‘There is no place quite like it,’ Jeremy Clarkson told The Whitby Gazette when asked why the town had been chosen to host his new show, The Grand Tour
Excitement has been swirling around Whitby all week as Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have been shooting scenes for the Amazon-backed series in Endeavour Wharf.
Shooting will continue today with 300 lucky ticket holders inside the massive tent that has been erected to host the production.
But after filming the first two segments in Johannesburg and California why come to North Yorkshire for the next instalment?
“Simply, there is no place like it,” said Jeremy.
“We looked at London and thought ‘nah’ and all of us just thought ‘let’s go to Whitby’. The BBC would never have let us come here.”
“It’s for the fish and chips really,” added Richard.
Just like the playful banter and bickering that millions of viewers of Top Gear came to know and love an interview with the three is no different.
What followed was a good two-minute discussion about whether they would be getting cod or haddock from Mr Chips when the interview was over.
“I was thinking about cod but I think this is more of a haddock part of the world,” opined James May as the three set about trying to decide what would be the correct choice.
Since leaving the BBC May, Clarkson and Hammond have been travelling the world with The Grand Tour, which launches on Amazon Prime on November 18. The trailer for the show, which will be released weekly on the subscription service, shows the boys racing supercars, firing projectiles from tanks and arguing over camels in exotic locations. Amazon Prime has more than 63 million subscribers across the globe, bringing Whitby to a whole new audience.
Although the budget is bigger for the new show they say that not too much has changed.
“At the end of the day it is still just us three,” says Jeremy.
“James is still slow, Hammond is still short and I’m still loud. I think some people are expecting this big Marvel Avengers-style show with this huge budget but it’s not. The budget is a bit bigger but not by much, don’t believe everything you read in The Daily Mail.
“It’s still just three mates having a laugh.”
“I would describe it as comfortably familiar,” adds James.
Before the filming takes place today people in the town have been able to witness a stuntman jumping off the swing bridge to avoid a pretend seagull and jet ski racing through the harbour.
Although the presenters will be busy filming for the majority of their stay the town holds fond memories for each of them, with all visiting Whitby at various times across their lives.
“I started out at Radio York and any opportunity I got to come to Whitby to talk to people or to have a look around I remember jumping at the chance,” said Richard.
Unsurprisingly, it is the roads into the town that hold a place in Jeremy’s heart.
“The drive into the town is stunning,” he tells The Gazette.
“That road from Pickering over the moors and past RAF Fylingdales is epic, it really is one of the best drives in the country.
“We’ve actually flown over a load of people from Seattle who work for Amazon and they have been wandering around all week with their mouths open going ‘look at that!’ That’s what is great about Whitby.
“It is exotic to people, If you’re an American and you see the show in California then that’s not going to be exotic to you but Whitby? That’s new to you, that’s different.”
“We’re looking forward to shooting in front of a room full of Yorkshire folk,” adds Richard.
“It’s easy to make people from LA whoop and cheer but this should be a bit different.
“Yeah as a Yorkshireman myself I know they are going to be stood there with their arms crossed as if to say ‘come on fatman, make us laugh’.”
It seems as though Jeremy and James have not been put off after someone stole cigarettes from their car when they visited the town in 2012.
As the interview draws to a close the Gazette informs the trio that it received an email from a Whitby man, Michael Kilpatrick, who said that the actual most exciting news in Whitby this week was the sighting of a mink on a cobble boat.
“Well he’s right,” said Jeremy.
“Is he sure it wasn’t a whippet?” asks Richard, “If it was on lead walking with a man in a flat cap then it is a ferret. That’s actually quite interesting I might go and have a look fit it.
“I want to go and look for this little independent shoe shop I’ve heard about,” adds James.
“I’ve always had a secret dream to run a shoe shop so I might go and get some ideas.”
“Well there you have it,” concludes Jeremy, “James is off to run a shoe shop, Richard is off to find what might be a dog and I’ll be the one doing a car show.”
So after South Africa, the USA and Whitby where is next on their travels?
“Whitby again,” says Jeremy.
“Seriously, we are filming two back-to-back. We really love it.”