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Amazon's new Top Gear, tweet by tweet

By raccars Published

Amid some unedifying press surrounding filming of the new Top Gear, what's happening at Amazon?

As fans of the series can't have failed to notice, the terrible Top Gear trio of Clarkson, Hammond and May have been lined up to produce a new motoring series, produced at great expense by Amazon. There has been plenty of publicity about the trials, tribulations and shuffling line-up at Top Gear but in the meantime the show's as yet unnamed rival has also commenced filming. We don't know a lot about it at this stage, except what has been revealed by Jeremy Clarkson's Twitter feed...

Gear Knobs

Never one to miss an opportunity to self-publicise, Clarkson has been giving regular updates on the social media platform suggesting that viewers can essentially expect more of what characterised the team's tenure at the BBC - ridiculous missions, schoolboy humour and foot-down adrenaline. However the ribald suggestion that the new show would be called 'Gear Knobs' was refuted by Clarkson on Twitter, and the name remains a mystery.

Despite an appearance of business as usual, Clarkson has made it clear that the new show will not simply be copying the format of the old Top Gear - studio segments interspersed with video packages, the star in a reasonably priced car and regular one hour feature shows. However we don't yet know just how it will be different.

Historically, the team filmed in front of 500 studio guests in a warehouse and the show went out on Sunday evenings. An online series isn't obliged to follow the same weekly pattern as national television and thus far there's no sign of any studio guests being invited.

Carry on up the Amazon

A Clarkson Tweet suggested that filming began on 11 February, with an international segment indicated by the team's appearance at Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport. Amazon is alleged to have assigned a budget of £175 million to the project, which will cover 36 episodes. These will be shown on the subscription-only online TV channel Amazon Prime.

It's a lot of money but Top Gear is widely held to have been one of the most successful TV shows in the world and earned the BBC about £50 million annually. The notorious presenters are sure to draw attention to Amazon's original programming. Not only will the show feature the familiar presenting team but a photo Tweeted by Clarkson showed that many of the old Top Gear behind-the-camera staff have also defected.

Back on October, Clarkson showed a photo of what he called a 'skeleton crew' along with a McLaren P1, a Ferrari LaFerrari and a Porsche 918. The BBC famously failed to convince the three manufacturers to allow it to test the three hypercars against each other. But it appears that Amazon has managed to change their minds, which would be something of a coup for the new show.

It all looks to be good fun, however, and accompanied by the usual banter if social media is to be believed. Photos of the team at work have made it clear that some spectacular cars are involved. Nonetheless, a shot of the terrible trio lined up, each with a Robin Reliant, looks somewhat familiar and the scene appears to be set for one of their well-known madcap challenges.

The new Top Gear

Meanwhile the new Top Gear team seems to be getting bigger and bigger. After the news that Chris Evans would be at the helm, together with German racing driver Sabine Schmitz and automotive journalist Chris Harris, the list of names now includes F1 alum Eddie Jordan, Joey from 'Friends' (actor Matt LeBlanc), TV presenter Rory Reid, while The Stig is also on board. Exactly what they'll all be doing is unclear at this stage.

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