Those expecting Amazon’s new motoring show to be exactly like Top Gear may be disappointed. The show’s lead presenter, Jeremy Clarkson, said to expect it to be brand-spanking new.
The former Top Gear host – who never saw his contract renewed after a punch-up with a producer – offered an insight into just what to expect. Speaking in his motoring column for The Sunday Times, Clarkson said:
“All of the previous ingredients – the Stig, the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car and the Cool Wall – belonged to the BBC, so we’d have to start from scratch.”
The multi-millionaire journalist and presenter said the new home “forced us to get creative” and that it made them do “what we’d never dared to do in the past: to change what we knew worked”.
He added: “It’s going to be all new. New name. New segments. New ideas. Everything is different.
“Apart from James May, obviously, who is still in 1953. And Richard Hammond, who still doesn’t quite understand anything. And me, who thinks everything can be solved with a hammer.”
The column also revealed that Clarkson considered quitting after the ‘fracas’ that lead to the death of the BBC Top Gear show as we know it.
“When the BBC bigwig Alan Yentob called back in April to say my contract would not be renewed as a result of the ‘fracas’, I really didn’t know what I was going to do. A large part of me considered the appealing option of ‘nothing at all’. A smaller part thought I should change tack and do a programme on farming.”
In the end Clarkson decided to press on with co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond and former executive producer Andy Wilman for the Amazon Prime show, but it was never a sure thing.
“I had no idea what James and Richard were planning. When we spoke, they made supportive noises, but unlike the US marines the three of us have always operated under the rule that we do leave a man behind,” the presenter said.
“Put simply, they had themselves to look after and the BBC was making all sorts of coo-coo noises while dribbling warm honey into their heads.”
Amazon is said to have paid £160 million for 36 episodes of Clarkson’s motoring show over three years, with the first series arriving in 2016. Clarkson is expected to take home £10 million a year for his troubles.
Rumours circulating the new show would be called Gear Knobs were shot down after Clarkson took to twitter to say that would not be the case.
The first pictures from the show emerged on Twitter when Clarkson tweeted a picture of himself, Hammond and May standing in front of a McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari and a Porsche 918 Spyder at the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal. Not so different, after all.