James May has seen
the future; but is it the same as it was
in his boyhood imagination?
Fascinated by futuristic technology,
he packed his bags and headed out
to find out if his fantasies have become
a reality for James Mays Big Ideas... WHEN TOP GEAR'S JAMES MAY WAS A CHILD, he dreamed of a future
with helpful robots; where he could soar off to work in his flying car. Pure
fantasy? Well, maybe. James has travelled the world for the intriguing series
he presents, James May's Big Ideas, seeking out
mind-boggling innovations invented by wacky but highly intelligent geniuses
who are keen to turn their own ideas into a reality.
Following on from the earlier Open University hit television show James May's
Twentieth Century, James checks out auto-planes, personal flying machines,
robotics, and other inventions of science that could shape our future for James
May's Big Ideas, which is also produced in conjunction with the Open University.
The charmingly witty and plain speaking James May finds himself up close and
personal to some of the most unlikely creations from science fiction turned
science fact and he gets hands-on experience of the sometimes tricky
machinery. Check out a Sussex inventor's 21st Century answer to Harold Graham,
who became the first human rocket in 1961. How scary is that?!
Having driven numerous amazing cars and being one of the few people to
have taken the Bugatti Veyron to its top speed the daring and dashing
James is ready for something a bit different from the usual Top Gear
models. James jokes: "The man whose car can fly gets the girl." Featuring fascinating
innovations and littered with endearing May-style witticisms, James May's
Big Ideas is a superb DVD that is as compelling as it is informative. Top-Notch
Reliving the fantasies of his childhood, when he imagined flying smugly over
traffic jams in a flying car or of being waited on hand and foot by a robot,
James comes face-to-face with the cutting edge of science that he had been dreaming
about since he was six years old at a time when it was generally accepted
that with the 21st Century would come helpful robots. Although we're not there
yet, don't despair. James has some Big Ideas about how to populate the world
with robots just don't watch Terminator films first!
The show lifts the lid on some of the future's most exciting prospects from
the UK, the US, Spain, Germany, Holland, Japan, Russia and Ireland, including
the world's smallest helicopter, cyborgs, bionic implants, air fuel and finding
out if a solution to the current global energy crisis may really be 'out of
You can meet the smaller successor of the once top-secret Ekranoplan known as
the 'Caspian Monster', developed in the former Soviet Union; discover the world's
first flying community in the United States with its own airstrip and where
you can taxi your personal plane up to your own front door; and see science
visions of the future from the 40s and 50s with the Curtis Auto-Plane and the
In Tokyo, James experiences help from a mechanically-assisted superwoman with
a mechanical jumpsuit that doubles her strength and he finds "the world's most
disturbing robot". Closer to home: he is delighted by a little chap who shows
a glimmer of real intelligence and he puts creative computers to the test. Entering
a virtual world, James discovers his computer twin. "Intriguing" and "quite
freaky" says James of this world of robots.
Interesting snippets from history abound, such as the flying bedstead and the
British-made Harrier which was the world's first vertical take-off and landing
plane and the early prototype of a two-seater flying saucer straight out of
And if that isn't enough, how about the beautiful red dream: the Moller Supercar;
the latest generation driverless car called 'Junior' that is being tested in
California and can deal with almost every eventuality on the road; and could
Teleportation ever be developed to work in the same way as it does in Star
Trek? The University of Innsbruck is seriously exploring that very question.
Beam me up, Scotty!
by James May and Produced and Directed by Nigel Paterson, James May's Big
Ideas is produced in conjunction with The Open University. The complete
series of this fascinating programme will be released on DVD on 22 June 2009,
courtesy of Demand DVD with a RRP of £17.99 | Running Time: 180 Minutes.
"This series gives occasional glimpses of the future which are at once disturbing
and exciting. Our lives are often governed by technologies in far deeper ways
than we may think and, more than ever, we need people to engage with big ideas"
Tony Nixon, Senior Lecturer, Information Systems with The Open University
"Full of endearing May-style witticisms and fascinating innovations, James
May's Big Ideas is a superb DVD that is as compelling as it is informative.
Top Notch Gear Here!" Maggie Woods, MotorBar