The Secret Story Behind The Grand Tour's Celebrity Braincrash
Last year, I was lucky enough to attend a filming for the Grand Tour; I was in the audience of the studio segments of Season 2 Episode 3, the Christmas special, entitled Bah Humbug-atti, and if you pause it at precisely 10:28, you can see me jammed into the corner of the tent, clapping furiously at James's film.
Before filming began, the boys came out to say hello to the audience. Jeremy did most of the talking – swearing gratuitously throughout, of course. He reeled off all the usual crowd pleasers – Richard is short and has a stupid beard, James is old and has idiotic hair, etc. to which Hammond and May replied with ‘shut up, you fat ape’. All the usual.
Jeremy then went on to tell us how the disastrous and short-lived segment known as Celebrity Braincrash came to be. Ardent Grand Tour fans will remember a brief shot from Season 1 Episode 1, in which we got a glimpse of the actual Celebrity Braincrash console, which the celebrities would have played on, had they made it to the tent alive.
It turns out, the plan was that the celebrities would actually come into the tent and play the game, and there would be a leaderboard of their scores. It was nothing to do with concern about being sued by the BBC for using a celebrity leaderboard, as many outlets reported.
But then, about a week before filming the first episode, the boys realised that watching people playing the game were ‘boring as shit'. (Believe it or not, that’s a direct Clarkson quote.) They then panicked, thinking ‘oh fuck, what are we going to do?’ (Shockingly, that, too, is a direct quote from Jeremy.)
So, out of sheer panic, someone suggested that the celebrities could have comedy deaths before they ever made it to the studio. It would make for a fairly fun and original segment, and they could claim it was born out of legal concerns.
So there you go. A brief glimpse behind the elusive Grand Tour curtain. I think I speak for all fans when I say that as interesting as that story might be, we’re glad Celebrity Braincrash is over now.
‘Does that mean he’s not coming on then?’