Taking the Grand Tour
As regular readers of this blog are aware, from time to time I deviate away from the model making to bring you news of other projects, or trips, or reviews. Well yesterday Beloved and I were on a day out, All the way to Loch Ness. For beloved had been the lucky winner of free tickets to the recording of the motoring show “The Grand Tour” The new vehicle (Forgive the pun) for their laddish presentation of things automotive since their sudden departure from the BBC’s Top Gear.
Such a lucky gift was not to be snubbed (only about 250 pairs of tickets were awarded from almost half a million applications we were told), despite a 6 hour, 260 mile round trip. So we set off Thursday night, to stay overnight in order to be not too exhausted to stand through the whole recording session. Initial timings suggested we could be on our feet for up to 5 hours. Fortunately for us we were able to book into a hotel literally within easy walking distance so left our car there and set of on foot. After passing security, and a coach ride to the guest tent (The Grand Tour tent you see on TV has grown into a small tented village by the time they are set up to record) Where we were fed and watered (And seated) until the show was ready to roll. This took almost two hours, but such is the nature of these things.
The first thing you notice as you walk into the tent is that it is pretty much exactly as you see it on TV, I don’t know why I was surprised, but I was. The second thing you notice is that, despite assurances from the wranglers, the view is not great from the back, however there are screens dotted around so everyone can see what is being filmed. Our wrangler by the way was a personable chap called Matthew, who amongst the various facts and figures he gave out during the pre show briefing, told us that he, and most of the rest of the crew, Not Just Clarkson, May and Hammond have been with the show from the Top Gear days. If you used to watch Top Gear you will have seen Matthew, in a white coat, handing tasks to the boys.
Anyway, I digress. The show kicked off with the three boys making their grand entrance, Clarkson delivering his usual monologue, and generally working the audience, First impression was that this was surely unusual given Jeremy’s language. Then they left…
Turns out the Three do their own warm up, this was merely to get the audience ready, when they re entered the tent the applause was clearly much more enthusiastic, and we started into the show proper. I wont give away too many spoilers but what we saw was pretty much what you get on TV, an introduction, some banter about Loch Ness and into the first Video (Test driving the FIAT 124 Spyder (Which beloved now wants, and I am not against her having!)) Which the live audience get to see in it’s entirety, Some more banter and into the first part of the main video(Touring France in second Hand Maserati’s) Then back to the tent, then a retake of back to the tent (This happened out of every video, presumably so they could select the best though every time the presenters claimed to have fluffed lines). Some more banter, then into the “Conversation Street” set piece. With clearly conversation about a lot more subjects than are ever broadcast (Frankly some of the streams are just unbroadcastable!).
By now it becomes apparent just how consummate the presenters are, what you see on TV is not the result of constant retakes, edits and prompting by the director. Fluffed lines are few (And they are working from memorised scripts, not autocues) and generally promptly picked up by the presenters. And the time has flown by, Another celebrity is “Killed” for “Celebrity brain crash” (This is recorded live, not a video) then a segue into an actual video, this time about voice recognition. And it is time for a recording break (Or as Clarkson would have it a cigarette break). A chance for us, the audience to rest and refresh ourselves in the guest tent for a while.
Returning to the tent, and after some banter between beloved and Matthew, we find ourselves right at the front of the audience (So much so we will be in a number of the camera shots if what I saw on the monitors is anything to go by) whilst Jeremy presents his own version of voice control, after giving us the news of Rosberg’s retirement from F1. Back to the second part of the video about the Maseratis (And the only real session of retakes whilst they took a number of tries to get it right. And suddenly you are into the wrapping up and goodbyes. Time has flown by, assisted to a large extent I suspect by the sheer professionalism of the presenters. A quick walk back to the car and, despite the 3 hour drive back home in time for tea and this weeks broadcast episode.
So, What was it like?
If you, as I have been, are concerned about the lack of quality of the first couple of episodes of the Grand Tour (Especially last weeks “Desert stumble”) Fear not, this was episode 10 and it is very clearly full of good stuff, I doubt you will be disappointed. However I have to say seeing the show live is a world apart from the broadcast. Apart from seeing the parts that will never make it to air, either because of time constraints or Jeremy’s language the atmosphere was incredible, the presenters engaging and the whole just a great deal of fun.
You should be able to see this episode on the 20th January, I hope you enjoy it at least a fraction as much as we did.