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The Grand Tour Scandi special – Secrets from the Set: Dramatic car crashes, ice pranks and skijoring
The Grand Tour presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson reveal the secrets behind the making of their new Scandinavian special.
After two years of lockdown, Clarkson, Hammond and May are heading back out on the road for a mammoth trip across the Arctic Circle.
The Grand Tour presents A Scandi Flick has crashes, ice and bus shelters tied to the back of cars, as the banter-loving trio trek from Norway to the Russian border.
Ahead of the special's release on Prime Video this week (Friday, 16 September), here is everything you need to know about the making of the dramatic, and chilly, adventure.
"I think it worked out even better," says Richard Hammond, when asked about the special’s change of theme from a journey to Russia to a trip across Scandinavia.
"We sort of revelled in the landscape more. We know that part of the world, we've filmed there before, so to connect those places up was great.
"Scandinavia is one of those places we've returned to many times over the years, like South Africa, Australia, and bits of Germany. Some places that just 'get' us, and always have."
Executive producer Andy Wilman agreed that the change of location actually improved the special.
"It's richer, there's more to do. Russia is barren, so you can’t find as much nonsense to do," said Wilman.
"An ice lake with a racetrack on it, the skiers, those kinds of things that we did in this film, that wasn’t going to come our way in Russia, so it did give us more content being where we were.
"Submarine base tunnels? With the best will in the world, I can't imagine the Russians going, 'Yes, help yourselves', so it did come good on that front."
James May's tunnel crash
"I was getting bored with Clarkson droning on about how his Audi was better," explains James May, who provides the most dramatic moment in this latest special with a jaw-dropping crash into a tunnel wall.
"I was feeling perfectly OK. But then, unfortunately, the people in the hospital were sent the internal camera shots of the crash, and obviously they take these things very seriously.
"So when they saw that they said, 'Oh, that's bigger than we thought. You'd better have a brain scan and spine scan to make sure you haven't fractured anything'."
He added: "I do remember thinking, ‘Well, that will have helped the film a bit, because you’ve now got a nice dramatic crash and interesting repair to show’. And also, it means Richard Hammond didn’t have to have a crash this time. That was getting a bit predictable. It'll surprise people that I had the crash, and not him."
The absence of May while he recovered from his crash meant that Clarkson and Hammond were left to their own devices. And this meant pranks. Lots of pranks.
"There were some very, very good pranks, I must be honest," says Clarkson.
"Encasing my entire car in ice was a very clever prank, and I still don’t know how he did it.
"Putting his keys in a bar full of frozen urine also, I was rather proud of that one. Yes, there was plenty of prankery."
An introduction to skijoring
Imagine water-skiing, but instead of water you’re on snow. And instead of a boat, you’re being pulled along by Clarkson, Hammond or May in rally cars.
"It's insane," said Hammond.
"We were terrified, because we thought, 'I don't mind hurting myself. That happens. I don't mind hurting those two, either. They deserve it'. But these three blokes hanging on the back of our cars? We didn't want to hurt them. It was very scary."
Clarkson admitted he was surprised they were allowed to do the stunt at all.
"Our reputation is not brilliant," he said. "I was surprised that they would say, 'Yes, that’s fine. We'll ski behind your cars'. How did they know we weren't going to make a terrible mess of everything?
"It's an extraordinary sport. One of them had one leg! How can you ski on one leg at the best of times, let alone when you're being towed at 80 miles an hour behind a car, driven by a man who doesn't know what a brake pedal does?"
James May was the driver who was partnered with the one-legged skier and admits that the responsibility did feel awkward.
"It felt a bit like dragging somebody around behind a pickup truck," he said.
Filming has already taken place for the next season 5 special, which will find the trio on a trip across Eastern Europe.
Talking about getting back into the swing of regular filming and specials again, Hammond said: “It’s just great to be released into the great outdoors with your mates that you’ve worked with for 20 years. We love it.
"I've worked in television for decades, and you just don't get to see a crew of that size, and that level of professionalism. And idiocy. I mean, if you watch them when they’re bored, honestly, it's terrifying.
"There's lots of waiting at borders or airports or for cameras to be set up but honestly, give them a can and a handful of stones and they can entertain themselves for hours.
"It's like a zoo exhibit. But then, when it calls for them to be professional, they leap up and swing into action. They're absolute machines. But if they’re bored with nothing to do, they're idiots."
The Grand Tour presents: A Scandi Flick launches on Prime Video on Friday, 16 September 2022.
The Grand Tour season 1-3 and The Grand Tour specials are available now on Prime Video.