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Series / The Great Escapists

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The Great Escapists is a British adventure-drama series on Prime Video series starring Richard Hammond and Tory Belleci. It was released on January 29, 2021.

Richard and Tory find themselves stranded on a deserted island after a shipwreck. They scrounge together supplies and equipment not just to survive, but to create a tropical playground while trying not to kill each other until rescue arrives.

Unlike Richard and Tory's previous projects, this series makes no pretense about being a factual program and features the two acting out scripted sequences.

This series provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: When Richard and Tory go to war, Richard opts to use a cannon that fires pineapples while Tory creates a vortex cannon that fires vaporized chili oil.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Richard and Tory frequently make references to different projects (for Richard, The Grand Tour and documentary series, for Tory, MythBusters) without actually naming them directly, although Tory does name MythBusters as something he would be famous for to his interrogators.
    • When Tory teases Richard about turning a life jacket into a crash helmet, Richard makes a cryptic and humorous reference to the drag racer accident that nearly killed him and the Rimac crash which broke his leg, citing that he and safety have history.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Tory shows how yucca can be used to create a battery. It's an amazing setup, but requires an enormous amount of yucca (that they need for food) and only provides a small charge.
  • Blatant Lies: Richard claims to know nothing about boats and sailing only to launch into knowledgeable explanations of how sails and paddle wheels work and creating a chart accurate enough for navigation.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Richard more or less cracks while on the island. He treats the experience like an extended holiday and starts filming his own TV shows so he can have something to watch when he gets bored.
  • Companion Cube: Richard finds a ratty old football that he starts talking to and dubs "Clarkson" because it's old, leathery, peeling, and out of shape.
  • Framing Device: The events on the island are presented as Richard and Tory telling their stories to a pair of interrogators.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Richard and Tory create some exceptional machinery out of the things they find, including a screw tank and a working gyrocopter.
  • Genre Mashup: The show is part sitcom, part survival show, part science show, and even part motor show all framed using the interrogation element of a cop show.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: To preserve the explanatory nature of the shows they're best known for Richard and Tory engage in extended sequences where they explain what they're doing to each other. Richard also eventually cracks and starts producing shows for Hammond Land TV using his phone.
  • Minimalist Cast: Only four actors/characters appear in this series; besides Hammond and Belleci playing fictionalised versions of themselves, Joseph Balderrama and Silvana Montoya play two South American police officers who interrogate the men.
  • Oh, Crap!: The two come across their boat and joyfully run to it, thinking they can float it off the island when the tide comes in. Then they go around the side and see that it's been cracked in half.
  • Separated by a Common Language: Richard and Tory bicker over the differences between British and American English.
    Richard: Here it is! This is the chassis of my car.
    Tory: You mean the frame?
  • Take That!: Richard gets in a jab at his close friend and colleague when he finds a worn-out football in the wreckage of his boat.
    Richard: Oh, look at you! Old, leathery, peeling, and out of shape. I shall call you, "Clarkson"! You can be my friend.