Review: James May’s Cars of the People | Virgin Media
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Review: James May’s Cars of the PeopleAired Sunday 24th January at 9pm on BBC Two (CH 102) | Rating: ★★★

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Petrolheads of all persuasions would have been in a very happy place last night, as James May indulged in all kinds of car-geekery and paid homage to German engineering. Who’d have seen that coming?

In a nutshell

He may have left Top Gear, but James May still clearly has a place on the BBC. Namely, that of the resident automobile nerd, a job he has always excelled at. Always the most calmly affable of the TG trio, he was in his element last night, casting a fond eye back at the rise of the German and Japanese car industries – an incredible commercial feat, given how both nations were crushed during World War Two.

The show’s emphasis on resolutely ordinary cars – the Honda Accord! – made it an amusing nostalgia trip for people over a certain age, although there was a certain sadness when we came to the grim Austin Allegro, the car whose woeful reputation made it a laughing stock in the early 80s and caused actual damage to the UK car industry. Rather more appealing eye candy was also present in the form of the odd Mustang and E-Type, not to mention James May’s flowing locks. Hey, he’s probably a heartthrob to some, right? 

What's the verdict?

Rather like the original, pre-cool iteration of Top Gear, this was “dad” viewing at its finest. The kind of programme best enjoyed with pale blue denim jeans on and a flat lukewarm pint of ale to hand. As Alan Partridge might say: lovely stuff.

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