Wilman is the unseen engine of The Grand Tour machine, making international stars out of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, and putting their adventures on the road, including a new special episode premiering on December 13.
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He has worked with Clarkson since reinventing Top Gear for the BBC in 2002 and was central to the negotiations that took the four of them to Amazon in 2015 as part of a deal reportedly worth £160M ($206M).
But after nearly two decades steeped in factual entertainment television, Wilman is eyeing the next turn of the wheel in his career, with the drama business calling.
The executive producer said he would “absolutely love” to move into the scripted space and has an idea for a feature film, which he intends to write in a “couple of years.” He was wary about revealing more details, however.
“I’ve got an idea for a film, but I’m not going to tell you. I can’t because then some other f****r will have it. I’ve had one for ages, which I want to do and when I get the courage, I will write it and then we’ll see what happens,” Wilman explained. “At some point I have to lance that boil… one day I will do that. I’ll lock the door and tell everyone to f***k off.”
He said that The Grand Tour is not “a mile off on the structure and the principles” of drama, pointing in particular to the specials, such as the upcoming feature-length episode, The Grand Tour presents: Seamen.
“We’ve got as good a grounding as anybody because of these big specials, they do have to follow a loose structure of three acts or else you’re never going to get to the end holding viewers,” he said. “I remember going on the Robert McKee screenwriting course and the things that he teaches you about negatives and positives and negatives, you can’t have two positive scenes together.”
Wilman acknowledged, however, that the transition won’t be easy. He said: “I’m overawed by their structure and discipline and foresight and planning [in drama]. And I’m thinking, “Oh, my God, I couldn’t do that.””