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James May's Things You Need to Know

S1-E1 The Human Body

S1-E1 The Human Body

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Most popular science programmes deliver a modest payload of information via a string of artfully assembled scenes. The emphasis is on filling the screen time with cool images, striking locations and touching human stories, but you could deliver the knowledge they impart in a fraction of the time. And here, in this brisk new series, they do.

It’s half an hour of rapid-fire education, a kind of executive summary of what you need to know on a subject, boiled down and delivered by James May. Instead of Texan deserts or time-lapse cityscapes, the visuals are playfully retro animations that work well.

In this opener May asks big questions about our bodies, such as: how did I get my granny’s chin, why do I catch colds, and what will we look like 1,000 years from now?


The Top Gear presenter contemplates the human body, using motion graphics in his search for answers as to why individuals inherit certain family characteristics, the reasons for catching colds and having hangovers, and what people will look like in 1,000 years.

Cast & Crew

Presenter James May
Director Emma Parkins
Executive Producer John Farren
Producer Emma Parkins


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