The Grand Tour executive producer Andy Wilman has revealed how the coronavirus pandemic slowed the progress of their Madagascar special and completely derailed plans to film in Russia.
In a live YouTube discussion with The Grand Tour presenter Jeremy Clarkson, Wilman said he contracted COVID-19, putting him out of action for 10 days. The pandemic has also meant that the Amazon car show has had to be edited remotely, which has created delays.
“I have had the plague,” Wilman said of the coronavirus. “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever had — ever.” He added that the pandemic has meant that he has not been able to sit in on the edit, while access to equipment has also been a problem. “I had to go to Tesco to buy a microphone,” he joked.
The Grand Tour team filmed the Madagascar special six months ago, but Wilman said “even without a world pandemic it takes a long time” to crunch through more than a thousand hours of material, including five weeks just ingesting the 4K footage into editing equipment.
Wilman said they hope to deliver their finished cut to Amazon in the next two weeks. The streamer will then add its own notes, before deciding when to premiere the 90-minute special. Clarkson said fans have been asking him when the next episode will drop, but can now direct their questions to Amazon. “If you want to know when the next installment of The Grand Tour is coming up, ask Amazon, not us,” he said.
The pair also revealed that they had to cancel plans in March to film their next adventure in north Russia — and they won’t revisit the shoot until next year. Wilman said they spent “hundreds of thousands of pounds” preparing for production, including on shipping cars and paying local fixers, but said there is no word in Russian “refund.” He added: “We had to call it. It was the right move, thank Christ, but now we’ve got to wait for the snow again and we’ll go next year.”
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