James May: YouTube is ruining Top Gear

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On the eve of a new series of the BBC2 car programme being aired, Top Gear's Captain Slow has launched a surprise attack on the show's fans.

According to the Daily Mail today, James May blames social networking sites for taking the element of surprise away from the BBC2 show and ruining its privacy.

The 49-year old host says that any filming him, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson do in public, is usually filmed or photographed and ultimately ends up online.

While this is good for hits and clicks on sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, May believes this spoils any surprises for viewers.

This could also be the undoing of the show, as he predicts a time when there will be so much amateur footage online, fans will be able to make their own without the need for a film crew.

Memorable Top Gear stunts that took much time and effort to create include the team "driving" cars converted into boats to France, creating their own railway system with cars and caravans, and playing car darts.

The new series 18 will run until March this year, and is expected to have 350m viewers per week in 170 different countries.