The Grand Tour is back and it's cheekier than ever. Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond are heading out on their saltiest adventure yet - The Grand Tour presents: Seamen.
Season 4 of The Grand Tour will be a series of feature-length epic road trip specials and the first arrives before Christmas.
When is The Grand Tour presents: Seamen released?
The Grand Tour presents: Seamen is out now on Amazon Prime Video.
Watch the first-look trailer for the special above.
Where was The Grand Tour Seamen filmed?
This is an epic 'road trip' journey across Vietnam and Cambodia, with one slight difference. There are no cars or roads, only boats.
Their adventure-packed voyage takes them along one of the world’s most iconic waterways - the Mekong Delta. Fans can expect elements of their previous classic road trips, with the trio choosing their boats in the usual way they choose their cars, with their own off-the-wall rationale, putting their own spin on their individual vessels... as well as each other's.
This adventure across waters will see the presenters captaining three very different types of vessels. Clarkson’s ride is a recreation of a Vietnam war-era PBR (Patrol Boat River), the famed military vessel seen in Apocalypse Now.
Hammond channels his inner Don Johnson by opting for a Miami Vice style speedboat, and May lives out his canal holiday fantasy dream with a classic 1939 wooden river cruiser. Their aquatic road trip involves an 800km journey that starts on the perilous Tonlé Sap Lake, and weaves its way via a series of adventures and calamities down through the Mekong Delta. To cap it all off, the climax of the film is one of the most dangerous and exciting challenges Clarkson, Hammond and May have ever endured.
Seasons 1-3 of The Grand Tour are streaming now on Prime Video.
Clarkson, Hammond and May have their say...
Any Grand Tour fans who fear the show may be different now they've abandoned the tent and taken to the seas, need not worry.
"We’ve taken leaps of faith before in terms of location but apart from one special on mopeds, we've never really strayed away from cars," said May.
"We’ve certainly never strayed away from roads. But it’s still a slightly implausible challenge with a twist and the odds are still against us. It’s just a different form of transport. And in fact, it’s not often that we get three cars that are as different from each other as those boats were. All The Grand Tour elements are in place, it’s just boats rather than cars. For quite a long time we've strayed away from being strictly a car show anyway. We're sort of a sitcom / circus / observation about modern life, using cars as medium."
Speaking about his memories of the region, May said: "It’s a very hospitable, upbeat part of the world. In that kind of country they end up helping each other out. Especially on the water which is so important to them for their lives and their livelihoods. If you're a foreigner and you're being an idiot in a 1939 boat, they’ll think, 'Yes but he’s in trouble so we'll still get stuck in and help him'.
"I got a bit of net caught in the prop quite badly and a local fisherman had the same problem so I went to help him and then he came to help me. I went around one side and he went around the other and we reached underneath and found each other's hands and it was all very sweet.
"After an hour or two we eventually got both our boats free. The language barrier was complete and utter, but I had this moment of fantastic camaraderie with another man in peril on the sea. I loved it. He is my brother forever now."
There was one big problem for Richard Hammon on this trip. Boats.
"I don’t like boats. They don’t stay where you parked them and the brakes don’t work very well," he said.
"Don’t forget that I am from Birmingham; we don’t do boats. So when I heard, my heart sank and I am no better a boat driver now than I was when we started."
One thing that wasn't a problem was the chemistry with his co-stars, despite their extended break.
"As soon as we three get on camera together it is like we have never been away, it is like a parallel world that we step into. It’s weirdly comforting although they’re bloody irritating," he said.
"There are always two of us picking on one of us. It’s evenly spread: I think one of us usually needs a good kicking and the other two are there and happy to deliver it."
Whose idea was the trip to Cambodia and Vietnam? It turns out that it came from Clarkson.
"The truth is I had already decided we should go there entirely due to a photograph I saw on an Amazon Fire TV screen saver," he revealed.
"The place on the screen saver turned out to be the Mekong Delta but the idea I had, which was to re-conquer the Spratly Islands, simply wasn’t going to be possible because we would have been killed by the Chinese. It turns out the Chinese get very shoot-y when you turn up in the Spratly Islands so we decided we didn’t really want to be shot.
"Then I went to Vietnam and Cambodia for three months and I suddenly had a new idea, and it all worked out. Except, it wasn’t quite as I’d planned because of the weather."
Speaking about his change of heart on climate change in the film, he added: "It is not often we hear you talking about climate change in a serious manner...
"It is the first time I have ever addressed it on television but it is very difficult not to, when you are standing by a river that should be full and is completely empty. You can’t stand there and say ‘Oh this is all poppycock’. It just wasn’t raining. We were there four days before filming started and the sun never went in. It was permanently hot and sunny and it shouldn’t have been. I had been there three months earlier in the year and the windy season was all wrong as well."
What happened to The Grand Tour tent?
Jeremy Clarkson broke down in tears as The Grand Tour season 3 concluded, sharing his sadness that the show would no longer have a studio audience element and will look very different in the future.
The Grand Tour Tent will be no more and future episodes of the motoring show will be in the format of epic road trip adventure specials.
