The Grand Tour Madagascar special: When is it released? What is the challenge? All you need to know about the return of the trio

Confused about what's happening with The Grand Tour? We've got the latest news on the return for Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.

By Alex Fletcher Updated: 19 October 2020 - 7.00pm
Amazon Prime Video

The Grand Tour returned in Christmas 2019 with a new special – The Grand Tour presents Seamen.

Swapping their cars for sea vehicles, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond took to the water in Cambodia and Vietnam in arguably their most unusual and dangerous adventure ever.

2020 kicked off the with the first solo series from the presenters on Amazon Prime Video, James May’s travelogue Our Man In Japan. But fans of the trio are really desperate to know when we can expect to see them back together and back behind the wheel.

The good news is the second season four special has wrapped filming. Prime Video packed the boys off for a wild challenge in... Madagascar.

The bad news? Due to Covid-19, there have been a lot of delays in getting the series released on Amazon Prime Video.

James May told Good Morning Britain viewers that the Madagascar special was now in the hands of Amazon, but added that the release date this year was still being decided.

"[Amazon are] going to release it strategically at a great moment," said.

"There will be a fanfare, what I mean by that is they won’t let it be overshadowed by big football or Top Gear."

Here’s all your need to know about The Grand Tour Madagascar special…

When is the Madagascar special released?

The Grand Tour presenters Amazon Prime Video

Producer Andy Wilman caught coronavirus, which delayed the final stages of editing the special.

"He was very, very, very poorly," Clarkson told Drive Tribe. "The good news is, he's better, but all the edit suites and the voiceover suites and all the places you use to make television programmes are shut."

Clarkson expressed serious concern about his close friend and long-time colleague Wilman - who also produced Top Gear. The presenter revealed in his newspaper columns and interviews that Wilman was struggling with his breathing after catching the virus.

Amazon Prime Video revealed the following information on Twitter earlier in 2020.

"Just to let you know. Yes, another special is coming. We’ve finished filming in Madagascar. No, we don’t know when it’s coming out yet. ‘Yes, Season 4 is made up of epic specials. No, they’re not released weekly. Yes, we’ll have more info in due course."

That’s all cleared up then.

In July, they updated fans to let them know the Madagascar special was definitely arriving in 2020. 

However, they also revealed that plans for another special in Russia had been curtailed because of the Covid-19 crisis.

What do we know about the Madagascar special?

Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May pose for The Grand Tour Amazon Prime Video

Fan site Grand Tour Nation have been tracking the boys antics in the island off the coast of East Africa.

Clarkson, Hammond and May have been pictured driving modified cars off-road, believed to be a Ford Focus, Bentley Continental GT and Caterham.

Speaking about the latest film, James May told BBC Radio 2: “I think it is going to be great because, as an adventure, it was fantastic.

"Madagascar is a truly beautiful place.

"It’s wonderful, I don’t know why it isn’t full of artists – it’s just beautiful water, the skies, the breeze, the clouds – it’s ludicrously pretty."

The Grand Tour Scotland special - the boys are back filming

Not even a global pandemic can keep Clarkson, Hammond and May apart. The trio have reunited for another motoring special on Amazon – but this time they’re filming a little closer to home.

Globetrotting adventures may be off the table for a little while, so the latest episode was filmed across nine days in Scotland.

The presenters were spotted travelling from Edinburgh to the Hebrides in three classic America cars, which were towing caravans. And to add to all the excitement Richard Hammond has been involved in another car crash -a t least some things never change!

Writing in his newspaper column about the special, Clarkson said: “I didn’t think there was a hope in hell we’d get started, let alone finished. And that’s before we get to the problem with Scotland.

“Nicola Sturgeon seems to be driven solely by a deep-seated hatred of the English, so we were expecting her to close the border at any moment.”

He added: “Astonishingly, thanks in part to the rules but mainly to luck, not one of us tested positive on the whole nine-day shoot. Which meant all the cameras were rolling when Hammond had his customary accident. It was a good one.”

Clarkson joked that it was lucky Hammond escaped serious injury this time because due to Covid rules he wouldn’t be allowed inside “a stranger’s air ambulance”.

Is The Grand Tour ending?

The Grand Tour presenters take to water in their Seamen special Amazon Prime Video

Far from it. Andy Wilman and the crew are prepared for another year of filming, so we can probably expect at least a couple more films.

In fact, considering the popularity of The Grand Tour and the reduced workload for the presenters, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more specials for many years to come.

