Review: James May's Toy Stories (BBC Two)

There’s a lot of people out there who loathe absolutely everyone involved with Top Gear. This has left me wondering if I’m a bit mental for liking it. I especially like James May, and granted, he sometimes falls into lazy jokes about foreign people, but for the most part, he’s warm, engaging and a bit crap.

It’s for these reasons that May is the perfect candidate to present shows about Great British Things. He’s such an obvious nerd that it’s great that someone has decided to pay him to talk about innovations and space flight and all that stuff.

This latest series, James May’s Toy Stories, gets May to look at things a little smaller. Knocked on from his scathing reviews of the things his sisters used to play with, Auntie has given May the chance to explore the toys of his youth and transpose them to stupidly big canvasses.

Last night, looking at Airfix, our enthused spod got a bunch of kids and showed them a hobby that kept kids quiet for months at a time.

Of course, this was peppered with children who live in a world of immediate kicks (like computer games, high-speed internet, mobiles and MP3 players) staring frustratedly at fiddly little models that have the gall to ask you to assemble and paint them.

The show was a bite-sized history of one of the most popular toys in British history… so bite-sized that it never really wandered into being a dullfest. Naturally, just talking about badly glued war-vehicles would be too much to ask of a viewer, so mercifully, the show was pinned around a huge Top Gear styled challenge.

That challenge was to make a ratio of 1:1 Airfix Spitfire.

What unveiled was a sweet little snapshot of May’s childhood dream coming true and the gentle thrill of seeing children embrace and antagonise the whole thing. What we were left with, ultimately, was a charming little show which entertained for the duration without ever feeling too important.

Sure, it was a little throwaway… but often, the BBC charts these little tremors of popular culture (on BBC Four normally) and spins them into lovely, fuzzy television. This was no exception.

About the author

I'm Mof Gimmers.

I've been writing about TV for a long time. I love it and loathe it in equal measures. I'm pretty sure the TV feels the same away about me too.
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  • DKN

    Can’t wait to see his Lego house which is in a few weeks…But also the best Prog May was in was “James May goes to the moon” where he went up to 75000ft in a U2 spy plane…excellent.

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