James May on recording final voiceover for The Grand Tour to end TV ‘legacy’

James May has reflected on the last day of recording The Grand Tour, ending a two-decade “legacy” with co-stars Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond.

The TV presenter confirmed the final episode filmed in Zimbabwe will air in September, bringing an end to the hit Amazon series which began in 2015 after the trio left BBC show Top Gear, having been on screen together since 2003.

During a live recording of The Today Podcast at the BBC’s Radio Theatre, May told presenters Nick Robinson and Amol Rajan it was a “sad” and “remarkable” day.

“I recorded today the last piece of voiceover I will ever record for The Grand Tour – and therefore in that whole legacy of Grand Tour, Top Gear and the few things I did before that,” he said.

“We’ve done it for nearly 22 years – a lot longer than we thought we would.

“I thought, when I started doing it in 2003 or 2004, that this was a bit of a laugh. Maybe it’ll last a few years.

“And, here we are, grey and wizened and sagging. And we’ve only just stopped doing it. It’s quite remarkable.”

May said it was “unlikely” he will record another TV series about cars with Clarkson and Hammond.

James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson
James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson appeared on BBC’s Top Gear for more than a decade (Rowan Horncastle/BBC)

“You have to be grateful for the opportunity and thankful that it happened, and accept – you know – I don’t want to be the person in the pub who used to be on the telly,” he said.

The 61-year-old also confirmed for the first time when the final episode of The Grand Tour will be broadcast.

“I’m not allowed to tell you what date it’s coming out, so I won’t say that it’s September. I can say anything I want now, frankly,” he joked.

Concluding the interview, co-host Robinson congratulated May on coming to the end of this part of his career, saying: “You have given so many millions of people so much pleasure.”

The full interview with May on The Today Podcast will be released on BBC Sounds and other podcast providers at 6am on Friday.

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