The road to Whitby: Clarkson on cars, chips and why the BBC wouldn't go there
Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond were in pursuit of fish and chips as they brought their new show, The Grand Tour, to Whitby.
It was their first filming engagement in North Yorkshire since Clarkson’s bust-up with a producer over a steak at the Simonstone Hall Hotel in the Dales cost him his job on the BBC’s Top Gear.
This time, the mood was very different as a cardigan-clad Clarkson stepped out in a pop-up studio that looked not dissimilar to that of Top Gear, and guest comedian Jimmy Car went for a jetski ride, in a suit, in Whitby Harbour.
Filming in a large green tent, Clarkson and May addressed an audience of 300, who had been given a 48-hour window last month in which to apply for tickets.
Clarkson said the team had chosen Whitby partly because the BBC would not have allowed it.
He said: “We looked at London and thought, ‘nah’, and all of us just thought, ‘let’s go to Whitby’.”
“It’s for the fish and chips really,” added Hammond.
The new show has a “slightly bigger” budget than that of Top Gear, Clarkson said.
“But at the end of the day it is still just us three. James is still slow, Hammond is still short and I’m still loud. I think some people are expecting this big Marvel Avengers-style show with this huge budget but it’s not. The budget is a bit bigger but not by much, don’t believe everything you read in The Daily Mail.”
Whitby holds fond memories for all three presenters.
Hammond said: “I started out at Radio York and any opportunity I got to come to Whitby to talk to people or to have a look around I remember jumping at the chance.”
Clarkson, meanwhile, had a soft spot for the local roads. “The drive into the town is stunning,” he said.
“That road from Pickering over the moors and past RAF Fylingdales is epic, it really is one of the best drives in the country.
“We’ve actually flown over a load of people from Seattle who work for Amazon and they have been wandering around all week with their mouths open going ‘look at that!’ That’s what is great about Whitby.
“It is exotic to people, If you’re an American and you see the show in California then that’s not going to be exotic to you but Whitby? That’s new to you, that’s different.”
James May said he planned to customise at least one local business. “I want to go and look for this little independent shoe shop I’ve heard about,” he said.
“I’ve always had a secret dream to run a shoe shop so I might go and get some ideas.”
The filming of the two Whitby episodes follows others shot in South Africa and California.
A new trailer for the highly anticipated show was released last week in which Clarkson, May and Hammond are billed as three friends on an “adventure”.
It features the trio in exotic locations, with the ex-Top Gear presenters joking that they have only had a “minor fire” when a stunt goes wrong.
The stars are seen speeding around race tracks, flying over the desert - and trying but failing to entice a camel up a ramp.
The first episode of The Grand Tour launches on November 18 on Amazon Prime Video.