Is a Post-Clarkson era 'The Grand Tour' feasible?
It might not have escaped your notice, that Mr. Clarkson, Mr. May and Mr. Hammond are not as young as they once were. This should not come as a surprise. It's a fact of life, that if you were a young motoring journalist in the mid-eighties - you're going to be an old motoring journalist by the time we hit 2020.
For completely redefining the entire 'car show' format with the 2001 version of Top Gear, Clarkson and co deserve our respect and admiration. The fact that these three ageing petrolheads are able to still put out the same format and for it still to be satisfying to watch in 2019 deserves something more akin to astonishment. Shows do NOT run this long! Okay, soap operas might be an exception. Isn't Neighbours still going? I'm sure that London based one full of cockney hard-men that Dirty Den used to be in is?
The problem is, the show has evolved into a sort of quasi-factual 'Last of the Summer Wine' that's loosely based around cars. The cars are all interesting and great, but we watch it because we find Clarkson, May and Hammond bickering and pranking each other amusing.
You'd think this would be a simple formula to copy. However it isn't. The BBC tried replacing it with Chris Evans shouting and pretending it's a car-themed episode of TFI Friday. That didn't work. Then they tried dropping Evans, putting Le Blanc at the helm and doing the same thing but with less shouting. That didn't work. However it WAS better! Now they've completely lost the plot, Le Blanc is calling it a day, Reid is being sacked and sent to Extra Gear and they've pulled in a Cricketer and some comedian who nobody's heard of. The 'nobody has heard of' bit might be a good thing. It's the 'comedian' rather than 'motoring journalist' that grates.
Time and time again, the BBC have failed to re-create Clarkson's success. Despite spending literally a fortune on trying.
The question is: Can 'The Grand Tour' survive after Clarkson, May and Hammond have retired? I was considering this when mulling over the news that they were dropping elements of the show. It feels like a bit of a wind-down. However I really don't want it to! Part of me thinks it can't continue after Clarkson, May and Hammond have retired. But then I thought to myself... 'Actually, there is one way it could work.' Here are my thoughts:-
Am I mad? Should they just let The Grand Tour die? Or should they hire James Cameron to do a life-like CGI animated version that could continue for decades after Clarkson, May and Hammond have left?