The BEST episodes written by James May

Mini Motorcycle
star
8.20
90 votes

#1 - Mini Motorcycle

James May: The Reassembler - Season 2 - Episode 3

As James May spends most of his spare time in his workshop tinkering around with old motorbikes, we thought we'd film it. James is faced with reassembling a 1970s Honda Z50A Mini Trail Motorcycle from all its 303 component parts. This exciting and portable mini motorcycle was fun for all the family and got a whole generation of kids hooked on motorcycles for the rest of their lives. This is an object James can't wait to reassemble, but along the way he faces a very real and very hostile battle with some springs, ponders over correct workshop etiquette and contemplates the lifelong debate - what's the difference between a bolt and a screw?

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Lego
star
8.15
364 votes

#2 - Lego

James May's Toy Stories - Season 1 - Episode 5

James attempts to build the world's first full-size house made entirely out of Lego bricks. With thousands of people and over three million Lego bricks, James attempts to do what no-one has ever managed, to build a two-storey house using this colourful toy. Such an ambitious undertaking is not without its problems and James soon has issues with planning regulations, an interior designer who can't get her Lego furniture to stay in one piece and a structural engineer who tries desperately to stop everything from coming crashing down.

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Meccano
star
8.00
215 votes

#3 - Meccano

James May's Toy Stories - Season 1 - Episode 3

James joins forces with Edwina Currie to build a full-size bridge from nothing but Meccano. Top engineers pitch incredible designs, but the project soon careers out of control when the Meccano does not arrive and James realises it will take longer to build than he imagined. A last-minute accident also means that James's bridge may never see the light of day.

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Christmas: Hornby Train Set
star
7.99
101 votes

#4 - Christmas: Hornby Train Set

James May: The Reassembler - Season 2 - Episode 1

Much like Santa Claus, James May has spent the year in his workshop getting ready for Christmas, in a festive special in which he reassembles his favourite childhood Christmas present. But this isn't just any Christmas present, this is the one that changed his life and sent him on to a path of mechanical intrigue and reassembly. This is the Hornby Flying Scotsman with realistic chuffing sounds which James ripped open on Christmas Day 1972. Laid out in all its 138 tiny component parts, James lovingly reassembles the train as well as his memories of Christmases and toys past. From the exhilarating re-magnetising of the motor's magnets to some thrilling wheel-quartering amidst a backdrop of James's continued bafflement of electricity, we watch as James rebuilds the entire train set and hopes at the end his Christmas wish will come true and the train will start up and realistically chuff into the night.

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Portable Record Player
star
7.96
79 votes

#5 - Portable Record Player

James May: The Reassembler - Season 2 - Episode 4

Back in the 1950s listening to music meant sitting around with your mum and dad and having to listen to whatever drivel they wanted, but thankfully along came the portable record player, which helped gave birth to the teenager and a magical music revolution. James May reassembles the past to hear what it sounded like as he pieces together the 195 parts of the game-changing 1963 Dansette Bermuda portable record player. James reminisces about his teenage years and what it was like growing up in the 1970s as he takes us on a journey through sound and mechanical wonderment. James falls in love with the beautiful mechanisms that lie in the belly of the beast, finds the perfect solution to his soldering dilemma and has a rather exciting new screwdriver to show us.

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Food Mixer
star
7.93
90 votes

#6 - Food Mixer

James May: The Reassembler - Season 2 - Episode 2

When it comes to cooking James May is not the first name that comes to mind, but when it comes to reassembling cooking appliances, James is your man. In this episode James reassembles the 135 parts that make up a 1960s Kenwood Chef a701a Food Mixer. This literal food revolution is responsible for mixing more cake batter than Mary Berry has mixed in her entire lifetime. On James' journey to reassembling the food mixer he comes face to face with some mind-boggling components that will all come together to work in unison in the hope of making a chocolate cake mix. From reassembling the planetary gear system and the AC electric motor James muses on the imperial measurement system and shows of his trendy new magnification head gear as he attempts some dreaded soldering.

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Man Lab Orchestra
star
7.79
387 votes

#7 - Man Lab Orchestra

James May's Man Lab - Season 1 - Episode 3

Outnumbered star Hugh Dennis takes on a wallpapering challenge, the Man Lab orchestra prepares for its debut concert at famous London church St Martin-in-the-Fields, and the experts build their own cinema, complete with popcorn and a Wurlitzer organ. The team also constructs a sky rocket, two men settle a 25-year-old quarrel by duelling with sabres, and James uses modern technology to help a man on a first date. Last in the series.

