Amazon folds up Grand Tour tent for season four

Friday’s return of The Grand Tour marked the beginning of the end for at least one part of Amazon Prime Video’s car show.

They’ll be tossing the tent after this season — and that’s not a bad thing.

Season 3 is the last in which Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May will sit and talk about cars during the weekly episodes. Amazon last month renewed the show for a fourth season but said future seasons will feature only road trips. So no more celebrity segments, awkward interactions with a studio audience or talking about the latest news from the car industry.

“Season 4 will see the guys ditch the tent to take on big adventure road trips that we know Prime members love,” explained the streaming service on Twitter.

In other words, if you like watching the trio behind their table or seeing celebrities driving around a test track, enjoy it this season because it won’t last.

This is a good move for the trio, formerly seen on BBC’s Top Gear, which is at its best mixing it up on the road. And it’s good for Amazon Prime as well, which counts the car show as a jewel in its original programming lineup.

So what are fans going to miss about the tent? Not much. The first season of The Grand Tour saw the demise of a celebrity guest each week, as part of a running joke that got old by the third episode, and which isn’t a good sign for a 13-episode season. It didn’t help that Clarkson, Hammond and May seemed to feel the same way as the season went on. The concept never made it past that first season, but the desire to have a celebrity aspect to the show didn’t disappear.

Celebrities were also a big part of sit-downs in the tent: the series even had a Celebrity Face Off in Season 2, pairing stars to compete on a road course. But those were a bit of a bust. If the pairing was a bad match, the segment became really boring really quick. And watching British cricketers and Welsh actors compete against American celebrities like David Hasselhoff, Stewart Copeland of the Police and former MLB relief pitcher Brian Wilson just wasn’t appealing.