The second series of The Grand Tour is nearly at an end, and we think the entire team deserve a pat on the back for creating ten amazingly solid episodes of what is arguably now the world’s best motoring show – and they’re not finished yet. That’s right, there’s just one Grand Tour episode left – and it’s a big one.
This week’s Mozambique mini-special will see Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May attempt to end world hunger with an incredible journey across the country – and who better to tell you about it all than Clarkson himself?
What was the mission in Mozambique?
“Mozambique was very simple, I was watching an Anthony Bourdain show – I like Bourdain, I think he is a top chap – and he was doing this thing about how Mozambique has a contrast between rich and poor. Well not rich and poor as such, but the people are well nourished if they live by the ocean and they are not so well nourished if they live inland. So, I thought inland is only 200 miles, it is nothing, it is one side of Los Angeles to the other or London to Leeds, why do they not just get the fish from the coast, I mean how hard can it be? As it turns out, really hard, unbelievably hard. It appealed to me because it is a story and I like stories. Television does not really work unless you have a story. I do not mean a journey like they have on the X Factor, but an actual story. I think Mozambique was one of the most successful things we have ever done actually.”
That sounds almost like it has a sort of a charitable zeal to it. Is this The Grand Tour as a force for good?
“Trying to be, because normally our challenges are pointless. Well, not pointless, but usually, ‘what is the fastest way of getting us this time from Central Park to the Niagara Falls?’ Or say for example, plenty of tourists, particularly think ‘what is the fastest way of getting to a ski resort or to the South of France, driving or flying’? If it is something people ask, then we will try and answer it in the most entertaining way we can think of. We have done that again but this time it had some meat to it because it is ‘well why can’t they get the fish from there to there?’”
Did you find that a particularly fulfilling adventure?
“You will see. It is us three, nothing is ever fulfilling but it is a good story, it is good.”
In the course of the series can you think of moments where you have had to stop because you were laughing too much?
“Yes, there are moments in the Mozambique film where I laughed so much, you know that dangerous laughter when you think if I do not breathe in I am actually going to suffocate to death – and it was laughing at James. That is one of the differences, we never laugh with one another, we laugh at one another and James made this terrible mistake with the design of his car. There were genuinely hilarious consequences which made us wet ourselves laughing.
Do you still get excited at the prospect of visiting these various locations?”
“I love it, there are certain parts of the world that I don’t care for and it is annoying when you go back to them, thinking ‘yeah I have been here before’. There has never been a time in my life where I have not landed in Nice or Johannesburg or actually in Los Angeles and not been excited. Even though I have been there loads and loads of times before, you get excited. When you land in a new place, I mean that little tiny airport in Mozambique, ‘I’ve never been, who knows what we will see and find here?’ It was all amazing.”
A lot of the entertainment comes from you three bickering. Do you ever find the other presenters genuinely annoying? Is there a specific thing about them that you would change if you could?
“What makes the show work is that we are all very different. We have no friends in common and certainly, we would never socialise with one another away from the show. But, I did once go to a James Blunt gig with James, that was the weirdest thing in the world but we did. Also, I once went to see Roger Daltrey and Wilko Johnson with Hammond but socially that is it really in all the years we have worked together and yet, even though we are all very different, it does work on TV. The reason it works is because we genuinely do manage to get on actually, despite the claims to the contrary over the years, we do get on very well when we are working together because we know each other so well now.”
“I mean yes James drives me mad with his pedantry because I am the opposite of a pedant. Anything will do, I do not care, I just do not care about anything and he cares about everything. Then you know, Hammond, well it is not his fault, it is because he cannot drive and he went upside down and damaged his brain. He has no capacity for remembering anything and some of it is because he is not interested in anything and some of it is because he has had brain damage. So, you can tell him something and then literally five seconds later it is gone out of his head. But that is not really entirely his fault, it does not really matter though because the three of us work very well as a unit on television and the reason is as I say because actually, we do get on very well when we are working together.”
Quite often in the challenges you set, you are in competition to see who will come out on top. Are there moments in the series where you feel like you prove your obvious superiority?
“Yes, I mean I am always the first, always fastest, always the best, obviously. I mean look! No, you do want to win, you always do want to win but the really good thing about us three is that we embrace failure. Almost everywhere else in the world of television there is jeopardy – will they catch the train, will the dog survive – and it always does and they always do. Whereas with us, the dog sometimes does not survive and sometimes we do miss the train – and that is what happens in real life. Will I get that promotion at work? No I have not. When they watch us three they see ‘well actually failure is alright, it does not matter that my life did not work out as well as I had hoped and I have ended up on a bicycle, it is fine.’ So we do not really mind losing, I think that is what it boils down to.”
The Grand Tour Mozambique Special ‘Feed the World’ will be available Friday 16th February 2018 on Amazon Prime Video.