The Grand Tour: The best BBC and Top Gear digs in the first episode

'It’s very unlikely I’m going to be fired now because we’re on the internet'

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The Independent Culture

Throughout the first episode of The Grand Tour, there are numerous digs at the presenting trio’s previous show Top Gear and their ex-employers, the BBC.

Jeremy Clarkson, of course, left the show following an infamous ‘fracas’ with a producer, with Richard Hammond and James May following suit. 

In their new Amazon Prime motoring show, they decided not to shy away from joking about the situation; here are the best jokes at the expense of Top Gear and the BBC.

The show’s opening

The Grand Tour opens with Clarkson wearing a black coat, leaving a London building (that looks remarkably like the BBC offices) and handing over his pass to a security guard.

If the joke wasn’t obvious enough, upon entering a taxi a radio presenter is heard saying: “According to today’s headline, it seems that it is the end of the road for Jeremy Clarkson.”

‘Technically has never been fired’ 

After driving through the desert, the three presenters jump on a huge stage to address an adoring crowd of thousands. Clarkson opens things up by listing all the places May has been fired from, including a Volvo dealership. May lists all the places Hammond was let go from - Radio York, Radio Leeds, and Radio Lancashire. 

Finally, Hammond discusses Clarkson. “He’s basically a shaved ape in a shirt. And he is technically the only one of us never to be fired by anyone. It’s Jeremy Clarkson.”

The BBC wouldn’t allow that

Clarkson: “It’s very unlikely I’m going to be fired now because we’re on the internet. And that means I could pleasure a horse.”

‘Conversation Street’

In order to not get sued by the BBC, the show's formula has had to change somewhat. Now, discussion about the news has been titled ‘Conversation Street’, with a jazzy introduction. There’s also ‘Celebrity Brain Crash’ where they introduce celebrities to the show. 

“On other shows, you would normally introduce celebrities on a sparkly carpet, they would wave a bit, but not here,” says May, in an attempt to differentiate their new show from Top Gear.

Amazon launch trailer of The Grand Tour

The Stig v The America

Anyone who watched Chris Evans’s Top Gear will know The Stig remained over at the BBC, leaving The Grand Tour with no test driver. Instead, Clarkson decided to employ someone new, The American, an ex-NASCAR racer whose face we can see. That’s different enough from Top Gear, right?

Celebrities driving around a track would never work…

May: “It’s a shame really that we can’t take the track around the world with us, isn’t it?

Clarkson: “Because if we did, we could invite some celebrities to drive around it maybe and we could keep a scoresheet of who was the fastest.”

Hammond: “No, I don’t like it.” Clarkson: “I don’t think it would work.”

‘Your name here’

Of course, one of the best-known corners on the Top Gear track was Gambon corner, named after Michael Gambon who once completed the corner on two wheels.

Now, the most memorable corner is called ‘Your Name Here,’ which Clarkson offers to any sponsors wanting to pay for the corner to be named after them. Of course, the BBC would never allow sponsorship on their channel.

The first episode of The Grand Tour is now on Amazon, read our review here.

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