Five of the Best… Grand Tour episodes of all timeDec 8 | 3 min read
The Grand Tour Madagascar special A Massive Hunt: When is it released? What cars are they driving? Will there be a season 5?
Clarkson, Hammond and May are back on Amazon Prime Video with a new Grand Tour special, A Massive Hunt, which finds them searching for pirate treasure in Madagascar.
The Grand Tour returns this Christmas with a new special filmed in Madagascar, cheekily titled A Massive Hunt.
Following the adventures at sea in Cambodia and Vietnam in 2019, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond are back on dry land this year, but it doesn't look as though their new adventure is going to run any more smoothly.
Amazon Prime Video and Mr Wilman packed the presenters off for a wild challenge in Madagascar, which finds them navigating some of the worst roads in the world in the pursuit of pirate treasure.
Judging by the trailer, we can expect the usual mix of banter, impressive cars and painful accidents for Richard Hammond.
When is the Madagascar special released?
The Grand Tour presents: A Massive Hunt is available to watch now on Amazon Prime Video.
Following their perilous watery escapades in the Mekong, the intrepid trio find themselves back on four wheels for their latest adventure on the exotic islands of Reunion and Madagascar.
Armed with three sports cars, Richard, James and Jeremy believe they are in for a cushy road trip and fun escapades as they arrive in Reunion and race on the world’s most expensive piece of tarmac, a jaw dropping ring road built out in the sea.
But a bizarre challenge from Mr Wilman propels them across the ocean to Madagascar, where they must tackle the toughest road in the world, in some of the most extremely modded cars they have ever built, in order to complete one of their toughest quests to date. The whole gruelling adventure ends in an explosive climax, but will the trio find the missing treasure? You'll have to tune in to find out.
What cars are Clarkson, Hammond and May driving?
Jeremy Clarkson - Bentley Continental GT
"If you’re going to tackle the roughest road in the world in a jungle, you obviously need a Bentley Continental and so that’s what I took," said Clarkson.
"There was a deep, deep joy for me because I was incredibly comfortable in my Bentley and I could watch James May being phenomenally uncomfortable in a Caterham which improved my mood every day."
Richard Hammond - Ford Focus RS
"I wanted a Ford Focus RS because I wanted something that was really fun to spank around in. I thought it would be the perfect little car and when it became clear we would be punishing these things off-road I realised that essentially a rally car for the road wasn’t going to be ideal for proper off-roading," said Hammond.
"So, in my wisdom I then put it on tracks. The tracks were amazing but perhaps are more designed with snow in mind. I was a little heavy-handed, as has happened in the past.
"We had three distinct approaches. We don’t have to engineer that, by the way: when we’re choosing cars or our approaches to the adventures, we do all three go off in different directions because we have our own way of doing things and mine usually involves breaking everything, which indeed I did again this time."
James May - Caterham 7
"It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s something I’ve thought about doing for years, but never actually had the chance to do it," explained May.
"The Caterham racing car is a fabulous off road adventure vehicle - why you would choose a Land Rover or Toyota Land Cruiser, I don’t know."
What do we know about the Madagascar special, A Massive Hunt?
Clarkson, Hammond and May were give a pirate's treasure hunt and picked a Ford Focus, Bentley Continental GT and Caterham 7 for the adventure.
Combining the beauty of the Madagscar's beaches, wildlife and landscape with the world's toughest road, provides a perfect opportunity to push the presenters to their limit.
Executive producer Andy Wilman explained how they came up with the idea.
"We do our normal process of having a hunt around and thinking about where we haven’t been," he said.
"We knew we wanted a meaty, car-based story and somebody had suggested Madagascar, and coincidentally somebody else had gone 'I found this road on Réunion' and in brainstorming it was like 'Hang on, this is not an either/or, this is brilliant. We can start in Réunion, misdirect the boys so they think it’s a holiday and then go, “Oh no, off you go to Madagascar'.
"It was a combination of a bit of luck, some good research and the knowledge that we wanted a tough car journey. Those were the elements."
Talking about the brutal roads of Madagascar that dominate the episodes, Wilman added: "It’s not even a road. Calling it a road would be like me going down to Saville Row, stitching two bits of cloth together and going, ‘There, that’s a suit because I have done it in Saville Row.’
"You had to keep reminding yourself that that’s the main artery of that side of the country, the east. It was phenomenal.
