31 Jul 2015

Ex-Top Gear hosts sign up for new show

6:04 am on 31 July 2015

Former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have signed up to present a new show on Amazon's streaming video service.

Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson during a Top Gear show in Belgium in 2013.

Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson during a Top Gear show in Belgium in 2013. Photo: AFP

The trio will front three series of a new motoring programme for Amazon Prime, with the first season to be made available worldwide in 2016.

The move follows their departure from the hit BBC Two show earlier this year.

Clarkson's contract was not renewed following an "unprovoked physical attack" on a Top Gear producer.

His co-hosts then followed him in leaving the show.

They will now make the unnamed new programme with former Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman, who also quit the BBC following the "fracas".

In a statement from Amazon, Clarkson said: "I feel like I've climbed out of a biplane and into a spaceship."

Hammond said: "Amazon? Oh yes. I have already been there. I got bitten by a bullet ant." And May added: "We have become part of the new age of smart TV. Ironic, isn't it?"

Wilman told the Radio Times the team would begin working on the new series as soon as they return from their summer holidays.

He said they agreed a deal with Amazon because "they'll give us the freedom to make the programme we want...there's a budget to produce programmes of the quality we want and this is the future".

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Photo: AFP

Wilman added the format of the new show would contain "themes people will be familiar with".

"I can't tell you how good it feels to get the chance to produce something from scratch," he said. "We're all really excited. No one telling us what we can and can't do, just us hopefully producing great programmes. It feels really liberating."

Amazon Prime Video EU vice-president Jay Marine said: "Customers told us they wanted to see the team back on screen, and we are excited to make that happen.

"We can't wait to see what Jeremy, Richard, James and the team will create in what is sure to be one of the most globally anticipated shows of 2016."

The Amazon deal is part of a manoeuvre by the company to compete with traditional broadcasters and streaming rivals like Netflix.

-BBC

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