Jeremy Clarkson’s exit from Top Gear was like a messy divorce.
He probably had it coming for a while, but when he crossed the line one too many times, he was unceremoniously booted out.
Just like the acrimonious celebrity splits you’d see on the cover of Heat magazine, Clarkson got to ‘keep the kids’ as co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May left with him.
But the BBC’s Top Gear was determined to keep the toaster, kettle, TV and the pets and anything else they’d built up over those glorious years together in the form of some stringent legal restrictions on Clarkson’s new show.
When he was asked by The Los Angeles Times about what his new Amazon Prime show The Grand Tour will look like compared to Top Gear, he quipped “are you an IP (intellectual property) lawyer?” to the interviewer.
“It’s broadly the same. The fact is it has us three hosting it and we are what we are. [James May] is slow and lost, [Richard Hammond] is short and I am bombastic and tall…and fat. And you can’t change that.
So when we’re out on the road, you get that. The studio is obviously different and the elements within the studio. But it’s like shepherd’s pie and cottage pie, there’s just new elements.”
But the lawyers are watching their every move on The Grand Tour intently and there are a plethora of legal restrictions on what they can and cannot do.
‘The Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, the Cool Wall, the Stig – all that had been left behind … and replaced with other stuff,’ he wrote in the Sunday Times Magazine.
‘Would that be like the Rolling Stones suddenly appearing on stage in tweed suits and doing Abba songs?’
The BBC has intellectual property rights on all those things and they could sue Amazon if they appear in the new show in any form.
Legal restrictions were also reportedly behind the call to use a giant tent as a studio in different locations around the world.
There were even fears that using a test track could land Clarkson and Co in the shit because of Top Gear, but they came to the conclusion this could reasonably be a core part of any car show.
The Grand Tour’s executive producer Andy Wilman has previous explained just how shit hot the lawyers are on anything they do.
“We went to Namibia to make a big film,” he told The Telegraph. “The lawyers got out a film we had done [for Top Gear] in Botswana.
“The lawyers go through everything and they said, ‘There’s a scene [in Top Gear] where you’re in the middle of the Okavango and you go, ‘This scenery is beautiful,’ so watch that you don’t do that.’ So we were in the desert in Namibia and we had to go, ‘For legal reasons, this scenery is shit’.”
The new series airs on November 18 and we can guarantee it will be
basically the same as nothing like Top Gear.