"We love those experiences where everyone is making do; humans are brilliant at adapting to their environments when there’s no money around. There are no hotels around and so at the moment there’s no real need for the road to be paved so the fat people from the west can fly over there."
A Grand Tour Scotland special is coming next
Not even a global pandemic can keep Clarkson, Hammond and May apart. The trio have reunited for another motoring special on Amazon – but this time they’re filming a little closer to home.
Globetrotting adventures may be off the table for a little while, so the latest episode was filmed across nine days in Scotland.
Talking to BT.com about the Scottish jaunt, James May said: "It was nice to get back to doing what we do. And it was nice to see the crew again.
"I had seen Clarkson and Hammond for some very distant meetings, from the opposite sides of the garden, but I hadn’t seen the crew for a long while. Many, many months. The best part of a year in fact. And doing it in a bubble, we turned out to be quite good at it.
"We did it in area of Scotland with not many people. We didn’t interact with the locals really. There were complicated systems set up for cleaning everything and it was a bit tiresome going through lots of procedures and being tested every day, but it didn’t get in the way of filming to be honest.
"We filmed in the normal way we always do. It’s the peripheral stuff that’s a bit tiring. We couldn’t go to the pub, but there was no pub anyway."
The presenters were spotted travelling from Edinburgh to the Hebrides in three classic America cars, which were towing caravans. And to add to all the excitement Richard Hammond has been involved in another car crash - at least some things never change!
Writing in his newspaper column about the special, Clarkson said: “I didn’t think there was a hope in hell we’d get started, let alone finished. And that’s before we get to the problem with Scotland.
“Nicola Sturgeon seems to be driven solely by a deep-seated hatred of the English, so we were expecting her to close the border at any moment.”
He added: “Astonishingly, thanks in part to the rules but mainly to luck, not one of us tested positive on the whole nine-day shoot. Which meant all the cameras were rolling when Hammond had his customary accident. It was a good one.”
Clarkson joked that it was lucky Hammond escaped serious injury this time because due to Covid rules he wouldn’t be allowed inside “a stranger’s air ambulance”.
Is The Grand Tour cancelled?
Far from it. Amazon, Andy Wilman and the presenters are all prepared to do some more filming - all they need is the green light on travel restrictions.
James May said: "It’s impossible to know where we will be allowed to go even in a few months, let alone next year, so I think it’s more a case of we know some places we are fairly sure we can’t go; very busy countries that are not doing well with COVID.
"But we can be reasonably confident of doing some things closer to home, which means western Europe really. But I don’t see why that’s a problem.
"If you’re watching The Grand Tour from Sri Lanka, Scotland is as exotic and beautiful as Sri Lanka is from Scotland, so there’s always going to be a large part of the audience which finds anywhere in the world fascinating."
He added: "In the short term we might have to reduce our travel ambitions and we’ll have a better chance of doing it. Better to film in the UK and deliver regularly than promise the earth and not deliver anything. The Grand Tour may become a little more domestic. But it will still be us three which is the important thing. And cars."
The Grand Tour Russia special is coming... one day
Covid restrictions meant that plans to shoot a Grand Tour special in Russia were put on hold in 2020.
Probably good news for President Putin, but bad news for fans of the series who were looking forward to seeing Clarkson handle the political hot potato of Russia in his usual measured fashion. Ahem.
"The Russia is simply postponed, until we don’t know when," said May.
"It’s too unpredictable to predict. We’ve done lots of preparation for it. It’s a bit like a big jigsaw puzzle. We will get it out again at some point and finish it off.
To be honest, because it takes a long time to do all the logistics and planning for these things, it’s just impossible right now. Because someone could do all that planning and then seven months later when we start filming, all the restrictions and air corridors might have changed."
What are the Clarkson, Hammond and May's next solo projects?
Uncharacteristically, James May was first off the mark with his own spin-off series on Prime Video – Our Man in Japan – available to stream now.
He also releasd his own cookery series, Oh Cook!, showcasing his skills in the kitchen - or lack of them,
Richard Hammond was the second presenter to confirm their own spin-off series, which will see him teaming up with Mythbusters star Tory Belleci on The Great Escapists.
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.
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.
What happened in The Grand Tour presents Seamen?
It was 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 saw 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.
The Grand Tour presents A Massive Hunt is available now on Amazon Prime Video.
Watch The Grand Tour seasons 1-3 and specials on Amazon Prime Video now.