The Aston-Martin Vulcan Jeremy drives in the second episode. note 
    • In the fifth episode, Clarkson drives a Alfa Romeo 4C Spider around Morocco. He dissects its flaws (including giving him a leg cramp), but then later devotes a entire segment to a film of just a long set of beauty passes of the car, in moody black and white, set to Dusty Springfield's version of "Windmills Of Your Mind", from the The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), explaining the car is at its best when seen and not necessarily driven.
    • In Episode 6, the Christmas Special, Hammond drives the first right-hand drive Ford Mustang to arrive in the UK. He's so excited, he brings a small band with him to the dock and drives it right out of the shipping container.
    • Clarkson goes wide-eyed over another Alfa during Episode 10, "Dumb Fight at the OK Coral", this time the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, with more Car Porn as he drives it around Wales. While he again needles this car, this time for its cramped front cabin and Alfa's instance that they developed its very-Ferrari-like engine themselves, he eventually glows over the car, and then even decides to head to a dealership and go buy one... until he sees a hot red 4C. note 
  • Couch Gag:
    • In each episode so far, a drone taking shots of the Grand Tour's tent is knocked out of the sky; in California it's shot down, in Johannesburg it's brought down by a curious giraffe, in Dubai it is knocked down by a fancy water fountain (and crashes into the same fountain to add insult to injury) and in Whitby it both falls into a lobster's cage and is pooped on by a seagull.
    • Starting with episode 3, the opening montage includes a shot of a sign naming the presenters. The third name is always misspelled.
  • Credits Gag: At the end of the reef-making episode, a disclaimer states: "All procedures and policies were followed and no damage was done to the reef or wildlife during filming. Jeremy got a sunburnt neck but he was very brave and hardly mentioned it at all."
  • Curse Cut Short: Well, kind of. When James introduces the second half of the film in episode 12, he gets cut off before he can finish the name of the town they left off in: Fucking, Austria.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • During "Morroccan Roll," after Jeremy's plan to find out the weight of the cars ends in spectacular failure:
    Clarkson: James, it's not acceptable in Morocco to kill animals to establish the weight of a car, so...
    May: It's not acceptable in Morocco?
    • And while debating the merits of the Bentley in "[censored] to [censored]":
    Clarkson: James, when I first met you, I thought you were ugly. And now, I still think you're ugly.
    May: A crushing criticism from one so handsome.
  • Death by Cameo: Pretty much the entire point of Celebrity Brain Crash. According to this article in The Sun, the BBC cautioned the show from doing 'Top Gear-style celebrity interviews', although in the same article the Beeb denies it. Regardless, it's likely both a jab at the BBC and the idea of the celebrity segment in-general, which for many fans was the least-liked segment of Top Gear.
    • Subverted in that some of the Celebrity Brain Crash guests (namely Charlize Theron, Kimi Räikkönen, and Nena, so far) are filmed at a distance and are likely just an surrogate performer or a crew member playing the actual person suggested. Tellingly, the celebrity also isn't listed in the end credits.
  • Death by Irony: Episode 9's celebrity guest, Nena, is "killed" by being carried into the air... by 99 red balloons.
  • Death Course:
    • Clarkson sets up the show's test track as this, as wildlife can dart out whilst driving, one corner hugs an electrical substation, while the turn near the finish is near a pen of grazing sheep. A tight turn is meant to be drifted through rather than driven. As the layout of the track resembles the Ebola virus, it is dubbed 'The Eboladrome'.
    • After the course was laid out, and the first test laps began, according to Clarkson, a unexploded WWII munition was found, and so the track had to be re-tooled to flow around it.
    • The presenters have to go through a more literal one in Amman, Jordan in "Operation Desert Stumble," used to allow special forces to train and compete.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Discussed in the Namibia special, after Clarkson and Hammond come across the wheelless carcass of a dead Toyota Hilux in a small village. Clarkson is astonished, noting that Namibia is so harsh it's managed to "kill the unkillable car" — a Call-Back to a couple of early episodes of Top Gear when the presenters punished a Hilux mercilessly and it miraculously still worked.
