Huge pay rises being offered to lure former Top Gear crew to Amazon TV
Some of Jeremy Clarkson's old top gear crew are being offered 'huge pay rises' to join his new Amazon Prime show, it has been reported.
The new online series is said to have a budget of £4million an episode - ten times that of BBC's Top Gear.
The exodus of production staff could prove to be setback for the new Top Gear series which is due to relaunch in May, headed up by radio host Chris Evans.
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond have moved from the BBC to a new programme on Amazon Prime TV.
As well as presenters Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, Amazon has also taken former Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman.
Clarkson and his former Top Gear co-hosts, James May and Richard Hammond, all signed up to do the new online show after signing a three year contract said to be worth around £160million. They exodus is set to continue, Emma Pryer of the Sunday Mirror reported.
A source told the newspaper that several crew members who were freelancing at Top Gear are already working on Clarkson's new online show.
They said: 'It is quite common for freelancers to move and they were not contracted to the BBC.'
Another said of Amazon's no-expense-spared series: 'It's like comparing first class to economy.'
They went on to say that it would be just as big as Top Gear, adding: 'The brand's global success allowed healthy budgets and the new show will be equally ambitious and well-funded.'
Clarkson tried to build up the anticipation surrounding the new show by tweeting a picture of the hosts surrounded by hundreds of crew members.
He wrote alongside the tweet: 'Skeleton crew, filming Amazon Prime's new motoring programme has begun.'
Clarkson was sacked by the BBC after he physically and verbally attacked a Top Gear producer at a restaurant.
He recently took a swipe at his old employer in an advert for Amazon.The commercial showed Clarkson skipping over the BBC iPlayer service as he flicked through the on-demand channels offered by the Fire TV Stick - which is Amazon's fastest-selling product to date.
The commercial ended with a photograph of Clarkson, Hammond and May in a publicity shot for their unnamed motoring show.
A BBC spokesperson said: 'We have a brilliant team on Top Gear and are confident we will have a great show.'
And this advert shows the retail giant is ready to make the most of their high-profile signing - roping in Clarkson to show off the Amazon Fire TV Stick while making tongue-in-cheek digs at the BBC.