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Streaming: Jolly japes on Tour, the voice of God on earth, and a tragic dud

The Grand Tour:  A Massive Hunt

Amazon Prime from Friday

Attenborough's Global Adventure

Sky Nature from December 20

Selena: The Series



Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May (Ian West/PA)

Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May (Ian West/PA)

Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May (Ian West/PA)

In one way, the time is so right for a caper-fuelled travelogue, like Grand Tour: A Massive Hunt. After all, we've been notably short on capers and travel of late.

We should be only aching to live vicariously through Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May as they swashbuckle through Madagascar in eye-popping HD. And yet, how times have changed since Amazon stumped up an equally eye-popping £160m for the rights to this show. Sneering at natives, sighing at global warming concerns, and roaring through paradise in expensive cars all seem totally out of step with the moment. The length of time since the trio were last seen on screens - nearly a year - also suggests a certain buyer's remorse on the part of the streaming giant.

And yet, it can't be denied that, this series, which was filmed a year ago, plays brilliantly to its base, many of whom will have subscribed to Prime just to watch it. The premise is that the trio head to the French island of Réunion before being challenged by producer Andy Wilman to go on a 'treasure hunt' to Madagascar. As is standard with the Grand Tour specials, they're given their own bespoke piece of car porn, a V8 Bentley Continental for Clarkson, a Ford Focus FS for Hammond and some class of esoteric race car for May. All three vehicles get souped up with steel and JCB-ish tracks until they look like something from Mad Max by way of Paw Patrol. As is also standard, they get lost several times, rope the natives into cringey japes and make dad jokes to beat the band (the title pun gives you a flavour), backdropped by scenery so luscious, you almost suspect it's CGI.

Unlike Top Gear, but like the other Grand Tour specials, there is a whiff here that much of the banter is scripted. Besides that, the objections that it's all run its course a bit might be true, but this is more because it's all been done before and better (by the three amigos themselves), than because it's politically incorrect. Five years ago, when it was pulling in eight million viewers an episode on the BBC, Top Gear was already considered retrograde, but it survived because it remained good antic fun. Sweating on Madagascan backroads, Clarkson is less the conservative fulminator you expect from his columns, and more Toad of Toad Hall with a passport, and while this series might not exactly chime with the seriousness of 2020, it does provide the vicarious thrill of watching other people have fun.

Some dads, it must be admitted, never go out of style. One trusts the BBC has long since put cloning arrangements in place for David Attenborough, whose hushed and assured reverence of nature might be closest thing we have to the voice of God. That being the case, we can indulge a little playing of his greatest hits, which is what Attenborough's Global Adventure, effectively is. It begins with the period in the 1980s when Attenborough went electric ("embraced new technologies") and follows him across time zones and continents, breathlessly marvelling at the frozen tundra of South Georgia, colonies of King Penguins at the South Pole and the world's largest migration of Hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos Islands.

Most of this stuff was, at some point, played before but it's refreshing to see how little imposition of twee human narratives there was in this classic series. And for all the climate angst that infuses his recent work, his is the species extinction BBC bosses fear the most.

The last few years have been a boon time for music biopics, with films like Rocket Man and Bohemian Rhapsody crowding the film charts. The time seemed right, therefore, for another go at the story of '90s pop tragedienne, Selena. Unfortunately, Netflix's new series on the life of the late singer barely skims the surface of a woman who was, no doubt, a complex character, and doesn't come close to the Jennifer Lopez vehicle, which covered the same material. Like many Netflix series, it feels like it takes far too long to get to the point (we always know her death is coming) and the streaming giant gives us the telly equivalent of a lump of coal in the stocking.

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