  • Different in Every Episode: The introduction clip to "Conversation Street"; a couple of times it's played straight, but more often than not, there's something there that shouldn't be...
  • Disproportionate Retribution: During Episode 2, things are going well until May shoots and kills Hammond aboard the airplane. As they make their way back, Clarkson asks why, to which May replies with, "He was being annoying." On the next run through, Hammond shoots and kills May at the same point in the run. Why? "Well he shot me!"
  • Eagle Land: American audiences are portrayed as friendly and good-natured until they have a difference of opinion against the British hosts, for example, which sport better fits the term "football." This inevitably leads to shouting, fighting, and eventually the presenters cowering somewhere while the audience chants "USA! USA!"
  • Escalating War: During the segment on Hammond's bugout vehicle, he brags about how it is bulletproof; it is against low-caliber guns. Clarkson and May demonstrated it is less effective against automatic, sniper, and rocket launcher fire. So, Hammond makes his second vehicle stand up to those things; his co-presenters bring actual tanks to blow this one sky high. Hammond's final vehicle is nigh-indestructible against any kind of artillery. Unfortunately for him, someone let Clarkson and May aboard the HMS Richmond and gave them access to its 5-inch naval gun.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In Episode 2, during the party where the Audi driven by May, Clarkson and Hammond is being chased by terrorists through a town, if you quickly pause the episode at the right moment, you can see one of the 'terrorists' wearing a shirt with "Mission X" and a website written on it. For context, Mission X is actually a company run by ex-special forces commandos that specialises in movie and TV documentary consulting, organisational training, and finally, extreme combat-realistic scenarios, war games, survival situations and adventures. The presenters went through the third option when they filmed it.
  • Fix It in Post: As with Top Gear, this is parodied and subverted.
    • In the first episode, after Clarkson claims the Royal Air Force is the best air force in the world, the American crowd starts booing and making patriotic remarks. Clarkson retorts that it doesn't matter what they say, because it'll just get edited out. This is followed by a Gilligan Cut rapid-fire montage of the presenters getting roughed up by the audience while continuing to insist that the RAF is the best, then a brief shot of a make-up artist hiding their injuries, before they continue as though nothing had happened.
      • The same thing happens in Episode 10, filmed in Nashville, when the hosts start arguing with another American crowd about which sport deserves the right to be called "football".
    • Clarkson's review of the Aston Martin Vulcan in Episode 2 starts with him struggling to get in, taking several attempts, before stalling the car almost immediately. He remarks that they'll just edit all that out. They didn't.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • After Daniel Ricciardo is reduced to a fine red spray across the window of the tent, Clarkson and Hammond hastily introduce a new film while May wanders off to go clean it. Come back after the film, and while Clarkson and Hammond discuss that film and introduce the next one, May is actually outside the tent cleaning off the window, and doing a surprisingly thorough job.
    • In [censored] to [censored], after spending much of the episode debating the existence of the Loch Ness Monster (which might or might not have killed Tim Burton in his submarine), during the closing segment, a mysterious object can be seen rising out of the loch through the window.
  • Fun with Subtitles:
    • When Jerome D'Ambrosio (the French-speaking Belgian F1 driver the presenters enlist to make the timed laps during the 'Holy Trinity' hypercar shootout) finishes his test laps and comes back to talk to them about the feel of the cars, the English subtitles have him slagging both the Ferrari and the Porsche yet showering praise on the P1, until Hammond & May realizes that Clarkson is writing them.
    • Clarkson does it again in episode 9, pretending the football stars looking at his custom car ("The Excellent") are complimenting it heavily, when it's obvious they all dislike it. Parodied when one of them is speaking English, but is still subtitled as having praised the car.
  • Gone Horribly Right: During Episode 3, in an attempt to get Richard Hammond off their backs, Clarkson persuades the group to take a detour into Vicenza and sends out a tweet publicizing Hammond's impending arrival. His intention is that Hammond's car will get mobbed by perhaps a few hundred fans, blocking him in place while Clarkson and May drive off. Instead, all three of them are swarmed by several thousand fans; it takes Clarkson and May quite some time to push their way through the crowd, while Hammond stays behind and doesn't catch up for over a day.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: In "Operation Desert Stumble", each time a presenter dies, the boys have to restart the course over again from the beginning. As they are not trained military personnel, they die. A lot.
