Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have been given a massive €220 million budget for their new motoring show, making it one of the most expensive programmes in UK TV history.

The former Top Gear trio have signed a deal with Amazon Prime to host 36 episodes – 12 a year - of their currently untitled series.

Producer Andy Wilman acknowledged that it was the promise of a reported £160 million budget that swung Clarkson and co towards Amazon. The show will have a budget of around £4.5m (€6.4m) per episode.

Wilman admitted, despite the hair-raising figures involved: "It was very parochial the way this whole thing started. It's not our forte doing deals. We're all crap at business."

Wilman explained that the gang of four looked through their various offers and decided that their main priorities were complete editorial freedom, a big budget and no car advertisements.

Netflix and other US services were apparently interested, while UK broadcaster ITV also courted the quartet. "We love the people down at ITV, but we couldn't do it," Wilman said.

As for Amazon, Wilman said: "Every one we have talked to has told us: 'They leave you alone to make your show'. That's a big one for us - we don't like interference, we don't need to be policed."

Episodes in the as yet unnamed show will be around an hour long and will be released weekly in the UK, US and Germany, with a proposed launch date of autumn 2016.