Where the ex-hosts of Top Gear would go once the existing contract between James May and Richard Hammond and the BBC ended, has been one of the hottest topics of contention among industry analysts and fans of the show for months now, following the firing of Jeremy Clarkson after a physical altercation with a producer. While there was speculation at a BBC return or a move to Netflix, the announcement has now come in: they’ve signed with Amazon.
Amazon also announced that it had secured long-time Top Gear producer Andy Wilman, who will fulfil the same role on the new show, which has yet to be named. Clarkson was said to be pleased with the move to Amazon, describing the change as feeling like climbing “out of a bi-plane and into a space ship.”
Indeed Amazon, along with Netflix has produced award winning shows in recent years, with extremely high production values giving them a movie feel. This should be more than a match for Top Gear’s traditionally strong camera work and editing.
The new show, set to be begin broadcasting at some point in 2016, has netted all three original presenters and they will be twinned exclusively with Amazon’s Prime service, its paid-for premium package which offers free postage, access to exclusive media and early access to its deals.
The exclusivity on Prime, which was estimated late last year to have around 40-50 million members world wide, may mean less viewers for the trio than they have been used to on the BBC. Typically, episodes of Top Gear are watched live by around eight million Brits, with an estimated 350 million catching up on the show around the world in the following weeks.
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KitGuru Says: This is a big win for Amazon, which will no doubt see a boost in its UK Prime membership numbers when the show starts sometime next year. Would you consider the £80 a year for the service if you knew you’d be getting ‘Top Gear 2’ as part of the package?