    Clarkson: Is there anyone on God's green Earth less capable than- *May is shot* (Repeat ad nauseum)
  • Happy Dance: James likes to do these. He dances after the presenters finally find a road in Namibia, and he briefly engages in one after he beats Hammond at Car Battleships.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: During the Namibia special, May decides to get revenge on Clarkson for the "dickshift" by mounting the Clarkson buggy's front spoiler on comically high struts. While he's busy rigging it up, however, sparks from his angle grinder ignite the dry ground and start a fire... under the front of May's own buggy. Which he has apparently forgotten has a hole in the petrol tank. By the time he's put it out, the entire front end of the buggy is burnt and blackened to a crisp. Fortunately it's rear-engined, otherwise the fire would have gutted his car completely.
  • Hot Potato: Done with May's "dickshift" in the Namibia episode when he and Clarkson toss it back and forth into each other's buggies. In one particularly magnificent shot, May smacks Clarkson in the face with it.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In Episode 9, Hammond and May criticize Clarkson for having spent £14,000 of the show's budget building a car that was only valued at a fraction of that price. The last segment of the episode revolved around Hammond building increasingly elaborate armoured vehicles to deal with a post-apocalyptic scenario, only for Clarkson and May to blow them all up in increasingly spectacular ways (first a rocket launcher, then a Challenger tank, then a freaking Royal Navy battleship). The entire segment must have cost dozens, if not hundreds of times more than the £14,000 the Excellent cost.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: After being instructed to deal with the sniper, Clarkson first locates said gunman (who is kneeling atop a cliff) before countersniping him. With a handgun.
    Clarkson: YEEEES! What a shot! I'll never be able to do that again.
    Hammond (off-screen): Jeremy!! James has electrocuted himself.
    Clarkson: Oh, what a f--... *"time loop" restarts*
    • And, because the whole film takes on the form of a repeating "Groundhog Day" Loop (meaning that the sniper is in the exact same spot, like a videogame), Clarkson is able to do this again on the next loop. Without looking.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:
    • The first thing Hammond and May seek out after three frustrating and dangerous days in the Namibian desert? Beer.
    • The first thing acrophobic May seeks out after traversing high above a river on his "buggy cable car?" More beer.
  • Insistent Terminology: In the episode "Art, Opera, and Donuts", Clarkson is driving a dark orange car. Hammond and May insist at every opportunity that it is actually brown. This gag has continued on their Twitter accounts long after the episode aired.
  • Irony: Hammond attempts to demonstrate how well an air cannon will work launching cars for Car Battleships. The first thing that Hammond successfully blows up is the Health & Safety van.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: In Episode 2, oh so many lines. Listing them all would take all day!
    Clarkson: James just shot the Queen in the back of the head!
    Hammond: Well, now what're we gonna do?!
  • Laser-Guided Karma: When James attempts to sabotage the front of Jeremy's buggy with a saw in the Nambia Special, sparks fly out and cause the front of James' own buggy to catch fire.
  • Key Under the Doormat: After May fails to hotwire a truck the presenters are trying to use to escape, Hammond lampshades this by asking May if he has "not seen every movie ever made" before retrieving the truck's key from the sun visor.
  • Knife Fight: In Episode 2. "Let's dance!"
    • Though this becomes Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight after Hammond loses. Once the next loop gets to his fight on the wing of the plane, he simply draws his rifle and shoots the terrorist point-blank.
  • Leave No Witnesses: While most of the occupants of the airliner containing their VIP hostage in Episode 2 were mannequins, James ensures that their departure is at least unseen.
    Clarkson: Are all the terrorists dead back there?
    May: Everybody's dead back there.
    Clarkson: Good man!
  • Misplaced Nationalism:
    • In the first episode, the presenters chide the American audience by saying the British RAF is the best air force in the world, which results in series of choppy edits where the audience turns on them, alternately beating the presenters up and making them cower behind their upturned desk in fear.
