James May's Toy Stories

James May's Toy Stories: Flight Club

Radio Times
Review by:
Terry Payne

There’s something quite irresistible about James May. You sense that he’s never anything other than utterly devoted to whichever bonkers project is next on his must-do list. Witness this special in which he helps build a toy glider to fly the 22 miles across the channel to France. The necessary ingredients for compelling Boys’ Own TV are all there: balsa wood — more than 1,000 pieces of it — glue and the chance to have a pop at the French. And if that doesn’t sound sexy enough, there’s a helicopter pilot called Tom who enjoys a passing resemblance to Top Gun’s Cruise.

May’s cheery enthusiasm, the soaring beauty of his glider and a script that utilises every comedic opportunity — “more craftwork than a German night club” is a particular favourite — prove to be a charming combination. A bit like him.

About this programme

The Top Gear presenter investigates the enduring appeal of the model aeroplane and sets out with the intention of achieving the first flight across the English Channel by an engineless, home-made supersized toy - breaking the British distance record in the process. During his quest, James turns Indiana Jones to unearth surprising new evidence identifying children as the true pioneers of flight and wrestles with an underperforming craft that threatens to barely leave the ground.

Cast and crew


James May


Tom Whitter
Executive Producer
Will Daws
Series Producer
Tom Whitter