Jeremy Clarkson worries The Grand Tour could be sued by the BBC

Jeremy Clarkson has expressed fears that the BBC could launch a legal case against his new Amazon Prime show, The Grand Tour, for imitating the Top Gear format.

Clarkson’s highly anticipated new show will be aired in less than three weeks time, but the motoring enthusiast admitted they experienced a few teething problems during filming for the forthcoming series.

Copyright [Getty/Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle]
Copyright [Getty/Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle]

The programme, which he presents alongside fellow former Top Gear hosts Richard Hammond and James May, faced potential legal issues over BBC restrictions on intellectual property rights.

Writing in The Sunday Times Magazine, Clarkson revealed that dozens of prospective names for The Grand Tour were rejected for being too similar to the BBC’s stunt-filled show, but then expressed his concerns over their use of a test track – aka an essential requirement of any car show.

Filming for The Grand Tour took place in RAF Wroughton, a former airfield near Swindon, which was utilised for its time trials; while Top Gear makes use of a former RAF airfield, the Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, to race its exotic cars.

Copyright [Amazon Prime]
Copyright [Amazon Prime]

Executive producer Andy Wilman, who moved to Amazon with the presenter trio, explained: “We knew we couldn’t copy certain elements of the Top Gear we had created, but that didn’t prepare us for the barrage of pessimism emanating from our lawyers.”

Further expressing concerns of how legal restrictions may change the show, he continued: “The discussions became nonsensical – whether or not James could say c*** (yes); whether the banter between Richard, James and Jeremy would have to be different to distance it from Top Gear.”

Clarkson added: “The Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, the Cool Wall, the Stig – all that had been left behind … and replaced with other stuff. Would that be like the Rolling Stones suddenly appearing on stage in tweed suits and doing Abba songs?”

Copyright [Nils Jorgensen/REX/Shutterstock]
Copyright [Nils Jorgensen/REX/Shutterstock]

The trio departed from BBC’s Top Gear, wearing their tweed suits, in March last year following Clarkson’s sacking after an altercation with a producer.

However with the release of his new show right around the corner, the former Top Gear frontman explained that he and his co-stars are glad to be moving on, speaking earlier this year, he said: “Now we’re looking at losing Top Gear as a fantastic thing to happen.”

The Grand Tour debuts on Amazon Prime on 18 November, with following episodes expected to be released every week. Watch the show’s first full-length HERE.

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