The Grand Tour: Jeremy Clarkson show confronts climate change

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Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are heading off the road and into the water for their latest special – The Grand Tour presents Seamen.

The trio are seen sailing along the Mekong river and through the treacherous conditions of monsoon season in Vietnam and Cambodia in the 90-minute film.

As you can imagine, the first obstacle at the show’s press launch is trying to get past the title.

“The Grand Tour presents Seamen,” repeats Clarkson with added emphasis. “Which, at our age, is quite an achievement.”

The switch from seatbelts to sails is just one of several changes being made to The Grand Tour’s format this time around. Here are seven other things to expect.

1. The live studio audience has gone

Having completed an initial three-season deal with Amazon, the trio is returning with a set of standalone adventure specials instead of a traditional series – Seamen being the first.

As a result, the show has done away with its huge travelling tent. Like Top Gear before it, The Grand Tour would weave various segments together with studio links which featured a live audience and celebrity guests.

“That had run its course,” Clarkson tells BBC News. “We’d done studios for 17 years, and reviewing cars and talking to somebody from Cash In The Attic about their first car we felt was perhaps something we didn’t need to do anymore.

“And then we could use the money we had spent on that on rather more elaborate plots.”

2. They’ve learned from Amazon’s streaming data

“The other thing,” executive producer Andy Wilman adds on the subject of studios, “is Amazon know to the nano-second what viewers like and don’t like.

“And it’s clear that, even though the other shows are popular, the specials rise above. So we thought ‘that fits where we want to go’.”

Clarkson makes clear that Amazon don’t interfere editorially with the show.

“But we can ask them, ‘did that work?’ And they’ll go ‘no’, because they can see how many people turn off when James May talks, and how many more people watch when I talk. So that’s very useful to us.”

3. Clarkson explicitly acknowledges climate change

The trio’s ringleader has previously had a blasé attitude to climate change and environmental campaigners dumped manure on his lawn in 2009 as part of a protest.

So perhaps the most startling thing about Seamen is hearing him acknowledge it directly.

“Climate change was very definitely rammed down our throats in Cambodia,” Clarkson says of filming this special, which sees the rivers considerably shallower than they should be.

“You can say that the Chinese have dammed the rivers and caused the problem, but it also wasn’t raining, and it should’ve been bucketing down all the time. And all the fisherman say ‘the climate is changing’. So you can’t sit there and say, ‘there’s no such thing as climate change’.

“Now, if I wanted to, I could run around the world on carbon fibre yachts, shouting and yelling and wailing,” he adds – a clear reference to the actions of the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

“Or, you can just acknowledge it, and then behind the scenes start working on how we address this problem. But we don’t offer any solutions, we’re not scientists, only scientists can come up with solutions. Politicians can’t. Weird Swedes can’t. Only scientists can.

“We just go, ‘look, there’s hardly any water in this lake, look at all these poor starving fishermen. That’s the fact, now let’s get on with making the TV show’.”

source : bbc

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