James Daniel May (born 16 January 1963) is a British television presenter and journalist. He is widely known for his years as a co-presenter of the motoring programme Top Gear alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond from 2003 to 2015. As of 2016 he is a director of the production company W. Chump & Sons (founded July 2015) and is scheduled to be presenting the television series The Grand Tour for Amazon Video as an exclusive for Amazon Prime customers, alongside his former Top Gear colleagues, Clarkson and Hammond, as well as former producer Andy Wilman.
May has presented other programmes on themes including science and technology, toys, wine culture, and the plight of manliness in modern times. He wrote a weekly column for The Daily Telegraph’s motoring section from 2003 to 2011.
James May was born on 16 January 1963 in Bristol, one of four children; he has two sisters and a brother. May attended Caerleon Endowed Junior School in Newport. He spent his teenage years in South Yorkshire where he attended Oakwood Comprehensive School in Rotherham and was a choirboy at Whiston Parish Church. He was also at school with Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes actor Dean Andrews.
A keen flautist and pianist, he studied Music at Pendle College, Lancaster University. After graduating, May briefly worked at a hospital in Chelsea as a records officer, and had a short stint in the civil service.