James May

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No mans error becomes his own Law; nor obliges him to persist in it.
Thomas Hobbes
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James Daniel May (born 16 January 1963 in Bristol) is a British motoring journalist and television presenter.


  • "What really does it for me is a slightly dishevelled arty bird with her own breasts driving something like a knackered Triumph Herald convertible. A nice girl in a crap car - it's the motoring equivalent of erotic naked mud-wrestling." ["May On Motors"]

Top Gear

Main article: Top Gear
  • "Oh, cock." [a trademark phrase]
  • "Watch this!" [another trademark phrase]
  • "Hehey!" [another trademark phrase]
  • "Hammond? May. Bad luck." [After beating Hammond to the North Pole]
  • "Work sets you free!" [during various challenges]
  • "You utter pirate"
  • "Permission to say cock"
  • "Permission to say cock for the second time on TV today" [on losing the race with Jeremy in the Scaglietti]
  • "What's the Norwegian for 'Oh cock!'?" [During the SLR vs Boat challenge, after Clarkson called May and Hammond stating that he had already arrived at the destination]
  • "If you booked a holiday on a cruise ship and it came in upside down, you'd want your money back." [retort to Clarkson on Top Gear after Clarkson tried to claim victory in the Amphibious Cars challenge, even though his vehicle had capsized]
  • "In a jet-wash, should the bonger go off halfway through the spin cycle, or at the end?" [his suggestion for the topic they'll be talking about on BBC Southern Counties Radio]
  • [On voting for Bat Out Of Hell as the best driving anthem ever] If you do choose to vote for Bat Out of Hell then we will come round and cut off YOUR electricity!
  • "A vote for Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell will result in your internet service provider changing your domain name to 'loser'!"
  • "Research has shown, that voting for Meat Loaf means you are 50 % more likely to have no mates. "
  • "However your home may be at risk if you vote for Meat Loaf!"
  • [On the bloopers] ..And the news today...it has been officially announced that Jeremy Clarkson is an arse!
  • [pointing to a map of France] Jeremy is currently here, talking to a Gendarme. And soon he will be here, in Le Bastille.
  • [On his Bentley T2] I've got furniture that handles better than this thing!
  • And now for the sitting down news.
  • I'd like to appeal to him [the thief who stole a Mercedes McLaren SLR supercar] if he's been let out by the Home Secretary, which he almost certainly has been... If you'd like to steal a motor vehicle and travel around the place at 18mph, could you please nick my Honda 90.
  • I'd give... the rest of me year's salary... to see that sink [When Jeremy was on an Argocat amphibious vehicle]
  • A diesel cabrio is like a supermodel smoking a pipe. [Commenting on the Audi A4 convertible]
  • I like luxury. It's the new performance. [Commenting on the Cadillac Sixteen prototype]
  • And now, the car every footballer's wife's hairdresser's masseuse has been waiting for: the new Mercedes SLK.
  • It costs £9,400. For that you get... well, it's like a car really, only not quite as good. [Commenting on the Hyundai Accent 1.5 Diesel]
  • If you've got the brochure on the Hyundai Accent on your coffee table, can I implore you please, not to do it. Buy a Fiesta, buy a second-hand Golf, go on holiday. Don't do it! [Commenting on the Hyundai Accent 1.5L diesel]
  • The last Proton I drove was something called the Impian. It was a very long journey and the car was so awful that - to be honest - I wanted to harm myself. [Commenting on the Proton Gen II]
  • That is the sound your spine would make if you could actually hear it tingle. [Ferrari F430]
  • The interesting thing about the French nation, I think, because they are essentially peasants and Communists, is that they are quite good at the fairly small and fairly simple car.
  • This car is incredible. I like it, and I'm Captain Slow!
  • Would the Element be a car for people who like hip-hop, or for people waiting for a hip-op?
  • Why don't you save 20 grand and buy a Micra?
  • [To Richard Hammond] You do look a little bit like D'Artagnan, but shorter!
  • [Commenting on Dubai whilst there] I've got shirts older than this city.
  • For sale: BMW 528. 19K, VGC, TNT, FSH, PAS, AAC, OBC, ICE, ABS, EBD, PDC, DTC, DSC. £15,000. ONO [May playing with acronyms in his car advertisement]
  • When you drive one of those and it's a diesel, it says three things about you: one is, you're tighter than two coats of paint, the second one is that you care so much about the environment that you want to leave a little protective sooty film over it, and the third one is, you're probably French.
  • [Talking about digital displays on the sides of roads] Because there has never been a correlation between a dot matrix display and "the truth"! My mate's got a microwave in his kitchen. It says 'Enjoy your meal' when you get something out. But I won't since I was drying my pants in it. [as in underwear]... [At this point the other two start ridiculing him for supposedly having no pants on in his mate's kitchen]
  • [Talking on BBC southern counties radio; audio which isn't in the episode but is somewhere on the internet] Thank you for making my headphones smell so lovely. - and 10 minutes later - The nice girl who talks about films has made my headphones smell all perfumy and lovely.
  • You're not seriously suggesting that this... revolting, plastic fronted piece of pig-iron is a serious alternative to something like an X5? [Regarding Clarkson's review of the Hummer H2]
  • Do you honestly think I am going to put up with a small diesel hatchback just so that I can have a golden cock?
  • Odious little man. [After losing ANOTHER game of car football to Hammond]
  • And furthermore, we are British. We are the inventors of everything. It is time to brace ourselves, hasten unto the shed and liberate ourselves from the abyss made dark by the lights of perverted German science!
