Choking back tears, Top Gear legend Jeremy Clarkson has announced The Grand Tour is ending.

He and his long-time mates James May and Richard Hammond are calling it quits after 17 years at the helm of TV's most popular car shows.

Clarkson fronted 22 series of Top Gear before being dumped by the BBC in 2015. He - along with co-hosts May and Hammond - then switched to Amazon for The Grand Tour, which will end after its third series.

Whilst filming the last series of The Grand Tour, Clarkson told the audience: "It's the end of an era."

Advertisement

Speaking to The Sun, Clarkson said: "It's a really sad day. I will miss the banter with each other and with the audience. But we've been doing that show for effectively 17 years — sitting around in studios, watching cars race around the track.

"There are only so many times you can watch a BMW go round the track — what more can you say? It's got four wheels and a seat. We all agreed that we've been doing it a long time and everything eventually runs its course. Besides, I'm 58 and I'm too fat to be climbing on to the stage."

It's not the last we'll see of the famous trio though; they've signed a new two-year deal with Amazon for at least four big-budget specials a year, which will be filmed around the world.

"They will be big exciting shows — proper event TV. We're not doing the big studios shows anymore. But we all love travelling and still enjoy each other's company after all these years.

"You get to the point where it's the specials, when we're out on the road in far-flung places, that we like doing the most.

"We did five in season three across the world in places like Mongolia and the US where we didn't have the studio tent. Amazon like them and they've done research that shows the audience like them, too."

Asked if they would have the same budget as the Grand Tour - up to $7 million an episode - he said: "Put it this way, Marvel will be jealous of our budgets."