However, Covid has put an indefinite delay on when they can start filming again and James May revealed during an appearance on Sunday Brunch that they had no plans to do a special when under social distancing restrictions.

“You can’t really make the film with social distancing because you end up making, effectively, a show with nobody in it," said May.

“The Grand Tour relies on a bit of interaction with the locals wherever we go.

 “If you said, ‘right we mustn’t go close to any people’, you wouldn’t get the whole story about the country.”

 “There’s no point doing it badly, we may as well wait to do it properly. That’s our excuse.”

What happened to the Grand Tour tent?

The Grand Tour presenters Amazon Prime Video

Jeremy Clarkson broke down in tears as The Grand Tour season 3 concluded, sharing his sadness that the show would no longer have a studio audience element and will look very different in the future.

The Grand Tour Tent will be no more and future episodes of the motoring show will be in the format of epic road trip adventure specials.

The final episode of series three included a nostalgic and emotional film about the Ford saloon which Clarkson has said he put his "heart and soul into writing”.

Speaking to the studio audience at the end of the episode, Clarkson said: "We have some good news, we’re not stopping."

Richard Hammond added: "We can’t, we’d have to get jobs!"

Jeremy continued: "The show as you know it is ending…the audience…the track, but, who would like to see us doing more big adventures…road trips… specials."

Richard Hammond added: "There is still so much of the world we haven’t been to."

Jeremy said: "So many people I haven’t insulted!"

James May joked: "So many cars Richard hasn’t crashed!"

Jeremy continued: "So although the tent has gone, The Grand Tour goes on."

Richard joked: "We are going to need walking sticks and nappies."

Jeremy Clarkson: "So whilst it’s not goodbye from us, it is good bye from the tent… anyone want to buy a tent?"

What are the Clarkson, Hammond and May's new solo projects?

James May with a lobster on his head Amazon Prime Video

Uncharacteristically, James May was first off the mark with his own spin-off series on Prime Video – Our Man in Japan – available to stream now.

Fifteen years after James May first visited Japan as a baffled tourist, he embarks on a quest to understand the unique, extraordinary and complex country. The birthplace of the haiku and classical art forms driven by the principles of Wabi (stark beauty) and Sabi (natural inspiration) and Yugen (grace and subtlety), Japan is also the place that’s given us Godzilla, Hello Kitty, cosplay, and some of the strangest obsessions on the planet.

Richard Hammond was the second presenter to confirm their own spin-off series, which will see him teaming up with Mythbusters star Tory Belleci.

The epic six-part series will feature Hammond and Belleci shipwrecked in mysterious circumstances, stranded on a remote yet beautiful desert island.

Rather than sitting around waiting to be rescued, the pair decide to take matters into their own hands as they use all of their engineering and expert scientific prowess not only to survive, but to construct an out-of-this-world, paradise island playground.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Clarkson has revealed that he is working a series following his adventures as a farmer - with the working title, I Bought A Farm.

Filmed over the course of the farming year, the series will show Clarkson like you’ve never seen him before. Beginning in Autumn 2019, the series will observe the highs and lows of what Jeremy hopes will be a rural idyll but could just as easily become a rustic nightmare.

What happened in The Grand Tour presents Seamen?

Richard Hammond hugs a fish Amazon Prime Video

It was an epic 'road trip' journey across Vietnam and Cambodia, with one slight difference. There are no cars or roads, only boats.

Their adventure-packed voyage takes them along one of the world’s most iconic waterways - the Mekong Delta. Fans can expect elements of their previous classic road trips, with the trio choosing their boats in the usual way they choose their cars, with their own off-the-wall rationale, putting their own spin on their individual vessels... as well as each other's.

This adventure across waters saw the presenters captaining three very different types of vessels. Clarkson’s ride is a recreation of a Vietnam war-era PBR (Patrol Boat River), the famed military vessel seen in Apocalypse Now.

Hammond channels his inner Don Johnson by opting for a Miami Vice style speedboat, and May lives out his canal holiday fantasy dream with a classic 1939 wooden river cruiser. Their aquatic road trip involves an 800km journey that starts on the perilous Tonlé Sap Lake, and weaves its way via a series of adventures and calamities down through the Mekong Delta. To cap it all off, the climax of the film is one of the most dangerous and exciting challenges Clarkson, Hammond and May have ever endured.

Seasons 1-3 of The Grand Tour and The Grand Tour presents Seamen are streaming now on Prime Video.

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