The first episode of The Grand Tour, Jeremy Clarkson’s first TV series since exiting Top Gear, has been given rave reviews by critics.
The show launched on the Amazon Prime streaming service on Thursday evening.
It is the first programme to be fronted by Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May since they parted company with the BBC last year.
Writing in The Evening Standard, Ben Travis described it as a “stunningly beautiful show”.
“If The Grand Tour is basically Top Gear with a nitros boost of Amazon finances, the difference is immediately apparent,” he said.
“Those who have never counted themselves as Jeremy Clarkson fans aren’t exactly going to be won over here – but episode one is a confident opener that leaves the BBC’s attempted Top Gear revival in the dust.”
Filmic is the word that sprang to my mind when watching the Grand Tour.
The scale of the production, the quality of the cameras, the epic sweeping shots and the pastiches of old movies – it seemed the show was aimed at the big screen, not the telly. Or a mobile phone, which is how I imagine a lot of people will view it.
It opens with a scene so over-the-top and opulent you’d think that the Prince Regent was behind the camera. Think Mad Max meets Easy Rider as we see the three presenters drive across the Californian desert, making their way through a sea of cars all barrelling along to a massive stage that has risen from the sand like a pyramid.
Maybe the small screen is too small for Clarkson, Hammond and May, and their next step should be away from the internet and into the cinema.
The first series of The Grand Tour will consist of 12 hour-long episodes – with one being made available each week.
A total of 36 episodes across three years have been commissioned by Amazon.
Currently, only fans in the UK, America, Germany and Japan are able to watch the first episode, but the company has announced it will be launching the show globally in December.
The new series does not include features such as “star in a reasonably-priced car” or The Stig – as those belong to the BBC’s Top Gear format.
Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans took over presenting duties on Top Gear after Clarkson, Hammond and May’s departure, although Evans left the show after one series.
Clarkson has previously said of the new show: “I think programme one will be all right. I’d be extremely surprised if that was poorly reviewed.”