“The biggest thing we had starting out was [Clarkson, Hammond and May]. Because that show was those three doing their thing, it’s not a great format in the way that X-Factor or Strictly are, there’s nothing you hang onto and just move it around. So we had those three, and that was fine.
“Then for the rest of it, the lawyers come in…
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist: there’s no Stig, there’s no track, there’s no Dunsfold [Aerodrome where various Top Gear stunts were filmed]. It actually wasn’t daunting because lots of the decisions were made for us.”
“The lawyers got funnier and funnier. This year we went to Namibia to make a big film. The lawyers got out a film we had done [for Top Gear] in Botswana and said ‘there’s a scene in there where you’re in the middle of the Okavango and you go “this scenery is beautiful”’.
“So watch that you don’t do that.”
“We were in the desert in Namibia, Skeleton Coast, and we’ve got to go ‘for legal reasons, this scenery is shit’.”
“There is [a leaderboard], but we can’t have handwritten stuff, that’s all got to change. Laws, you know.“
“Legally no. No, not at all.”
“No! Christ no. No. We’ll be watching the Queen’s Speech and For your Eyes Only.”
“We can’t call it ‘the news’.”
“The tea break’s changed, though that was never on the telly. We don’t give them crisps, it’s now biscuits, so that’s legally safe.”
“It got hilarious. You’ve got these meetings where you say ‘can James May still say cock, or are the BBC going to sue?’ And James is going ‘I’ve always said cock’.”
“Then we thought ‘hang on, if we get sued for James saying cock, that’s brilliant!’”
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