    • It happens again after Brian Johnson is trampled by a group of football players after a Celebrity Brain Crash segment. The presenters argue with the Nashville audience over the sport the majority of the world calls "football" (as in soccer vs. American Football) and again a set of choppy edits ensues, ending with a bloodied-up James May getting attended to by a make-up artist.
  • National Geographic Nudity: Found in the Namibia episode. A group of local ladies dance while Hammond tries to fix his car nearby; he tries to be polite and acknowledge the dancing while being gentlemanly by not openly staring.
  • Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: Hammond notes the SAS (British special forces) soldiers who run through the course first in 'Operation Desert Stumble' to show the presenters how it's done were using real weapons. Clarkson insists they did not and takes a nearby assault rifle and shoots it at an old Mercedes 280SL. The rifle has live rounds and he succeeds in blowing out the car's tires and windows. And as Clarkson is a lefty and the shell casings eject from the right side of the weapon, some of the hot casings hit him, cutting into and bloodying up his right arm.
  • Overly Long Name: Opposed to the Top Gear test track in Surrey, with turns nicknamed "Chicago", "Hammerhead", "Gambon", etc, the Grand Tour test track in Swindon, the "Eboladrome", has some absurd names based partly on the scenery, including the "Isn't Straight", "Old Lady's House", and the meant-for-advertisers "Your Name Here", along with "Field Of Sheep" and "Substation".
  • Pop-Up Trivia: Turning on Amazon's "X-Ray Vision" feature reveals more info about the cars, music, filming, Britishisms, obscure references, and the occasional snarky comment.
  • Product Placement:
    • The tight turn at the head of the 'Eboladrome' track is nicknamed 'Your Name Here', with the idea it will be adorned with banners from advertisers, who will get their money's worth when cars are shot in slow-motion as they drift through the turn. Early episodes show no takers, as the turn only has simple, white banners with 'Your Name Here' on the fencing. However, in episode 4, the turn finally got its first sponsor, Swindon Springs, which Clarkson promptly misreads as "Swindon Swings."
    • DHL is a show sponsor: banners are placed in other parts of the track, and DHL trucks show up occasionally on the show. There is also footage on Twitter of the three presenters having a contest to assemble a standard DHL box the fastest. Clarkson, naturally, goes for his All-Solving Hammer.
    • There are also ads supporting the Science Museum at Wroughton, who own the airfield the track is on.
  • Purple Prose: Richard always segues into Conversation Street with overly-flowery language.
  • A Rare Sentence: From events in the Namibia episode, Hammond comes up with an odd news snippet: "James May died in an exploding beach buggy holding a rubber penis."
    • Also lampshaded by Clarkson when he notes: "This is something that nobody has ever said before, but Namibia is a beautiful bastard of a country."
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: In the first episode, Clarkson makes a Side Bet with Hammond and May before the timed laps of the hypercars begin: that if the P1 loses Hammond & May can come and knock his house down. When the segment returns to the studio (err, tent) for the times to be revealed, while the presenters feign to the audience that they don't know the times, and Hammond & May squeal with glee when Clarkson winds up losing the bet, the fact is Clarkson had actually already done it two weeks before the audience segment for the episode was taped in Los Angeles, so the bet was really just a set-up to use the house's demolition for a segment that takes place in the third episode of the show.
  • Recycled Premise:
    • Chris Harris, for an episode of his Internet series Chris Harris on Cars, took the same three 'Holy Trinity' cars out for timed laps at Portimao as well, beating The Grand Tour to the Internet by a few months.
      • Harris' results had the P1 beating the Porsche by .41 seconds, and the LaFerrari (which came 2nd in The Grand Tour shootout) coming in last, losing to the P1 by .68 seconds.
      • Harris used the same make of tires just as The Grand Tour did, so the difference in finish could be more on the driver or road conditions than the car's performance. It's also interesting to note that Harris' times were all faster than D'Ambrosio's times - by between .4 and 1.25 seconds!.
