James May: “Now that Top Gear is Over, I Might Go Into Teaching”

James May, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond
The Associated Press

James May has indicated that he might quit TV and become a teacher following the sacking of his colleague Jeremy Clarkson. He said that the success of Top Gear, which the pair co-presented along with Richard Hammond, had been an “enormous fluke” and it was now time to get “back to normal life”, the Telegraph has reported.

“We did it for 12 years. It’s a very big moment in our lives, but nothing was going to last forever,” May told reporters outside his home. “We just didn’t know how it was going to end. Things are supposed to end in a whimper so maybe we’ve broken the mould a bit.”

Asked whether he would make another show like Top Gear, May replied “not necessarily”. He added that it was not just because he didn’t want to carry on without Clarkson. “I might want to do something completely different with my life. I’m quite old now. [I might do] something outside of cars. I always wanted to be a teacher.”

Commenting on Clarkson’s sacking for allegedly hitting a co-worker, May said he thought the decision was “very harsh but I think they were probably forced,” adding “I don’t actually know the entire story. A lot of people are making judgments about it, but they don’t know the full story either so I don’t know.” Speaking to Sky News upon hearing the verdict, May revealed that he had only found out Clarkson’s fate “by prising the information out of various BBC sources.” He described the decision as “a tragedy”, saying “I’m sorry that what ought to have been a small incident sorted out easily turned into something big” But he said that Top Gear would probably go on nonetheless in some form or another. “It existed before us, it’s been reformatted several times.” But he said that he, Clarkson and Hammond “were very much a package, it works for very complicated reasons that a lot of people don’t fully understand”. When asked who else he would like to present the show with, he replied “As much as I think he’s a knob, I quite like working with Jeremy.”

Yesterday he added “This only happened yesterday. We have to spend a lot of time thinking about what we do next.

“I’m only a freelance TV presenter and, in many ways, it’s all just been a massive fluke.

“I always said that on the day it ends for me I’ll have to be magnanimous and look back and say, ‘Well, that was a stroke of luck, now back to normal life’, and that seems to have happened.

“So here I go, I’m about to eat some beans and go back to my normal life.”