Behind the scenes on the The Grand Tour studio recording

Strange questions and incredible pyrotechnics – an audience member reveals what it was like watching Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May record their new Amazon series in California

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Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond’s new Amazon show The Grand Tour will be released on 18th November – and, even though phones are banned from studio recording, we’re starting to gather a few more details of what to expect.

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Someone who was in the crowd scenes for a shoot in the California leg of The Grand Tour told RadioTimes.com that they witnessed a Mad Max-style sequence involving fiery pyrotechnics and a huge truck converted into a galleon ship with 30-foot sails.

Another sequence for the Amazon series, filmed in the desert around 100 miles east of Los Angeles, was a play on the Nevada desert event The Burning Man – but this being a ‘car’ show, Clarkson chose to incinerate a “Burning Van”.

The production team also seem keen to attract a more happening crowd for the studio segments, which transported hundreds of extras for the crowd scenes using a fleet of around 40 buses.

Audience members were asked in phone interviews when they applied whether they had ever been to any outdoor rock concerts in the last year.

“I was told this was an attempt to weed out people who might have been, I don’t know, a bit old or boring, and the crowd was quite young,” said our source.

Another reason they were keen to get a younger audience was the trying nature of the filming. The heat has been described as “unbearable” by our person of the ground, despite producers providing plenty of water.

“There wasn’t much they could do about the sun-burn – there were a lot of red faces in the crowd as well,” they said.

Sadly there is no leaked footage of the filming: the production team ensure none of the audience members had phone with them when they travelled out to the shoot.

The first trailer  for the long-awaited show sees the trio racing across the desert, commandeering an army tank and generally adhering to Clarkson’s insistence that “looking good is more important than looking where you’re going.”

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Watch the trailer below.