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James May on episode 200 of The Intercooler podcast

2 months ago

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Dan Prosser | Ti co-founder


26 February 2024

For somebody who was – by his own admission – unambitious as a young man with no career plan to speak of, James May has done rather well for himself. He’s become one of this country’s most loved television personalities, but he’s known right around the world too. Even among vendors of roadside snacks in remote parts of the Middle East, apparently.

James was the perfect guest for the 200th episode of The Intercooler podcast. We knew we needed a very special guest to mark that milestone, and once somebody had mentioned his name, I wanted nobody else. The full 90-minute episode is available right now wherever you get your podcasts, or you can watch the full YouTube video here.

Even better, James agreed to travel from his home in London to our podcast studio in Bristol so we could have a more natural conversation. He’s always insightful and funny when he speaks so I knew what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect him to repeatedly quote bits of our earlier podcasts back at us – if you’re a regular listener, you’re in good company.

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In the episode we talk about his early career working for car magazines, the remarkable turn of events that saw him go from unemployed former subeditor to regular Car magazine columnist and, in just a few short years, television presenter on the studio-format Top Gear. He explains why that show was so successful (it became the most-watched factual TV show globally) and why his slightly fractious relationship with co-hosts Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond was central to it.

We discuss his time on The Grand Tour, including the latest special, Sand Job, an epic Saharan adventure in homemade off-road sports cars. James also shares his views on the future of motoring. Despite having owned six electric cars of one kind or another, he’s still not convinced they are the long-term solution we need. He talks about his own cars too, including a Ferrari 458 Speciale, a 2010 Porsche 911 and an Alpine A110, plus his rather less glamorous VW Polo and Fiat Panda.

If you enjoy the episode, please do share it on your social media feeds or send it to a couple of friends. We’d like our 200th episode to reach as far and wide as possible.

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