EXCLUSIVE: The Grand Tour presenter James May is plotting his next show for Amazon — and it could involve pitching a version of his BBC Two series James May’s Man Lab.
May has filmed a three-month tour of Japan for his first solo Amazon project, James May: Our Man In Japan, and has been encouraged to think up new adventures for the streaming service.
He told Deadline that depending on the performance of Our Man In Japan, another travel show could be on the cards, with Asia, South America, Australia and Malaysia all destinations of interest. May said he’d also like to do a tour of Britain, but Amazon thinks it’s “too easy.”
Branching out into new territory also appeals to the presenter, he added, especially if that means he can dig into his passion for maker videos, which he watches late into the night on YouTube.
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This could involve building on his brand Man Labs, which ran for three seasons on the BBC earlier this decade and involved May and friends endeavoring to save modern man by making, solving and inventing things. The show was made by British producer Plum Pictures, with whom May has collaborated for a decade, including on Our Man In Japan.
“Amazon don’t know this yet, but I’m going to propose to them that among all their TV strands like live sport, drama, factual entertainment… there should be a strand for the new Man Lab: People making and doing things and it can be dead straight down the line. I don’t see why people wouldn’t watch that because it’s very popular elsewhere, why shouldn’t it be popular on Amazon?” he said.
“I want to make things and build things and film it with my old building and making mates like Simmy (Simeon Oakley). That would be great, they would be mad to turn it down. At some point in the future, I will pitch something along those lines.”
May joked that he is keen to try out new things before he calls it quits. “There’s a limit to how much longer I can do it anyway because I’m getting on a bit and I hope I will have the good sense to retire with some dignity left. Maybe I can fade away gently restoring a greenhouse or something,” he said.
One thing he won’t be trying, however, is following co-star Richard Hammond in setting up his own production company. Hammond has established Chimp Productions, through which he is making a solo Amazon show and is producing Discovery series Richard Hammond’s Big!. But May said he would be “s**t” at running a business.
“Hammond is quite good at these sorts of things, but it’s not in my skillset… You always think that you can get people to do these things for you — you can employ someone to do production, you can employ someone to do your legal stuff, and your office admin, but then you become responsible for people, you’ve got to have a building, you’ve got to worry about cash flow, and there’s none of your mind left to do the thing that you’re actually good at, which is making a TV show,” May said.
“If you’re saying, would I be slightly richer if I had a production company? Maybe. But I could also be flat broke and lose my house and I just don’t care that much.”
James May: Our Man In Japan premieres on Amazon Prime Video on January 3.