Serious stuff James May speaks out after whole shoot for The Grand Tour cancelled

The Grand Tour: James May reveals ’challenges’ of filming

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Presenter James May, 58, has addressed a “whole shoot” which was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic at the start of last year. The motoring expert told how the trio had initially planned to travel to Russia to film a Grand Tour special, which ended up being cancelled as the UK went into lockdown days later.

I’ve never had a whole shoot cancelled like that – it was serious stuff

James May

The team revealed that in March they were preparing to travel to Russia to film another Amazon Prime special.

Discussing the technicalities of travelling and filming at the start of the pandemic, showrunner Andy Wilman compared the process to that of being in a “Hollywood movie”.

Attempting to stay one step ahead of what would happen next, Jeremy explained that they eventually decided to cancel the show in Russia.

He said: “We had to pull out with hours to spare, days at most.

“We could sense this lockdown was coming.

“So we pulled it, and then we were closed down [on March 23], so thank God we did,” he added.

James, who presented alongside Jeremy on Top Gear for 12 years, said that it was the first time a shoot had ever been cancelled.

He said: “I’ve never had a whole shoot cancelled like that – it was serious stuff.”

The star went on to claim that a month before the show was pulled he was convinced he had coronavirus, despite not being tested.

“It was never confirmed but in February last year I had a fever, cough, shortness of breath, no sense of taste or smell.

“I was an early adopter. I like to be ahead of the curve,” he told The Radio Times.

The trio went on to film Lochdown in Scotland, bringing with them their own coronavirus testing facilities to test the 60 people involved in filming every day.

Days ago, James told Express.co.uk that producers have a “big plan” for him, Jeremy and Richard Hammond following the cancellation of the Russia show.

Discussing the Lochdown special, Richard continued: “Obviously what sets it aside is the circumstances under which we came to make it because we were going to Russia and we couldn’t.

“And then we said to Amazon, ‘Look we can’t deliver you a big special right now but can we go and do something of a slightly more modest scale.’

“They said, ‘Yeah let’s just get something made, there’s an appetite for this, let’s get it done and out there.’

“And so it kind of took the pressure off us in a way and I think you can see that in the show.”

Looking to the future, Richard added: “We’d love to be released back out into the world and go and find exciting, far-flung places to go again and we shall when the time is right.

“These things take a lot of planning and a lot of setting up. In the meantime, it’s just an absolute joy to be able to go out.”

Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times – out now or available to read here.

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