The final episode of series three included a nostalgic and emotional film about the Ford saloon which Clarkson has said he put his "heart and soul into writing”. It is available to watch today on Prime Video now.
Speaking to the studio audience at the end of the episode, Clarkson said: "We have some good news, we’re not stopping."
Richard Hammond added: "We can’t, we’d have to get jobs!"
Jeremy continued: "The show as you know it is ending…the audience…the track, but, who would like to see us doing more big adventures…road trips… specials?"
Richard Hammond added: "There is still so much of the world we haven’t been to."
Jeremy said: "So many people I haven’t insulted!"
James May joked: "So many cars Richard hasn’t crashed!"
Jeremy continued: "So although the tent has gone, The Grand Tour goes on."
Richard joked: "We are going to need walking sticks and nappies."
Jeremy Clarkson: "So whilst it’s not goodbye from us, it is good bye from the tent… anyone want to buy a tent?"
First pictures from season 4
Clarkson confirmed that filming was underway for the next batch of episodes in June, posting on Instagram: "Back in the saddle".
In a possible dig at the new series of Top Gear with Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harry, Clarkson posted another image of the Grand Tour team getting on their bikes.
"You’ve seen the tribute band. Now it’s time for the real thing," he wrote.
In a mode of transport that was probably more to Clarkson's tastes, the trio have also been pictured in a helicopter together.
It looks like one of the new episodes will feature a cycling challenge for Clarkson, Hammond and May, which will probably have got the trio heated, grumbling and moaning.
"Not the easiest shoot, but it's just about done," said Clarkson. "You'll be surprised."
Where are the specials being filmed?
The presenters start filming in June and pre-production has already begun on the episodes.
Clarkson revealed in an interview with The Sun that they will be filming in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.
In his column for The Sun, Clarkson said that the episode in Vietnam and Cambodia nearly ended in disaster. Howeve
"It's about the only time health and safety has made the correct decision," said Clarkson, explaining that they abandoned filming shortly before a monsoon hit the area.
"I, of course, was fine, but May had to abandon ship as crew boats were filling with water."
Talking about the incident to Drive Tribe, he added: "Not a mile away from where we were, some people were killed.
"As a result of the conditions, we simply couldn't complete [the ending]. But, because of the conditions, we have one hell of an ending. Yeah, it will be an astonishing show."
The second special has just wrapped filming in Madagascar
What other spinoff series can we expect?
Uncharacteristically, James May is first off the mark with his own spinoff series on Prime Video – Our Man in Japan.
Fifteen years after James May first visited Japan as a baffled tourist, he embarks on a quest to understand the unique, extraordinary and complex country. The birthplace of the haiku and classical art forms driven by the principles of Wabi (stark beauty) and Sabi (natural inspiration) and Yugen (grace and subtlety), Japan is also the place that’s given us Godzilla, Hello Kitty, Cosplay, and some of the strangest obsessions on the planet.
James will embark on an epic journey across all of Japan from North to South, determined to understand why this unique land and its people are the way they are, what drives their whole culture and what their approach to life can teach the rest of us. James can’t speak the language, he is clueless about Japanese etiquette, but at least he knows there’s a small tree called a banzai.
Richard Hammond was the second presenter to confirm their own spinoff series, which will see him teaming up with Mythbusters star Tory Belleci.
The epic six-part series will feature Hammond and Belleci shipwrecked in mysterious circumstances, stranded on a remote yet beautiful desert island.
Rather than sitting around waiting to be rescued, the pair decide to take matters into their own hands as they use all of their engineering and expert scientific prowess not only to survive, but to construct an out-of-this-world, paradise island playground.
The series follows Richard and Tory as they masterfully construct their exotic wonderland using what they have from the shipwreck and what they can find on the island. Each episode will see them take on huge feats of engineering to achieve epic builds in what will be a once in a lifetime operation for the two lovers of science, engineering and making the impossible, possible. The duo’s hare-brained builds will range from island hopping vehicles to a supersized hydro-power waterwheel.
Richard and Tory will be teaming-up for the first time, bringing their daredevil antics and engineering A-games to this pop-science series.
“Somebody needs to take hold of Popular Science as a genre and reinvent it for a new age. And there are only two people to do that job. Unfortunately neither of them are available so it’s me and Tory Belleci,” said Richard Hammond.
Tory Belleci said: "I'm so excited to be working with Richard for the first time. This is gonna get crazy!"
Meanwhile, Jeremy Clarkson has revealed that he is working a series following his adventures as a farmer - with the working title, I Bought A Farm.
Filmed over the course of the farming year, the series will show Clarkson like you’ve never seen him before. Beginning in Autumn 2019, the series will observe the highs and lows of what Jeremy hopes will be a rural idyll but could just as easily become a rustic nightmare.
"Jeremy is one of Britain's finest exports and I think I speak for the entire nation when I say I can’t wait to see what will happen when he turns his usually petrol-covered hands to life on a working farm,” said Georgia Brown, Director of European Amazon Original Series.
"We’re excited to bring this latest UK produced Amazon Original series to Prime Video viewers around the world next year. Wishing you lots of luck Jeremy... what could possibly go wrong?"
The Grand Tour is available on Prime Video now
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