​Lochdown: failed to flatten the curve


8w ago

Considering the fact that a Massive Hunt was released almost 8 months ago, I was very hyped for Lochdown. The trailer looked very promising but watching it, I concluded that it doesn't live up to the expectations. This has various reasons, but one quite important part is the new way of making The Grand Tour

W​hat's wrong with that?

It's an easy conclusion to come to, season one was revealed in 2016/2017, season 2 in 2017/2018 and season 3 in 2018/2019. All these seasons contained on average 12 episodes of around 1 hour. Season 4 (I won't count episode 1 due to some sort of pandemic) has 2 episodes that are 8 months apart. This is due to the simple fact that a "special" requires way more time to prepare and shoot. Even if the end of the pandemic will make travelling easier, I expect making an episode to take 4 months. This will result in season 4 being finished in Juli 2025. This won't be a problem if the watching time of 1 episode also would be longer. In this fictive situation, one year will bring us 3 episodes, in other words, 4,5 hours, while an "old-fashioned" year would give us 12 hours of watching time.

Simply said, a TGT special should be, like in the old situation, a double episode; 2 to 2,5 hours. The average season 4 time is 1,5 hours, the International Buffoons' Vacation is 1 hour and 21 minutes, almost as long as a new special. Another thing is that we used to get 1 episode a week, for 12 weeks long, if you'd be thrifty and watch one every 2 weeks, you'd have 24 weeks or about half a year. Now, you have 1,5 hours for one time because you're too excited.

O​kay, but what's wrong with Lochdown

I​n the first place, it screams "MONEY". The cars they're buying are in quite a good shape, they literally use castles to sleep in (at least they say). It's not like other specials where they'd been given some money to buy a car and it'd be a shitbox and then they'd sleep in either a tent or a cheap motel. I missed the sense of adventure, the sense of travel, the sense of everything going wrong. And here too, the MONEY screaming is working against them, apart from filling James' caravan with water and putting some people on it, they didn't really "modify" the cars of the others to annoy them. I missed the cutting out the bonnet, destroying the air conditioning and lifting up James in a tent. Right, a massive hunt didn't have that either, but that at least had a sense of exploration, adventure and ridiculously modifying their cars for something they aren't made for. This was, well a walk in the park for their cars. Except for Hammonds car boiling over on occasion it all went perfectly well until the modifying.

W​hat it could've been

"​Here have 3000 pounds, get yourself an old American car and drive from the most southern part of the UK to the most northern part, without using a motorway." That already sounds more adventurous than comfortably driving around in some nice old American coupes in Scotland. And sleeping? Well have this caravan, or you'll sleep in a tent or you modify your car. Not in a bloody CASTLE, admit that really sounds ridiculous. The episode would take 2,5 hours, and they'd have more challenges than now, they'd mess around with the cars of the others and have problems on the way.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed Lochdown, I laughed of James May being flooded away, caravans being destroyed and the boys being en Edingbrough. But, it's not what I'd want from a special, adventure, things going wrong and challenges. I've spent hours and hours rewatching old episodes and specials of TGT and TG, but Seamen wasn't one of them. And I doubt Lochdown will be one of them while waiting for episode 4 somewhere in 2022.

T​hank you so much for reading and put your thoughts in the comment.

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Comments (52)

  • You make some good points there, but I kinda disagree. The lesser episodes in a year I think is because they’re starting to retire a bit (mainly Clarkson). I think there is also the issue that Scotland isn’t unusual for them, the strangest they could do was find one of many forestry tracks (which is fine, they were limited in what they could do). You are right about a tighter budget and modifying cars (I also think Massive Hunt got that wrong, because it was clear in older specials that the modifying was kinda done with bits found in the local area (with some exceptions). In Massive Hunt Bentley put a significant amount of work into getting the MFB built, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same had happened with the other two). Basically I think this was a good special, and considering the limitations that’s kinda amazing

      1 month ago
    • Well yes, considering the limitations of the lockdown and travelling it was great

      But it just didn't give a vibe of a special, just 3 middle aged dudes driving 3 cars without a lot of problems

      It'd already be much better if they'd drove...

      Read more
        1 month ago
    • And yeah, Clarkson is getting old

      But then the solution would be make the episodes a bit longer, 1.5 hour is a bit ...poor Most TG/TGT specials took 2 episodes to broadcast, about 2 hours

      So I don't get why these can't be 2-2,5 hours

        1 month ago
  • I quite enjoyed it but I understand if you are underwhelmed. They have once mentioned the idea of an episode where they buy each other cars for the challenge. Now that would be very fun to see.

      1 month ago
  • Damnnnn it why did you write this when I was gonna go off on the whole episodeeee.

    Jk im still gonna lmao.

    So true though, this format is tired and not working for me.

      1 month ago
  • The castle thing was exciting, the sleeping in a tent or a caravan seems to be getting quite boring, especially since they have similar arrangements in so many Grand Tour/Top Gear episode. Yes they could have made the castle filming more fun, but it could either make the dude who lent it to the crew pissed off, or would probably have broken the castle. They could have Rapunzel'd James May in the castle tower but I'm not really sure how the owner would have reacted. Yes , I agree everything seemed a little more planned than usual and nothing was outrageous or breaking down bad, but this was good enough.

      1 month ago
    • hmm they just turned up in an castle and filmed some of the insides, nothing special if you'd ask me

      I think they'd either had to figure out something more exciting, something interesting, or leave the sleeping place aside completely

        1 month ago
  • Back on old Top Gear times Jeremy and James did a two parter called the ultimate roadtrip where they drove in various vehicles from Northern Italy to Southern France. They showcased a bunch of different vehicles in it. I think that format would have been better for Lochdown but in a tour of Scotland instead.

      1 month ago
    • oooh yes

      wasn't it Jeremy and Richard

      or was that part 2?

        1 month ago
    • It may had been Jeremy and Richard, this one makes more sense as the one that wasn't Jeremy was riding on a superbike at one point, I know one of them was missing. It was a straight to DVD type special.

        1 month ago