James May pleased to ditch Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond on new TV show
James May swiped at Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond by admitting he was "pleased" to be rid of them on his new Amazon Prime travel show.
The Grand Tour host, 59, is set to tour sunny Italy with the latest series of his travel show, Our Man in Italy, which launches on Prime July 15.
The travel show comes after the success of Our Man in Japan in 2020, where James explored all that Japan had to offer.
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This time, the Top Gear legend has descended on Europe and will be roaming around Italy's historic landmarks and idyllic countryside, from the streets of Sicily to the Dolomites mountains.
During his stint, James will be getting stuck into the country's culture as he indulges in food, fancy dress, and water sports.
However, he revealed he wasn't tempted to phone up his TV tour buddies Clarkson or Hammond for the ride, during a chat with Daily Star and other press.
In fact, he was excited to escape their company as they have an irritating habit of interrupting him when they make TV shows together.
He said: "No, wasn’t tempted to phone them up. I was quite pleased not to have them, to be honest. They interrupt a lot, which is annoying. When I’m making a TV show by myself, I can just keep going. It’s great!"
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He added: "Until the crew tell me to shut up."
James, Jeremy and Richard used to host Top Gear together until 2015, when they left the BBC to present The Grand Tour on Prime from 2016 onwards.
May confirmed the trio have finished filming the fifth special of The Grand Tour in Norway, and that it will air later this year.
It's not just a dreamy vacation for James, because he'll be thrown into several challenges during the trip, including a chaotic canoe paddling session, which he said made him feel "pervy".
Asked what his most embarrassing moment was from the series, he said: "It would be canoe polo, because I don’t fit in the canoe. I’ve only ever driven a canoe, so what do you do with the canoe? Paddle the canoe. I’ve only done that once or twice in my life and that was many years ago.”
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"I was playing against a lot of 18 and 19 year old women, so I was hopelessly outclassed and to be honest, I felt a bit pervy. Maybe because I’ve become a product of the woke age, but it didn’t seem right, and I looked terrible in those leggings things. I just looked like a really bad ballerina."
"It’s all fairly embarrassing. Being on television is embarrassing!"
He reckoned his crew are a "little bit kinky" about dressing him up in various outfits, such as a suit of armour that fans will see on the series.
He insisted his crew and producers want him to have a "terrible time" during filming, but he's forced to go along with it as it makes good TV.
Asked if there's ever things he doesn't like doing on the shoots, he replied: "All the time! This is how we construct the show. I would say ‘I’d like to do this, this and this’ and they rather grudgingly allow me to do those things. But then the crew and the producers come up with surprises, because it just makes better telly if I don’t know what’s coming up, but if I was left to my own devices I would do crafts, art, I’d look at famous buildings, food, I’d do some lying in bed, I would explore some famous spas.
"The crew and producers basically want me to be uncomfortable, dress up. Have a terrible time and hurt myself, so there’s lots of things like canoe polo, playing the bagpipes, going up high buildings where I thought ‘Oh God, must I?’, but of course I must, because that’s my job."
May also confessed there were plenty of arguments surrounding cheese during the making of the programme.
He said: "It’s all a bit chaotic, because it’s Italy. That is another cliche but they would be the first to acknowledge it. Italy has a level of disorganisation about it. The episode where I make the goat’s cheese – starting with the goat and milking it. But for some reason, anything to do with cheese always causes a massive argument. There’s something about the subject of cheese that inflames the Italians in some way."
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On the topic of food, James said it was hard to keep the pounds off and he got a "bit tubby" during the trip, given how much great food Italy has and that he didn't get much time to go cycling, an activity he does "every day" at home.
Fans will be delighted to hear James is up for doing more series after Italy.
Asked if he'd do more shows in other countries, he replied: "Oh, yeah. We’ve talked about various bits of South America, the Caribbean, India, the USA obviously because we had that one planned. Some people have suggested China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand. To be honest, you could do England. I don’t think Amazon would love to see that, but we could do England or Scotland or Wales, or all three of them combined."
The original plan was for May to venture across America, but they had to cancel filming due to the pandemic.
James May: Our Man in Italy launches on Prime Video July 15.
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