Former Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman tells RadioTimes.com that work on his new Amazon Prime car show with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May will start as soon as he and the presenters return from their summer holiday.
“We want to be on air next autumn, so we’ll come back from our break and get cracking on it. Hopefully filming will start in the New Year.”
Wilman confirmed reports that both he and his long-time friend and business partner Clarkson were prevented by a clause in their old BBC contracts from working with another terrestrial broadcaster until 2017. “So the ITV thing was never really going to happen, but there has been lots of interest. We’ve been in talks for quite a few weeks now with different people, but in the end it all happened very quickly.”
So why Amazon Prime?
“There are three reasons really. They’ll give us the freedom to make the programmes we want – and you know how we love that freedom – there’s a budget to produce programmes of the quality we want and this is the future. So it’s exhilarating to be part of that future.”
What about having his show scheduled against the new Top Gear when both hit the screen? Doesn’t he have a point to prove?
“The child in me probably would, but actually all the scheduling competition stuff is becoming irrelevant. People will watch programmes when they want to and not when they’re told to. This is very much the future of how we’ll watch TV.”
And the format? Shades of the old Top Gear?
“It’s a motoring show and there will be themes people will be familiar with. But I can’t tell you how good it feels to get the chance to produce something from scratch. 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.”