  • Motorsport is rubbish! [At the end of the coupes' race – 29/05/2005]
  • I've won something on Top Gear!!!
  • So now we have the world's lairiest car, on the start line at the world's most gruelling endurance race. At the wheel is the world's most plastered racing driver. And guess what happened? He won.
  • [Referring to Richard's crashing a Ferrari] Actually, this is why it's called the F360, this model. You drive along and you go 'ffffffff' and you do a 360!
  • [On the Maserati Quattroporte] Right, once you start driving like an Italian this starts to make much more sense.
  • [On the Maserati Bora] Is molto bella!
  • [The Who reference in the Roger Daltrey episode] Meet the new Boxster, same as the old Boxster.
  • [Another the Who reference in the same show] This is a bargain. The best we ever had!
  • Now, elsewhere in the world, awards are awarded to reward excellence. But here, on the Top Gear awards, we like to award an award that rewards a car that we found particularly unrewarding... in 2... 2004... that's not quite right, is it?
  • I'm sorry, I'm gonna have to stop you there, I hate to interrupt, but this is quite honestly the biggest load of limp-wristed twaddle I've ever heard in all my five weeks in television. These two... these two are not men, okay? This one, Richard Hammond, every morning, sticks his head in a bucket of hair product, right, he's got a dog, but it's a poodle. I don't know what you're laughing about, Clarkson, because you won't drink brown beer. And this is the man that says flatulence, 'Ooh, it's not funny,' when clearly it is! I am actually the only proper bloke on this programme.
  • Swooping through trees, the whole vista of beautiful England, relayed into the comfort of your cabin in stunning windscreen format.
  • [On the Volvo V50] There's a touch of Ikea to all this, but, reassuringly, an expert has put it all together.
  • If I may, that's the revised Daihatsu Copen, and in your tennising analogy that you made, that is the ball. That is 660cc of flexing micro-Japanese sinew.
  • This is a bacon sandwich. And this is a car.
  • [To Jeremy after losing the Bugatti race] You unbearable man! I can't stand it!
  • [On the bloopers] Now, it's time for a rare dose of the real world, 'cause I've been driving a car that people actually buy! *smiles strangely* [The camera begins to swing round, but is interrupted by James going:] Was that smile a bit too camp at the end there? [to resounding laughter and applause]
  • [Talking about the new Fiat Panda] Well that's not right. I've had this thing nearly a week and nothing has fallen off and everything still works. I mean who the hell do the Italians think they are anyway...the Germans
  • Here we are, doing sixty miles an hour in top gear and the engine is doing 1,500rpm... It's idling! You fat Aussie slacker!
  • [after hearing it's now illegal to retune a radio while driving] I can't listen to an episode of the Archers in the car without losing my temper, and having a crash... deliberately... to end it.
  • "It's an ingenious solution to a problem that should never have existed in the first place! [On Jeremy's solution to getting to the passenger seats of his limousine Fiat Panda]
  • [to a pedestrian] Eh? No it's not a kit car, it's a Lamborghini... Philistine. "
  • Its sensible and Swedish at the front and fiery and Italian at the back. Its a Salfa Romeaab
  • [Showing his displeasure with Bill Bryson] Well I think that man is a danger, frankly. If there's one thing I can't stand it's bearded, sanctimonious, patronising Americans in tartan trousers coming to England and trying to persuade us to turn it into a museum.He wants the east-end full of cheeky cockney chaps pushing wheel-barrows full of eels, and he wants northerners to be industrialists with big braces and blokes dying of the consumption- "mornin' Bill, I've got the consumption, its traditional alright".I say Bill, if you're watching okay- you won't be watching obviously because we're not talking about steam engines or longboats or bear-baiting, but if you happen to have tuned in by mistake, we're not interested in the views of stupid Americans who come over with their big video cameras saying "Gee I love your history, it's just so old" SOD OFF!
  • I don't get recognised, it's part of being 'The Other Bloke' on Top Gear. This security guard, new, bent down when I drove in and said 'Can I help you sir?' And I said: 'Yes, I'm driving Mr. Hammond to the set.' The security guard bent lower and started cheering: 'Alright Mr. Hammond! Yeah, love the show! Keep it up! Yeah!' He then stood a little straighter and said to me: 'So... Do you wanna drop him off, or are you waiting here for him?'"
  • "You see, Mr. Jonathon Foreigner has this ridiculously outdated view of what Britain is. He thinks we all live in Ann Hathaway's cottage and then go to "Ye Olde Tea room" where we eat some Kendal Mint Cake, and then maybe we'll go out and find a red phone box and ring up some Beefeaters at the Tower of London to see if we can have our Bowler hats back. It's Rubbish!"
  • "Look out, crims!"
  • "You disappoint me, Ramsay" [To Gordon Ramsay, after beating him in a 'keep it down' eating contest]
  • "France exists so that you can drive to Italy"
  • "He exploited the diminutive size of my panda"
  • "Oh crikey---it's the rozzers!"
  • "Belgium was invented so Britain and Germany could have somewhere to sort out their differences."(On Top Gear, in regards to the challenge by the German D-Motor Show)
  • "Well, I guess there's only one thing to do... PPPPPPPOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRR!" (While testing the new Pagani Zonda F Roadster, mirroring Jeremy Clarkson's frequent use of the phrase)

Other television work

  • It's an affront to Bacchus. [To Oz Clarke in an episode of the second season of Oz and James's Big Wine Adventure, on the custom of spitting out wine at a wine tasting session]

External links

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