The collective lie down on the sofa led us to the new Jeremy Clarkson vehicle, Grand Tour on Amazon Originals. I am not a Clarksonist. I would go as far as to say that I actively disliked Top Gear, his old show for the BBC. It involved too many men in bad dad jeans, too many Boden shirts and too much dreaded “banter”, the ironic modern male replacement for conversation.

But Clarkson is a clever bloke and in Grand Tour he has reinvented the television format. That is no exaggeration. I mean it. For the last thirty years or so entertainment has rested on the invention of formats and their sale in different territories as a franchise, remade with local presenters. “You heard of the Apprentice?” a New York friend asked me recently. Yes. We have that. Everyone does, although I heard a rumour the French tried and failed to import the ghastly show which gives capitalism a bad name. By week three a French judge had ruled one of the tasks set for competitors a breach of human rights. The original cast had grown from 20 to 35, and not a single contestant had been fired. And they were all on strike.

Top Gear was a rare exception to the standard TV format model in that the three presenters did not need to be replaced with locals in foreign markets. The orginal show travelled. But it was always rooted in that studio in Britain, with a Brit audience and a centre of gravity that lay on a rainy racetrack somewhere in the British countryside.

In Grand Tour, Clarkson has made a show that is truly of the globalisation era. Not only are the production values of outstanding cinematic quality. The key development is that the show tours the world each week with a different destination. It was the US in week one, South Africa in episode two, with Clarkson as the global circus ringmaster. He is the first – I think – to do it quite this way.

Half way through the off switch needed applying, however, because there were too many men shouting “953 horse power… you bad, bad motor car” for my family’s tastes. ‎Even by then it was clear that Clarkson has created something inherently modern and British. ‎His Grand Tour is irreverent, relaxed, a bit smug, well-made, outward-looking, and a fantastic money-spinner.

Fantastic Beasts‎, the film that is a spin-off from Harry Potter is all that and more, minus the annoying smugness of the Clarkson venture. Not only is the film terrific; it is another reminder of the heft, the impressive soft power, that Britain enjoys thanks to its creativity and the luck of having created a global language.

As my Potterist son agreed: if anything Fantastic Beasts is superior to the original Potter films. And while it is set in New York (under attack from a rogue magical force) the main character is played brilliantly by Britain’s Eddie Redmayne. His performance is maximum Britishness abroad, like a young Hugh Grant with added apologetic mumbling, hidden steel and awkward sensitivity. Even better, although rough and tough 1920s New York is the star, the centre of wizarding gravity is clearly, it is implied throughout, Britain and Hogwarts School in Scotland.

‎Potter ‎in terms of books and film is perhaps the biggest popular culture export produced by this country since the Beatles or, the other side of the same coin, the Rolling Stones, or maybe Bowie.

This weekend the latest documentary on the London blues band that is still rolling, working their magic, aired on television. A few weeks ago an evocative Beatles retrospective on their touring years was in cinemas, making it all look like a very long time ago. It is fifty years ago this year that the Beatles last played live for a paying audience, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. In contrast, the new Stones touring documentary – Ole Ole Ole, available for a month on Channel 4 on-demand – shows the band on tour this year across South and Latin America, culminating in a performance in Cuba. As a Stones fanatic I’ve seen all these “rockumentary” films down the decades and have grown weary of the clichés and self-mythologising of rock stars. This was something else entirely, a beatifully made document that captured the enthusisam and stories of fans in countries such as Argentina. The band seemed to relax too, and the section in which Jagger and Richards reminisced about composing was as poignant as they come. Catch it if you can.

The magic of the Stones lies in their gift for mining the globe, pilfering and melding blues, rock’n’roll, pop, country, gospel and soul, exporting the results back to the US, and then onto the world. It is a quintisessentially British trading story, and while they invented a global style, of rock’n’roll chic that borrows from libertine France and rocking America, they are London at heart. The band’s members still live in the UK, apart from Keith Richards, who keeps a second home at Redlands, in East Wittering, but lives mostly in the US.

All this British popular culture is immensely good news, when the temptation amid all the current Brexit uncertainty – and the mess the government is making of it so far – is to over do the gloom about the UK’s prospects. I do not mean to suggest that the popular cultural clout of the Grand Tour, J.K. Rowling and the Stones will feature in the negotiations to come with the EU. Anyway, Clarkson was anti-Brexit, and Rowling too, I think. The Stones in their anecdotage avoid politics.

But ‎those successes are a reminder that we should have a bit more faith in what the UK can do. Between the apocalyptic moaning of the Remainiacs (“we’ve committed national suicide!”) and the Poujadiste and inherently un-British meanderings of Nigel Farage and his closest mates – contemptuous of British institutions, crudely nationalistic, closed, small, probably wearing Union Flag boxer shorts – it looks as though we’re doomed to perish, trapped by the extremes. Nonsense. As feelgood emblems of Britain, give me the Stones, Rowling, and even a dash of the Grand Tour, any day over Farage and friends.

Britain has its problems, certainly, not least of which is the epic debt that is a hangover from the last financial crisis. Brexit itself will be tricky to navigate and if Theresa May thinks it is is difficult now just wait a year or so.

Still, the excessive gloom ‎about Brexit and the country’s longer term prospects long ago tipped from a genuine expression of concern into a fixation on failure that is turning into a mania. It has induced – in the gloomiest commentators – a bizarre parochialism, bizarre considering that they are so annoyed about the UK leaving the EU and like to present themselves as internationalists. If Britain has its challenges, they are as nothing compared to the dire state in which the EU finds itself it. Populism is on the rise; Hungary is in revolt; the single currency has bought misery to parts of the EU; France, wonderful France, is France; borders are not secure; and in the federalist Jean Claude Juncker the EU has the worst possible leadership at a critical moment. When one reads in the Observer that the 27 states of the EU have decided to punish Britain, it is unintentionally revealing. They’re scared others might eventually want to leave. A club that never let’s you leave or punishes you for trying is not much of a club.

These troubles of the EU should not be celebrated. Indeed, a self-confident and successful core EU would make a much easier negotiating partner for the UK. A bloc in decline may lash out, and make mistakes, such as attacking the City of London, on which the euro depends to make the eurozone debt machine go round.

Our aim throughout should be a positive relationship with our friends and neighbours, and a renewed concentration – in Nato, or perhaps even a post-Trump successor organisation – on strengthening Europe’s defences and intelligence capability against Russian incursion. Britain we should not forget goes into its Brexit talks as Europe’s leading military power (in need of rebuilding after cuts) with nuclear arms when security is starting to matter again.

We do not need to cower. While a good deal, and good relations, are what Britain seeks, we should not be overly afraid. There is a whole world of opportunity out there.