Exclusive – James May reveals how COVID affected filming for Grand Tour Scotland special as he hints at car choice for new series
May tells us what to expect from the upcoming Scottish special.
The last time we saw James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson together, they were testing out cars in Madagascar for The Grand Tour Presents: A Massive Hunt.
For their next leg of their Grand Tour specials, the trio will be heading to Scotland, and May has given us a little insight on what to expect.
Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, the presenter revealed how the ongoing pandemic impacted on filming.
"It was great fun! I mean we had to COVID proof everything, which meant the whole process was not very spontaneous at times," he admits. "Often you have to disinfect things and the crews had to exist in bubbles, and we had to be two metres away from everybody else – but all this stuff wasn't that terrible considering."
During the Madagascan special, May had a little trouble with his car choice – a Caterham 310r, which is sports car best used for track racing.
In one scene, we saw his entire vehicle submerged with muddy water as he took on a massive pothole.
So, is he feeling more confident about his choice of vehicle for the Scotland special?
Although he wouldn't give too much away about the make and model of his car, he said: "Well they're not new cars, so I'm never entirely confident. Let's just say as usual I did it properly and made a very, very informed choice."
In terms of what viewers can look forward to, he added: "You can expect the sort of things we normally do, but we haven't gone quite as far afield. I'm not sure that really matters, because Scotland is as exotic as anywhere else if you're not from Scotland. So, it's us driving around in cars being pillocks as usual, but this time it's in Scotland, rather than in Madagascar!"
The trio were planning to head to Russia for their latest Grand Tour special, however the trip was postponed for obvious reasons.
May says the Russian special and other trips abroad are "not cancelled" and will definitely be "coming up."
He explained, "There are still bigger trips planned for the future. They're not cancelled, they are simply postponed because we can't travel to do the sort of things we normally do, that's why we've ended up doing a mini-series in the UK. They're not replacements, they're support acts because the big ones have been postponed, but they are still coming up."
Aside from The Grand Tour, May has launched a new app called My Theory Test to help learner drivers study for their test using more "simplified" material.
He is currently backing a campaign to extend driving theory test validity. This would allow those who haven't yet taken their practical tests to continue learning without having to worry about their theory test expiring.
According to car insurance company Marmalade, an estimated 70,000 people have already successfully passed their theory test and are being made to re-take it as the test expires after two years, and you cannot complete your practical test without it.
"We want the government to extend the validity of theory test passes, because all the youngsters who took it prior to lockdown now can't learn to drive because their theory test has expired. We want them to extend that because it's unfair," May said.
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"It's only two years, and they are mainly young people, who have very good minds. The rest of us aren't re-tested. I haven't been tested on driving since 1980, so nobody's worried about that!"
In order to make this change, May is asking for those who feel strongly to sign a petition, saying: "It's getting quite close to 100,000 signatures and at that point they are obliged to debate it in Parliament. They shouldn't be making people retake it, and they shouldn't be charging them for it. It's mean!"
My Theory Test by James May is available to buy from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. To sign the petition to extend driving theory test certificates expiring in 2020/21 by 12 months, click here.