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Lawnmower
star
7.74
131 votes

#8 - Lawnmower

James May: The Reassembler - Season 1 - Episode 1

James is faced with the 331 pieces that make up a 1959 petrol lawnmower. The Suffolk Colt helped make mowing accessible to the masses by producing a smaller and affordable machine to keep our nation's lawns at regulation height. As this is a petrol lawnmower, James's first task is to put the engine back together before he gets to grips with the gearing, the clutch and the blades themselves. Armed only with his toolbox and an endless supply of tea, James experiences the highs and lows only possible when attempting to put history back together again, piece by piece.

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Airfix
star
7.70
302 votes

#9 - Airfix

James May's Toy Stories - Season 1 - Episode 1

James takes model aeroplanes to a new level when he tries to make a full-size Spitfire out of Airfix. The venture soon hits problems when it becomes clear the giant 36-foot pieces may not be strong enough, and nobody knows how they will fit together. James hopes he can enthuse a group of reluctant teenagers to help him pull it off - but he soon realises he has another big battle on his hands convincing them it is a hobby to be proud of.

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Scalextric
star
7.66
250 votes

#10 - Scalextric

James May's Toy Stories - Season 1 - Episode 4

James attempts to construct the world's longest Scalextric track at Brooklands in Surrey.

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Telephone
star
7.59
133 votes

#11 - Telephone

James May: The Reassembler - Season 1 - Episode 2

James tackles a 1957 Bakelite dial telephone - 211 pieces, most of them very small indeed, must be reassembled in the correct order if this telephone is ever to ring again. From the receiver with its carbon filings that enable speech to be amplified, to the electrical pulses created by the dial itself that connect the phone to the outside world, James soon discovers that every single piece of the telephone played a crucial role in revolutionising communication around the world.

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Navigate the Seas
star
7.52
363 votes

#12 - Navigate the Seas

James May's Man Lab - Season 1 - Episode 2

James navigates the high seas the old-fashioned way - instead of SatNav, he must avoid sand banks and shipping lanes using only a compass and a dog as navigational tools. Plus, James engages in a duel over a parking space, starts an orchestra and builds a pub. And in Celebrity Man Skills, John Sergeant changes a tyre.

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Electric Guitar
star
7.41
133 votes

#13 - Electric Guitar

James May: The Reassembler - Season 1 - Episode 3

James concludes his quest to truly understand everyday objects by putting them back together piece by piece with an electric guitar. 147 pieces must be reassembled carefully and in the correct order, which will entail soldering, extensive use of James's precision Japanese screwdrivers and some fiddly electronics. The electric guitar transformed the music industry and society itself and, channelling his namesake Brian, James will plug in his reassembled guitar and hope he put all the bits together correctly as he gets ready to perform one of most unexpected guitar solos of all time.

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Hornby
star
7.28
248 votes

#14 - Hornby

James May's Toy Stories - Season 1 - Episode 6

James links Barnstaple to Bideford with the world's longest model train set.

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Defuse an Unexploded Bomb
star
7.18
519 votes

#15 - Defuse an Unexploded Bomb

James May's Man Lab - Season 1 - Episode 1

The first of a new series that sees James May on a mission to save modern man - from themselves. From his Man Lab HQ, James and his team set out on a series of action-packed challenges that will help modern man relearn some of the vital skills, once cherished by his forefathers, that are now in danger of being lost forever. In this episode, we learn how to defuse an unexploded bomb, build a kitchen out of concrete, how to serenade a woman, transform a fishfinger sandwich, and create the world's first motorised picnic table.

James May's Top Toys
star
7.00
1 votes

#16 - James May's Top Toys

BBC Documentaries - Season 2005 - Episode 16

A celebration of the toys which have survived across the decades, presented by a man who still plays with them. When James May was three, his father gave him a toy car for Christmas, and a life behind the wheel and under a bonnet became his destiny. Forty-two-year-old James takes us on a tour of his childhood mind as he rifles through his boy toy favourites which include Meccano, Lego, Scalectrix, Airfix and, his all time number one toy, the train set. His love of engineering and building things has shaped the ingredients of his entire toy cupboard. There's not a microchip in sight. He still plays with his toys - still loves building things with his various sets. Each toy prompts a story - a history told via archive, anecdote and obsessive collector.

Plasticine
star
6.98
189 votes

#17 - Plasticine

James May's Toy Stories - Season 1 - Episode 2

James tries to make a garden entirely out of Plasticine and then enter it at the Chelsea Flower Show. He persuades thousands of members of the British public to help make the thousands of Plasticine flowers he needs, but will it be enough to persuade the guardians of the world's most prestigious horticultural event to let him make a garden with no real flowers in it? While visiting celebrities like Stephen Fry and Joanna Lumley are clearly impressed with James's creation, the RHS judges take a dimmer view, forcing James to defy tradition and take matters into his own hands.

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