      • And like Clarkson noted towards the end of the shootout episode, When Harris used the P1 with its stock Pirelli Trofeo R tires, it made it even faster, with Harris shaving another 1.79 seconds off his laptime.
      • Ironically, six months later, Harris became a presenter for Top Gear when the show was rebooted with Chris Evans and Matt LaBlanc. Seven episodes of Chris Harris On Cars (including the Trinity shootout) were later broadcast on BBC America in the Summer of 2016.
    • It would appear the cars were available for multiple members of the press to play with for a time, because MotorTrend magazine also did a test at Portimao, but only between the P1 and the 918. Like it did on The Grand Tour, the Porsche came out on top. Going by the number plates, they do seem to be same two cars Harris and The Grand Tour both used.
  • Running Gag:
    • The "Conversation Street" intros, showing the three presenters in silhouette while they converse, changes every episode. There's usually a gag or clearly something out of place.
    • 'Celebrity Brain Crash' sets itself up to be an audience interview segment but so far the celebrities end up dead or killed. It also ends with the exchange:
    James: ...Does that mean (s)he's not coming on, then?
    Richard: Well, James, [graphic description of what just happened], so that would be a "no"!
    • Several episodes feature two of the presenters wanting to compare a pair of cars for a particular purpose and going to some exotic location to do so, only for the third presenter to butt in with his own car.
  • Series Continuity Error: In Episode 5, watch closely during Hammond's lap. As he drives into the Egyptian temple, his Mazda has a big unexplained dent in the side and is missing a side skirt. When it comes out the other side, it's fine again, and remains fine until the end of the lap, when he sideswipes a statue. Cue dent and missing side skirt. In other words, footage of Hammond's "one lap" was actually stitched together from multiple attempts. [[note]]As it was on the previous show, footage occasionally has to be re-shot after races, but the results themselves are genuine.
  • Shovel Strike: During the "Groundhog Day" Loop that forms the main feature of the second episode, when Clarkson gets stuck in the window and... ahem, locates the terrorists, he pleads for his co-stars to "kill" him. In the end, Hammond bludgeons him with a shovel.
  • Side Bet: For the 'Holy Trinity' shootout, Clarkson makes an arguably bigger bet than changing his name to "Jennifer" this time - he bets Hammond and May that if the P1 loses, they can come around and knock his house down. In the end, Hammond's Porsche wins the shootout, beating May's Ferrari by only .2 seconds, but beats the P1 by 1.3 seconds. note 
  • Simulated Urban Combat Area: Used in the mission in "Operation Desert Stumble": it is a special forces training area located in Jordan.
  • Small Reference Pools: Because they travel from place to place, the show likes to slip in references for their local audience to keep them amused. Some of them get explained for the global audience, such as the South African prime minister's "counting" skills. Others don't, which has gotten the show into trouble; during the "Happy Finnish Christmas" episode, Hammond made strange jokes about not eating ice cream because he wasn't gay, and was taken to task by the British and American press by it. It turns out he was referencing a well-known ad in Finland about two men starting a gay relationship over ice cream.
  • The Snack Is More Interesting: During the second episode, "Operation Desert Stumble," James is sent down a hill into an highly exposed area to steal a car; The car is being watched by a sniper and May constantly keeps getting shot, forcing the group to restart the entire mission over and over again. After his fifth attempt, Richard and Jeremy start bringing baskets full of goodies from the high-end boutique store Fortnum & Mason to munch on while waiting for May; However, they never get to enjoy them, because no matter how fast they try to prepare their food, James always gets shot just as they are about to eat and they have to leave to begin again.
    • This could also be seen as a Call-Back — May brought food from F&M when he and Clarkson drove a Toyota Hilux to the North Pole on their previous show.
  • Start My Own: When Clarkson was let go by the BBC, Hammond & May choose to leave Top Gear also. The show's executive producer (and Clarkson's childhood friend) Andy Wilman decided to move on too, and so the four started their own production company, W. Chump and Sons, which led to them creating their own car show with Amazon.
