James May vs ZOO
Seeing as you clearly enjoy the odd pint, James, who’s the biggest drinker: you, Clarkson or Hamster?
It would be between me and Hammond. Considering he’s a small bloke, Hammond sticks away quite a bit. I don’t know who would last longest, though. Drinking London Pride, I’d last the longest because I’m practiced and the other two don’t really drink proper beer because they’re big whoopsies. Hammond’s good at whisky. Jeremy would have to be on a fruit-based drink, like rosé.
Are you and Hammond competing to see who can grow the worst hair?
No, because he’s clearly going to win. I don’t like to ask what’s going on with his hair because the answer might be disturbing. Hammond grows his hair long and puts product in it. I think he may actually have it styled.
Do Hammond and Clarkson have any annoying habits?
The fact they keep breathing. Driving in to my car. Talking bollocks. They generally annoy me completely and utterly
all the time.
So are you actually friends?
Oh, we’re good mates because it just wouldn’t work otherwise. But we also quite enjoy hating each other. If Jeremy was drowning, I probably would go and pull him out. Eventually. But only after laughing for a bit and making him think I wasn’t going to. When we drove to the North Pole and it was just me and Clarkson in a car together, that was quite trying. At one point, I had a spade in my hand. Jeremy was standing there and I remember thinking, 'No one would know. Everyone else is out of sight. I can do it. I can put him behind this rock…'
Is there anything you can tell us about the new series of Top Gear?
We haven’t filmed very much of it, but there are some epic drives, quite a bit of serious car stuff and some solid big roadtest things. We’re doing a Christmas special, though I can’t tell you where we’re going. But it’s very exotic and like nowhere we’ve been before. We’ve got the silly challenges, too. It’s the comforting glow of the Top Gear hearth around which you can all gather in perfect safety for a light chuckle.
How did you feel about Ben Collins outing himself as The Stig?
It’s a bit of a hiccup, but it’s not the first Stig we’ve lost. I don’t have any deep personal feelings either way. I always got on quite well with Ben. I’ve been rude about him in the press, but we’re obliged to say that stuff. It has to be: 'Ben’s a bastard.'
Who’ll be the first to ask him out for a beer?
I don’t know. I might send him a pint or put a bottle in the post. Although he’ll think it’s a trick and that it will explode in his face.
Are there any plans to replace The Stig?
I can’t say. Partly because it’s top secret and also because we don’t quite know yet. Invisible Stig was one option. A lot of people believe The Stig was me and this is all an elaborate hoax. So it could continue to be me. Or maybe we could get Tony Blair. Or Gordon Brown. Although he’s probably a bit too fat for the outfit.
Do you get weird fan mail? Are there James May groupies?
Yes – they send me things like tins of Spam. I haven’t had to pay for Spam for about five years. I’ve been sent marzipan and a knitted model of myself, too. But they’re imaginative rather than dangerous. There must be some people on TV who get letters from people written with bits of their body tied up.
Finally, what was it like going on a drive with ZOO girl Madison?
I think they were hoping to get a load of clips of Madison thinking I was boring, but I loved her and she seemed to find me tolerable. And she does look quite good. I remember Jeremy saying, 'Didn’t you notice that I was doing this, this or this?' I replied, 'I was in a car with Madison. If I was going to take my eyes off the road, it certainly wasn’t going to be for you!'
James May is a spokesman for Fuller’s London Pride