Jeremy Clarkson has said that fame came suddenly to the Top Gear team, with the presenters propelled from a niche audience to a global one.
The Grand Tour host said that the emergence of satellite TV catapulted himself and co-stars Richard Hammond and James May to international fame.
Following their exit from the BBC, the trio have continued their car-themed travel shows and their global appeal with The Grand Tour.
Speaking to Steve Wright on BBC Radio 2, Clarkson said that recognition came rapidly thanks to new technology.
He said: "It happened very quickly, it was when we used to work at the Beeb.
"Satellite television happened.
"One minute you were shown to a handful of Subaru enthusiasts in the north of England, then all of a sudden we started to be recognised everywhere, because the BBC is a global entity.
"We became quite well-known around the world, it was the most watched programme around the world."
The third series of The Grand Tour will not be Clarkson's only presence on TV screens.
Taking over from Chris Tarrant, he has settled into the role of quizmaster on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
Clarkson has paid tribute to the style of the former host, but admitted he is a very different host.
He said: "Tarrant did it for 273 years didn't he, and it was fantastic, we all loved it.
"He was tolerant of everyone wasn't he, he was just a nice person I think fundamentally, and I'm just not.
"So if someone comes on and they're playing only to win some new kitchen units, I think that's wasting the audience's time... you've done nothing.
"I'm not going to be nice to them if they do that."
By Craig Simpson, Press Association