James May holds a Reddit Ask Me Anything session


James May has held an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on Reddit to help promote his new BBC Four show, James May: The Reassembler, but fans mostly asked questions about Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond.

Asking about his ‘scariest’ time on Top Gear, one user posted: “Hi James! Thanks for all the laughs over the years! I know you are here to talk about James May The Reassembler, but……… what was the scariest experience you’ve had while filming with the Top Gear team? And the funniest?” May replied: “The scariest was the first time I saw Jeremy Clarkson’s face. Come to think of it, that was also the funniest.”

After moving on from Top Gear, May made a series of videos on YouTube, titled ‘Unemployment Tube’, and one users wanted to know if we’ll see another series. May said: “Next time I’m fired, yes.”

Another Reddit user added: “If you had to bottle Jeremy Clarkson’s smell, how would you describe it?” In reply, May joked: “Disgusting.”

“Are you having more freedom to do stuff at the new show than at top gear?” asked another, with May saying: “We were always pretty free to do what we liked, to be honest.”


James joins a long list of other celebrities who have held ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions in the past, such as Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir David Attenborough, comedian Jerry Seinfeld and astronaut Chris Hadfield – who was orbiting the Earth at the time.

Here are some more questions which were asked, with James’ responses in italics.

  • Would you rather fight 100 duck sized Jeremy Clarkson’s or 1 horse sized Richard Hammond? The Clarksons.
  • What would you recommend to buy as a first car? I think the Ferrari 488 GTB is rather excellent
  • Hello James, are you going to continue your career as a Youtube chef? Difficult, I’ve already cooked everything I can do.
  • Are we allowed to ask when your new show with the other 2 fellas is coming out? The Autumn, or fall if you’re in the US. That’s as specific as I can be.
  • Where do you get your fashion inspiration from? Mainly from my wardrobe. It’s restocked by pixies in my absence.
  • Any chance we’ll see more Man Lab? The theme song still randomly gets lodged into my brain and I’m not sure how else to get it out. I’d like to do that one day. I have the theme tune as a ring tone. Really bloody annoying, isn’t it?
  • What in your opinion is the most impressive feat of modern day engineering? I think the 1959 Suffolk Colt lawnmower is pretty hard to beat.
  • Are you having more freedom to do stuff at the new show than at top gear? We were always pretty free to do what we liked, to be honest.
  • I know you play the piano so I’ve always wanted to ask you what your favourite genre of piano music is? And your favourite composer? Difficult, I like counterpoint and Bach, but also impressionism.
  • Any chance of doing another Oz and James series or something similar? I don’t know if he’s still alive. I’ll check and get back to you.
  • How happy are you that the phrase “Oh, cock” has entered the lexicon? I think it’s the only thing, if any, that will be remembered about me. I should have thought of something better.
  • What are your fondest memories of Lancaster Uni, or more importantly Pendle College? The constant and uninterrupted sunshine of Lancashire. No, hang on…
  • If you had to bottle Jeremy Clarkson’s smell, how would you describe it? Disgusting.
  • Did you ever get to properly work a Dacia Sandero, and if so, what was your final opinion of it? It seems like a perfectly reasonable vehicle. It’s a lot better than you’d think, and I like an underdog.
  • What’s the thing we can best look forward to in the new show? Also, bring back the James May cooking channel! The really great thing about the new show is that I’m in it.
  • How tired of being asked about Jeremy Clarkson are you? Are Dacias really your favourite cars? Very, possibly.
  • What items will you be reassembling? Petrol lawn mower, old telephone, electric guitar.
  • What’re you most looking forward to in the future of automobiles? A chauffeur.
  • I work a couple of units across the car park from you, would you like a coffee? Yeah. Bring it over.
  • Will you make more videos on Unemployment Tube? Next time I’m fired, yes.
  • James! Were you ever the stig, actually? Some say I was.
  • I’m a big fan of your ‘Cars of the People’ series. What is your personal favourite people’s car? Almost certainly the Austin Allegro Vanden Plas.
  • What is your relationship with Clarkson and the Hamster like outside of the show? Don’t know. Never met them.
  • Now that you’re employed, does that mean you’ve quit making poor-quality cooking videos for YouTube? I loved those, shittiness and all. No, I’ve quit making superb cooking videos for YouTube.
  • Any chance we get this in the states? Just finished up watching the car factory show (aka Building Cars Live), and I always enjoy watching your more technically oriented shows. If you mean ‘The Reassembler’, then yes, you will get it if a TV station buys it. They should.
  • I remember that you were quite skeptical about electric cars a few years ago because of the poor battery technology. You believed more in hydrogen power or some sort of range extender. Now though, with the success of Tesla and all their advancements, have you changed your opinion on how “the car of the future” will/should be powered? I still like the hydrogen idea, but I can see that it’s problematic. I have an electric car, a BMW i3. I think electric motors are great for cars, but electricity remains a bit elusive.
  • Do you ever wake up in the morning and think: how did I get here (in this job)? Yes, especially when ‘here’ is a skip or a ditch.
  • Do you have a favorite outtake from Top Gear? It was all out-takes, as far as I can remember.
  • When or why did you say “oh cock” for the first time? It was in Monaco, when I realised I’d lost the race against the Aston.
  • What is your favourite Sandwich? Fish fingers. White council bread, frozen Birds Eye fingers or similar fried in a pan, bit of salad cream or tommy sauce.
  • For you personally: LaFerrari, P1 or 918? LaFerrari.
  • What is your favourite thing to explain/delve into that the other two find boring? Relativity. They just don’t get it.
  • I know you have a pilots license, and have some, well, “unorthodox” experience with crossing the English Channel, and of course you have a wealth of automobile experience and time on trains from TG. What would you say is your preferred mode of travel? And do you prefer to drive yourself or be the passenger? I still like to drive myself. I still find driving amazing. I’m amazed we’re allowed to do it.
  • If you had to spend the rest of your life living with Clarkson or Hammond, which one would it be and why? Hammond. He takes up less space, so the house would seem bigger.
  • The trailer makes me feel calm somehow. May I ask you for a haiku about The Reassembler? The reassembler, Someone takes something to bits, I reassemble.
  • What is your vision of the automotive industry in 10, maybe 20 years? What areas will find innovation and what areas will stagnate? Everyone who has ever tried to answer this one has got it wrong. But, long-term, I think cars will become a hobby, and we’ll find some other way of getting around.
  • Where did the idea for the show come from? Also, was the line “I’ll be putting things back together, slowly,” a jab at the Captain Slow nickname? We’d been talking about it for years. And yes, maybe.
  • Always wondered: what do you smell like?  Swarfega.
  • Mr. May, you were “released” from Autocar magazine for hiding a message in one of their yearbooks. Have you since created any other hidden messages in any form of media that you are willing to divulge? There is a hidden message in this. I’m amazed no-one has spotted it.
  • Hi James, what video games have you played/do you play? Recently I have been playing Sky Gamblers and Pacific Fleet.
  • How many episodes of your new show have you filmed? What’s the coolest thing you’ve reassembled?  There are three episodes initially. The coolest thing I reassembled was a Honda C70. But I didn’t do it on the telly, sorry.
  • What cars do you currently own? And How big of a bell-end is Clarkson? Porsche 911 C2S, BMW i3, Fezza 458 Speciale, Massive.