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In 2009, Top Gear's James May rediscovered some toy lines he grew up with and introduced them to today's youths - in a big way. James May's Toy Stories ran for six episodes from October to December 2009, with a special episode on June 2011. Each episode focused on a specific toy line, with some history behind their creation before May made some very ambitious projects to get kids interested in them again.

Here are a couple of examples:

Episode 1: Airfix (27 October 2009) - To get some school children into model kit building, May has a full-sized replica of Airfix's Supermarine Spitfire kit molded for them to assemble and paint.



Episode 4: Scalextric (17 November 2009) - May pays tribute to the old Brooklands speedway by constructing a Scalextric track on the grounds where it once stood.

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Episode 3: Meccano (10 November 2009) - May has a life-sized bridge constructed out of Meccano parts.



Episode 5: Lego (20 December 2009) - May is out to prove that Lego bricks are the future of housing construction by having a two-story house built entirely out of Lego and sleeping in it for one night.

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Episode 2: Plasticine (3 November 2009) - May has a garden made entirely out of modeling clay and has it entered into a flower show.



Episode 6: Hornby (25 December 2009) - May attempts a world record in constructing the world's longest model train railway.

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All the Top Gear presenters have made individual TV programmes on various subjects, and to a greater or lesser degree they're all fairly good presenters in their own right. May is probably the best, though when he jettisons his blokey-alpha male persona Clarkson can be pretty damn good (as when he presented a programme about his father-in-law, a Victoria Cross winner, or one he did on the great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel - that was part of a poll-based series about the "Hundred Greatest Britons" and Clarkson was credited with near single-handely boosting Brunel to almost the top spot). Hammond is, er, the most prolific... :)

The Hornby one was filmed semi-locally to me...

Edited by F-ZeroOne
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  • 4 weeks later...

For those who enjoyed Captain Slows "Toy Stories", a new one will be broadcast over the Christmas period in the UK - "Flight Club", which apparently will revolve around an attempt to fly a giant balsa-wood glider across the English Channel (!).

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  • 4 weeks later...

Flight Club (23 December 2012) - Remember flying small balsa wood planes back in the old days? May attempts to re-live those glory days by flying a balsa wood replica of the Slingsby Swallow across the Bristol Channel (as the English Channel was off-limits at the time).

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  • 1 year later...

There was another installment in this series today, in which James May assigns the greatest military hero of the 70s British toybox, Private A(ction) Man [1] his most dangerous mission yet - to boldly go where no plastic army man has gone before and break the sound barrier... but Mays team of (actual) rocket scientists find themselves facing a rival challenger, an unlikely British toy female pioneer of supersonic flight...

[1] I believe in the U.S, his friends call him "Joe".

Edited by F-ZeroOne
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