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Bezos: ‘Clarkson series very, very, very expensive’

Amazon Top GearJeff Bezos has said Amazon’s upcoming motoring series with the former Top Gear team will be ‘very, very, very expensive”.

The Amazon founder and CEO told UK newspaper The Telegraph that recruiting the Top Gear team, who left the BBC show in the wake of a scandal that involved star presenter Jeremy Clarkson hitting a member of the production team, was a costly undertaking.

“They’re worth a lot and they know it,” he said.

Amazon beat off competition from Netflix and ITV for the former Top Gear team of Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond who will make a new motoring series for the Prime Instant Video streaming service. The deal also brings in former Top Gear exec producer Andy Wilman, who will work on the new, as yet untitled, series.

Bezos added that the upcoming show, which will be on Amazon Prime Instant Video, will be just one of a mix of high-profile programmes on the streaming service.

“It can’t just be one show; it has to be a number of things. We have a lot of things in the pipeline, which I think viewers in the UK and around the world are going to love, and I think Clarkson’s new show is going to be one of those.”

Netflix and Amazon have helped spearhead a new wave of high-end drama in recent years, and Bezos claimed that this is “a golden age of TV”.

“If you go back in time even just five years, you couldn’t get A-list talent to do TV serials, or, if you could, it was a rare thing. But that’s flipped completely,” he said.

Continuing in his appraisal of the original content and TV world, he added: “The investment is very high now in serialised TV, and the amount of time you have to tell a story is much greater. That format change opens up a lot of storytelling possibilities, which, when mixed with the movie-like production standards, and the A-list talent, is why we’re seeing amazing television.”