The Grand Tour becomes most pirated show in history

Amazon’s Grand Tour, the comeback show of ex-Top Gear trio Clarkson, Hammond and May, has become the most illegally downloaded show in history.

It is believed to be one of the most expensive series of all time, costing a reported £160 million, and it's available exclusively to Amazon Prime subscribers paying the £79 a year fee.

However, data shared with the Mail on Sunday suggests that millions of viewers are skipping the fee and downloading The Grand Tour illegally from pirate websites.

Piracy market analysts Muso have provided the figures, saying that the first episode was illegally downloaded 7.9 million times, whilst the second hit 6.4 million, and then 4.6 million for the third.  British viewers accounted for the largest slice, making up 13.7 per cent of the total.

As much as £3.2 million in potential revenue for Amazon may have been lost on the show's debut episode, and that's just for Britain.

Chris Elkins, Muso's chief commercial officer, said: “It is the most illegally downloaded programme ever. It is off the scale in terms of volume.

“It has overtaken every big show, including Game Of Thrones, for the totals across different platforms.

“We monitor thousands of campaigns and this one really stands out.”

Whilst Amazon takes a secretive stance when it comes to exact figures of Prime subscribers, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimates that the global figure is 63 million.

The number of UK subscribers is hard to pinpoint, but back in March 2016 TV ratings firm Barb believed it could be around 1.6 million, behind rival Netflix's leading haul of 5 million households at the time.

No matter the exact figures, Amazon would have certainly been looking to The Grand Tour for a healthy, hefty boost to its Prime customer base here in the UK.

Clarkson, Hammond and May have become household names, as much for their theatrical squabbling as for their exuberant reviews of cars and indulgent globe-trotting challenges.

Clarkson's March 2015 sacking by the BBC, which saw his colleagues follow him out the door, led to a scramble for the trio's signatures.  Amazon's ultimate victory was seen as a massive coup.

Following news of the colossal illegal downloading figures, a spokesperson for Amazon said: “The Grand Tour has become the biggest show premiere ever on Amazon Prime Video, breaking records around the world.”

The £79 a year fee for UK Amazon Prime includes unlimited streaming of a range of movie and TV content through Prime Video.

There's also unlimited one-day delivery on millions of products, and unlimited same-day delivery for eligible post codes on selected items, as well as other benefits like Prime Photos and Prime Music.

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