The trailer for the penultimate episode of The Grand Tour has been released days after its name and release date were revealed.
Called Sand Job, it’ll see the trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May heading to Mauritania to replicate the legendary Paris-Dakar endurance rally in their own inimitable style.
The confirmation of the special, which will be available to watch on Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service from Friday, February 16 onwards, comes in the wake of the presenters confirming in November that this will be the final series of The Grand Tour.
Sand Job will see the three presenters heading from Mauritania into Senegal on the route of the old Paris-Dakar.
It means they will take on the searing heat and troublesome sand of the Sahara Desert, in three cars you might not expect to excel in such conditions.
Filming is a minefield
Using convertible versions of some high-end European sports cars and GTs, Clarkson chooses a Jaguar F-Type V6, May opts for a Maserati GranCabrio and Hammond has an Aston Martin DB11 Volante.
Obviously, the cars will have been (ham-fistedly) modified to cope with the rigours ahead, which reputedly even includes a section where the presenters must extricate themselves from a minefield.
That’s all after the three vehicles are delivered to the north-western corner of Africa via the means of the world’s longest train.
Sand Job was filmed in May last year, with one more special — based in Zimbabwe — set to round out TGT later in 2024. That film was shot in September 2023, and has yet to be named or given a release date on Prime Video.
Expeditions are the end
These two final expeditions mark the end of season five of TGT, with the show adopting a one-off adventure tone from the end of season three onwards.
Previously employing a similar format to the trio’s earlier TV gig, BBC’s Top Gear, viewers saw Clarkson become visibly emotional at the end of season three of TGT when he and his fellow co-presenters had to inform the audience the show as we all knew it — involving the tent, smaller films and celebrity sections — was at its conclusion.
It effectively marked the beginning of the end of a 16-year journey for the trio, who began working together on the second series of the revamped Top Gear in 2003, when May joined to replace Jason Dawe. Hammond had already worked on the first series alongside Dawe and Clarkson.
Since TGT went to its road trip and adventure specials format from 2019 onwards, there have been six big films from the team. Season four had four of them: Seamen; A Massive Hunt; Lochdown; and Carnage A Trois.
In them, the men have done various things such as boating along the Mekong River in Vietnam, searching for pirate treasure in countries based in the Indian Ocean, driving old American classics across Scotland and lampooning the French culture.
The fifth season has already delivered A Scandi Flick, a rally-based adventure set in Norway, and Eurocrash, in which the trio conducted an eastern European road trip in cars no one else would think of using. May’s choice in this debacle, a Crosley CC Four Convertible, was a particularly inspired move that proved great for TV but terrible for his nerves.
Getting too old
However, both Sand Job and the as-yet unnamed Zimbabwean expedition due to air later this year are expected to mark the end of Clarkson, May and Hammond working together on a TV car show.
Each of them have their own television projects — not least Clarkson, with his highly successful Clarkson’s Farm, also on Prime Video — and have all said in recent interviews that the time is right to hang up their driving gloves because they’re getting too old.
Clarkson himself told The Times Magazine in a January interview that the time feels right to call it a day on The Grand Tour: “I’ve driven cars higher than anyone else and further north than anyone else. We’ve done everything you can do with a car.
“When we had meetings about what to do next, people just threw their arms in the air.”
Part of the problem, he said, is that filming the long-format adventure shows that have marked out seasons four and five of TGT “is immensely physical… when you’re unfit and fat and old, which I am”.
He added that this made camping in remote locations more demanding than would have been in years past.
Not fuelled by ‘mutual loathing’
Clarkson also denied that the show was coming to an end because the three presenters dislike each other. His colleague May recently said that the chemistry which makes the trio spark so enjoyably on screen was “fuelled by mutual loathing”.
But Clarkson disagreed: “We’ve spent more time in each other’s company than our families’ over the last 25 years, so I don’t think it would have lasted as long as it did if we’d hated each other as much as James likes to think.”
He further denied any creative tension between the trio, saying: “They do as they’re told.”
The Grand Tour: Sand Job is released worldwide on Prime Video from Friday, February 16.
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