The good: It’s Clarkson, Hammond and May back together.
The not-so-good: Occasionally falls a bit flat.
Why I chose it: Cars, explosions, craziness…plus the incessant ads for The Grand Tour on Channel 7.
Publisher: Harper Collins
Setting: The world* (*some of it at least)
Rating: 8 out of 10
They’re back. The trio of Clarkson, Hammond and May are on your computer, streaming device or provoking you with the promise of free to air broadcasting (thanks, Channel 7) of The Grand Tour. As the second series is about to premiere, it’s time for a book to look back on Series One. Now I haven’t seen all of the first series of The Grand Tour, so I may not have gotten all the in jokes, but this is a pretty funny book. It combines the humour you’ve come to expect from the trio with loads of pictures and some occasionally useful, possibly true facts.
If you’ve read Top Gear annuals before, you will know what to expect. There’s some photoshopped pictures, promotions for Clarkson’s travel agency, ‘interviews’ with the presenters and a light hearted look at the big crashes/explosions/humiliations of the previous series. This is a little bit more mature in places and goes on to explain some useful stuff, like how The Grand Tour is filmed down to camera types and terabytes of raw footage. The setup of the tent is also explained, right down to dimensions of the containers. There are facts on each country the trio visited. It will keep you entertained for several hours as familiar phrases reappear (e.g. “HAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMOND!”, “literally”, “what could possibly go wrong?”). It’s like visiting an old friend, albeit one you have never met*. The boys also slip into the personalities that you know well – Jeremy, literally the loudest and tallest man on the planet (who makes liberal use of the word ‘literally’); Richard, the small one who is accident prone with a strange love for Land Rovers and bikes and James, the slow/boring one who knows – and cares – about things to the smallest detail. There are also a lot of lovely car shots from gorgeous supercars to ones that look like they were built in a nursery.
While the whole book is fun, there are some jokes that fall a bit flat. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t seen the relevant episode. I’m not sure who the authors are of this book (the internet quotes Clarkson, Hammond and May but I’m pretty sure that’s not 100% true). Some of the content is designed more for adults, some sits more in the 7-14 year old boy bracket and some is just a bit too out there for both those markets. However, if you’re a fan of the trio you simply need this book. It’s a fun way to read more about the making of the series and occupy an afternoon. As an added bonus, there are pictures from Series Two of The Grand Tour, including jaaaaaaaaags, tiny tanks and supercars.
(*I have actually met James May. Richard Hammond and I [in heeled boots] are too similar in height for me to find him in a crowd. Jeremy Clarkson is far too tall to even see me and his strides are literally about 193.97 metres long).