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Clarkson says Top Gear trio has 'moved house'
Clarkson fears his new show may be sued by the BBC
Jeremy Clarkson fears the BBC could launch legal action against Amazon Prime, the makers of his new show, The Grand Tour.
With less than three weeks before The Grand Tour show is aired, anticipation is building to see how it compares to Top Gear.
After being fired from the BBC for punching a producer, Clarkson, along with presenters Richard Hammond and James May, have had months to come up with new ideas for the show.
Clarkson, 56, said he had concerns how viewers would react to the absence of classic Top Gear features like The Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, the Cool Wall, the Stig because of BBC restrictions on intellectual property rights.
The Grand Tour may still face a legal challenge because the producers felt it was essential to use a test track to race performance cars. The Amazon show chose RAF Wroughton, near Swindon, as their base for the time trials.
Top Gear was relaunched in 2002 with Clarkson as lead presenter. The show went on to become a global hit with a 350million strong audience. It was sold to 214 countries and made the BBC's commercial arm £50million a year.
One of the key features was to race exotic cars around the show's track at the former RAF airfield in Dunsfold, Surrey.
Clarkson has spoken of the difficulty they had of coming up with The Grand Tour name after dozens of possibilities were discarded because Amazon lawyers were worried they were too similar to Top Gear.
Executive producer Andy Wilman, who transferred with the presenters from the BBC show to Amazon, told The Sunday Times: 'Job one was to build the framework for a new show.
'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, Amazon's US lawyers, Amazon's UK lawyers and other lawyers still at law school.
'The discussions became nonsensical — whether or not James could say 'c**k' (yes); whether the banter between Richard, James and Jeremy would have to be different to distance it from Top Gear (actually, it couldn't be, because nobody would want to watch James pretending he likes tyre smoke, Richard suddenly being serious and worldly and Jeremy driving slowly and listening to other people's opinions).'
Wilman also told fans to taper expectations as 'not everything will be right' with The Grand Tour because they have started from 'scratch'.
Clarkson has forewarned viewers of The Grand Tour to expect 'three middle-aged men doing what they've always done' and cautioned it will not be an action blockbuster.
He revealed his fears over the hopes from the show's audience, adding he, Hammond and May have had complete editorial control.
What worries me the most is that everyone is expecting Avengers Assemble, that people think we've made something between the news Star Wars movie and Iron Man,' he told The Sun newspaper.
'It is just three middle-aged men doing what they've always done – drive cars around corners, shout, fall over, belittle each other, bicker.
'It's the same family, we've just moved house. It's comfort food, but we've gone from serving shepherd's pie for 12 years to cottage pie. It's still potato with mince underneath.'
Clarkson added that 'we own the show' and claimed Amazon have not interfered editorially at all.
The controversial figure joked he had not even met company boss Jeff Bezos.
'He emailed me saying, 'Good luck… whoever you are.' That's a joke. But that's it,' said the presenter.
After allegedly calling producer Oisin Tymon a 'lazy, Irish c***' , the incident was resolved out of court in a reported £100,000 settlement, and Clarkson was dropped by the corporation.
The Grand Tour Team have finished five episodes so far, with the first of the new series out on November 18.
The three presenters signed a three-year deal to make 12 shows a year, with filming on the first set to be completed by December 13, and filming on the second beginning the day after.
A new trailer for the highly anticipated show was released earlier this month, where Clarkson, May and Hammond are billed as three friends on an 'adventure'.
It features the trio in exotic locations, promising to be adrenaline-fuelled and hilarious in equal measure.