UPDATE: Clarkson and co have agreed a deal with Amazon Instant Video. Read our update for more information.
After months of speculation, rumour and gossip, Clarkson has finally revealed where his future lies. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Clarkson told the paper that his new show will be on Netflix, with Hammond and May set to join him.
The announcement comes amid the speculation over who will replace the iconic trio. Chris Evans has already been announced, with a second presenter confirmed as being female, with the third role being opened up to public audition. With the existing Top Gear in a state of flux, the new Clarkson show could soon capitalise on this uncertainty.
Tweets from the former Top Gear trio show them travelling around together, having visited South Africa and now off to Norway. With locations reminiscent of the famous Top Gear challenges, its clear that some filming has already taken place. The exact nature of the new show has not been revealed. With the Top Gear brand so well established, its unclear of just what elements of the show could be deemed as “copyright”. And will Clarkson use this new found freedom to try something different?
England just won't warm up. And it's too windy. Sod it. I'm off to South Africa.— James May (@MrJamesMay) June 9, 2015
The signing of Clarkson and Co to Netflix will come as a major coup for the on demand streaming service. Netflix has already established itself as a player with drama and comedy. It is currently moving into the film industry, commissioning projects that will appear in the cinemas as well as on their service. Having the former Top Gear team on their service is another statement of intent, and perhaps a further signal of the changing face of modern entertainment.
Will we see more crazy challenges in the new show?
The Netflix show will not signal the end of the relationship with BBC, at least not for James May. He will front a series of special one off shows titled “Building Cars Live”. The show will take place at BMW Mini factory in Oxford and will show in real time how a car is built on a modern assembly line. He will be joined on the show by Springwatch presenter Kate Humble, and classic car restorer Ant Anstead, who also co-hosts “For The Love of Cars” on Channel 4. Anstead’s co presenter on that show Philip Glenister was one of the favourites to take over on Top Gear.
In an interview with The Sun newspaper, Clarkson revealed that he was offered a return to Top Gear, but his treatment in the press and fears of the show being neutered led him to turn down the opportunity. Clarkson said, “I had a meeting with a BBC executive last week and they asked if I’d come back to Top Gear. But it was never an option, even with one million people signing the Bring Back Clarkson petition – for which I was extremely humbled. Too much has gone on. After I’d been compared to Jimmy Savile by someone from the BBC and it was splashed all over a Sunday newspaper, how could I go back?”
The new Top Gear will return in March 2016. The question is, how much of Top Gear’s success was down to the trio of Clarkson, Hammond and May? And will either of them see the same success without the other?