As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently succumbed to the never-ending parade of pop-ups and prompts and took out an Amazon Prime membership. It was the week before Amazon released the first episode of their latest original online streaming television production The Grand Tour, and while that hadn’t been one of the factors that make me sign up in the first place, it was certainly one of those ‘value added extras’ that I was keen on looking at now that I had access.
Sometime in the future – if it’s not happening as we speak – someone will write a lengthy treatise into the Great Top Gear Schism and what it tells us about the media industry. You’ll recall that the show’s already-controversial presenter Jeremy Clarkson parted company with the BBC’s motoring show early in 2015 after a heated altercation with one of the production team, taking with him his co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May and the show’s producer Andy Wilman to start a new show called The Grand Tour, which is funded by the deep pockets of the world’s largest online retailer.
This split meant that the BBC retained all the rights to Top Gear – the internationally famous brand, the programme format that included the ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’ and masked test driver The Stig – and all they had to do was find a new set of presenters to keep the show on the road. Clarkson and his team on the other hand had to start again from scratch and produce some sort of show that bore no (legally defined) similarity to Top Gear whatsoever if they were to prevent the lawsuits from flying in. It’s no wonder that when the first new shows of the two respective post-Schism series aired, one was rolling in verve, confidence and exuberance while the other was floundering and fumbling around, staggering like a new born foal trying to find its footing. Read the rest of this entry »