    • The four also created a new online car enthusiast community called DriveTribe , along with further investments from former EMI exec Ernesto Schmitt and 20th Century Fox.
  • Take That!: Some digs to (and from) the BBC, after the presenters had left Top Gear:
    • Clarkson's Fire Stick ad, as he browses through the different content channels:
      Clarkson "... Demand5, Netflix, [advancing to BBC iPlayer] ... that...
    • James May, during the first episode of the second series of his show Cars Of The People:
      May: [concerning getting rid of the Morris Minor] "But actually, would we really notice? Would it in fact give us a chance to move on? It might be a little bit as if a very popular and well-liked television programme suddenly came to an end. Everybody would think it was a disaster. But after a while, they'd get over it."
    • Clarkson, after being let go from Top Gear, was the guest host of the 50th season premiere of the BBC series Have I Got News for You in October, 2015, and took a fair amount or ribbing - especially from guest contestant Richard Osman. note 
    • The first episode begins with Clarkson walking out of a generic replacement for BBC Television Centre, turning in his badge and then walking away in the rain, for the weather to clear up as he arrives in America for his new start.
    • When they introduce each other in the first episode, they list off the various times they were fired from various jobs, but, when they get to Clarkson, Hammond admits he technically has never been fired from anything. note 
    • In the Christmas Special, when Hammond is driving around London in the new, right-hand drive Mustang and gets to the Cenotaph, he explains that the monument is "...where we remember who died for us." Then he continues: "Slowing down a bit here... show some respect" - a jab at Top Gear alluding to when, during the filming for Series 23, Matt LeBlanc and rally-car driver Ken Block did donuts in front of the memorial, which angered the UK press. Host Chris Evans later apologized for the stunt and the footage eventually wasn't used in the completed segment.
    • During Episode 10, "Dumb Fight at the OK Coral", taped in Nashville, as they argue about the Nashville vs. Detroit music scenes, when Clarkson begin to rattle off influential Southern groups, and Clarkson says, 'The Allman Brothers', Hammond responds, 'Never heard of them.' Clarkson then doubles-down:
    Clarkson: "... they had that one hit... instrumental... what was it called? Jeb... Jennifer! You never hear it anymore —"
    May: "Oh, I hated that"
    Clarkson: "You never hear it anymore, do you?"
    May: "No... rubbish."
    Hammond: "Weirdest thing, weirdest thing." note 
  • Tie-In Novel: The Grand Tour Guide to The World, published in October, 2017, featuring abundant snark from the presenters, along with behind-the-scenes photos of the filming of the first season, along with a preview of the second, reminiscent of the Big Book Of Top Gear books that the BBC used to publish annually.
    "...Some of this book is factual, but most of it isn't. Many of the observations are incorrect and the advice idiotic."
  • Too Much Information: Clarkson and Hammond mock the concept of cars being gender-specific and Clarkson states that the only relevant gender-specific concepts are bicycles and underwear. Hammond pipes up with "sometimes" after the second example before looking abashed.
  • Twitchy Eye: May develops one in the third episode whenever Hammond or his obnoxiously loud Dodge Hellcat is near.
  • Unusual Euphemism: During a discussion on marketing cars specifically for men or women, May refers to women as having a "magic triangle."
  • Voodoo Doll: Hammond finds one with May's face on it while the two are tearing down Clarkson's house. It's not the most disturbing thing they find, though.
  • Wacky Racing: The "Environ-Mental" episode has the presenters build ecologically-sustainable car bodies, and then race them against some normal cars. Hammond's car is made of plant materials, Clarkson's car uses dead animal parts and slabs of meat, and May, after unsuccessfully using mud and then bricks, succeeds with a body made of a combination of hay and dung. However, it keeps him from seeing properly (adding to his already infamous No Sense of Direction), and so heavy he only completes a single lap. Then Clarkson's car develops a problem with maggots. The regular cars obviously thrash the presenters, with the race ultimately ending when the last car standing, Hammond's, catches on fire.
  • Your Head A-Splode: May's head in the Conversation Street intro for episode 13, much to Clarkson and Hammond's surprise.


"What could possibly go wrong?"
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