The Grand Tour – Operation Desert Stumble Review


If last week’s show was a refined diamond of Top Gears Coal, then this week’s show demonstrates a branching out into different but not quite as successful selling stones. In motoring speak it could be said there was a bit of a misfire.

By this I mean they clearly tried something new with this week’s episode in having a large portion of the ‘feature piece’ being the three leads themselves participating in high edit humour with no vehicles.

While certainly not averse to more content of the three leads without cars, in fact some of Top Gears funniest moments were the three mucking around just together anyway, I felt this highly edited take on the three friends humour just did not hit the mark.

Despite this the episode did indeed have some positives, including but not limited to showing off possibly the most beautiful Aston martin ever built (minus the db5 of course). And, the way in which the show still pokes fun at the celebrity portion of Top Gear, however one does wonder how long that will go on for.

It felt like this episode was much more of a series filler than prime content (excuse the pun), the brief interview with a man who built his own car for example shows that just maybe they were looking for things to fill a time slot. After all, how many whacky adventure is it possible to go on in one season before they just become the norm.

This episode felt like a step in a different direction, and while it might have been a misstep it does show the production team are not only looking to use the refined Top Gear format, but to also try and take the series down some other paths to help identify itself much more as the Clarkson, Hammond and May show. The leads do seem to be enjoying themselves and that alone does make ‘Operation Desert Stumble’ worth watching and in this case, it seems they are almost living out their own fantasies. To be honest who can blame them.

Production is very much aware people who watch The Grand Tour will be fans of the protagonists and therefore watching them do anything even remotely entertaining is what viewers want. I do get what they were doing in this episode, trying to make a mini action move style feature (even referencing Tom Cruise and ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ in which the hilarity comes from the ineptitude of the cast, however as stated several times already, it just doesn’t really work.


Operation Desert Stumble was indeed that for the series, a stumble and left the viewer with a ‘ok what did I just watch’ feeling. However, despite this enough fun can still be had with the presenters to make it worth a watch. The next episode will be just as eagerly anticipated as this one was, but with a hope for some of the flare that made the season opener so great.



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