In March, host Jeremy Clarkson was fired from “Top Gear.”
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) fired him unceremoniously for striking one of the show’s producers.
This news brought my home to a grinding halt, since my husband was a fan of the show since long before he met me.
His initial fear was that the trio of Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May would be no more.
For years, we watched these three Brits talk about and drive cars, and argue about what was cool and what wasn’t.
(They actually had a “cool wall” at one point, where they placed photos of cars according to their “coolness.”)
The most recent iteration of “Top Gear” aired, nearly unchanged, for 14 years.
Fans appreciated the honesty of the three hosts, but their chemistry on screen was the kicker.
Clarkson, who can be rather abrupt and maybe a little too honest, sat as the ringleader.
Hammond, the youngest one, was teased for “being too American.”
May, who is very particular in his procedures that must be followed, is referred to as fondly “Captain Slow.”
The boys had one big adventure each season that dropped them into a remote location with cars of their own choosing.
One of my favorites sees them traversing South America in SUVs, purchased blindly online, all the way from the Amazon River, through the rain forest, up “Death Road,” over the Andes Mountains and finishing at the Pacific Ocean.
In short, the show was the picture of perfection and the news of Clarkson’s firing was not good.
But then, Hammond and May stood in solidarity and announced their intentions to create something new.
“It (was) very clearly something people wanted us to do,” May said in a November interview.
After an international race to pick up the rights to the new content, Amazon Prime won — before the show even had a name.
The premiere of the show finally was released, to millions of fans, two weeks ago. Its name is “The Grand Tour.”
The ratings are off the charts. Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB have “The Grand Tour” sitting at near-perfect scores. Meanwhile, the BBC replaced the trio of Clarkson, Hammond, and May with Chris Evans (not the one who plays Captain America) and Matt LeBlanc, of “Friends” fame.
The trio brought in a reported 5 million viewers per episode, but the new crew opened the first episode with only 2.4 million watching.
Given all of the controversy over the boys leaving and the selection of the new hosts, it seems the viewers told the producers exactly how they felt.
Evans already has left “Top Gear,” saying “It seems I may well have been a square peg in a round hole.”
I wouldn’t know — we’ve been too busy watching Clarkson, Hammond and May’s antics on “The Grand Tour.”