Entertainment & Arts

Clarkson's The Grand Tour will be judged 'via Twitter', says producer

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Media captionTop Gear producer tells Radio 4's Today what to expect from Amazon's new show The Grand Tour

The team behind The Grand Tour will use Twitter to gauge its popularity with fans, the show's producer has said.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Andy Wilman also confirmed they will not be told what the viewing figures are.

He said: "We'll never know the number, because, even to us, Amazon won't tell us what the viewing figures are."

Asked how they will know if viewers like the show, Wilman replied: "We'll get it from Twitter I would imagine."

He added that TV fans "are all there [on social media] with their thumbs banging away".

The Grand Tour, which launches on Amazon Prime on Friday, stars Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond and will be the trio's first show since leaving BBC Two's Top Gear last year.

Image caption Andy Wilman also worked with Clarkson, Hammond and May on Top Gear for 13 years

Wilman said it was a "blessing" that the creative team behind the show would not be told the overnight viewing figures.

"You can just make something and never have to be sort of judged by looking for overnights and so on.

"That is quite a liberating thing, that we will just make our show... it's just going to exist out there."

Do overnight TV ratings matter?

"Over time hopefully millions will watch it, but we've said goodbye to that big figure coming in on a Monday morning," he added, referring to the overnight ratings the Top Gear team used to receive the morning after its Sunday night broadcast.

Some press reports have suggested that Amazon have given The Grand Tour a budget of £4m per episode.

But, Wilman said: "That figure is nonsense. It was reported in the papers and it's stuck there for good now. It's not true. It's lower than that. I'm not going to tell you the figure but it's a good whack."

Asked whether the budget was higher than the £1m per episode the BBC reportedly spent on Top Gear, Wilman replied: "It's more than that. Somewhere between £1m and £4m."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The show is filmed in a giant tent, which travels to a different location each week

One episode of The Grand Tour will be released per week - unlike many programmes broadcast on streaming platforms which release all their episodes at once for viewers to watch when they wish.

Speaking about the one-per-week release, Wilman said: "It's a good thing because if it was Breaking Bad or something like that, you've got a plot and you go 'Oh I've got to see the next one'.

"There's no plot in what we do. It's three overgrown idiots doing stuff. There's nothing to make you go 'I've got to watch the next one', so I'm happy there's a gap between each one."

He added that Amazon had had "no editorial input" in the making of The Grand Tour.

"They just left us alone," he said. "The BBC left us alone as well, in the main, editorially. Amazon have done the very same thing.

"We make a show, we send it over, thankfully they're making nice noises when they see it."

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