James May's Cars of the People

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Cars of the People
Title card. International variations feature a second logo beneath which reads: "A BBC Top Gear special."
Based onTop Gear
Written byJames May
Tom Whitter
Henry Dalton
Directed byTom Whitter
Presented byJames May
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series2
No. of episodes6 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Tom Whitter
Producer(s)Tom Whitter
Editor(s)Henry Dalton
Greg Coyne
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)BBC
DistributorBBC Worldwide
Original networkBBC Two HD
Picture formatHDTV 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release10 August 2014 (2014-08-10) –
7 February 2016 (2016-02-07)
External links

Cars of the People is a series of special episodes of the BBC Two factual television series Top Gear, presented by James May,[1] which look at how the motor vehicle became an everyday part of human life.[2]

The first series was released on DVD in Australia on 5 August 2015.[1]


Although billed as a stand-alone series in the United Kingdom, international broadcasts are billed as special episodes of Top Gear, designed to bridge the gap between the broadcast of each series. Each episode is filmed in the same style as Top Gear, with many of the same cast and crew, as well as featuring jokes which relate to events or sequences in the parent series.

The first series of three episodes began on 10 August 2014, bridging the gap between Series 21 and 22 of Top Gear. A second series of three episodes was set to be broadcast in 2015; but was indefinitely delayed due to the scandal which saw presenter Jeremy Clarkson dropped from the parent series, which in turn led to the departures of both Richard Hammond and May. The second series was eventually broadcast in January 2016.[3] May has confirmed that no further episodes will be produced due to his commitments with The Grand Tour.


Series overview[edit]

Series Episodes Originally aired Avg. viewers
Series premiere Series finale
1 3 10 August 2014 (2014-08-10) 24 August 2014 (2014-08-24) 5.75
2 3 24 January 2016 (2016-01-24) 7 February 2016 (2016-02-07) 5.02

Series 1 (2014)[edit]

No. Title Original air date U.K. viewers
1"Dictators Moving the Masses"10 August 2014 (2014-08-10)2.43[4]
James investigates the increasing popularity of the Volkswagen Beetle in 1940s' Germany; how dictatorships lead to the production of the Trabant and the Wartburg; and reveals how the Fiat 124 inspired one of the best selling cars in the world.
2"Microcars & Vans"17 August 2014 (2014-08-17)2.60[5]
James look back at the history of the Microcar; puts a Citroen 2CV and a Renault 4 to the test to see which is the most bulletproof; and explores the world of delivery vehicles by driving the Mark I Ford Transit and participating in a race between a Honda Super Cub and a Daihatsu Copen to see which can deliver noodles faster.
3"Climbing the Social Ladder"24 August 2014 (2014-08-24)2.16[6]
James learns how the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow turned from a car of the hierarchy to a car of the people; sets out to discover whether Ford or Vauxhall make the perfect businessman's car; takes two much loved cars from his childhood, the Lamborghini Countach and the Porsche 911 Turbo, out for a spin in Oxford; and reveals his choice for the "perfect people's car".

Series 2 (2016)[edit]

No. Title Original air date U.K. viewers
4"Episode 1"24 January 2016 (2016-01-24)2.20
James investigates the post-war boom (and bust) of both the British and American car industries; races Damon Hill to put to bed a childhood argument—which is faster—a Jaguar E-Type or a Datsun 260Z; and takes both a Ford Mustang and Toyota Celica for a spin to see which is better for fuel economy.
5"Episode 2"31 January 2016 (2016-01-31)2.09
James investigates the history of the 4x4, including the birth of the Land Rover and the Toyota Land Cruiser; challenges production operatives from Ford and Toyota to a race across the Mojave Desert; and looks at the birth of the Audi Quattro, and how it evolved from a rally champion into a roadworthy legend.
6"Episode 3"7 February 2016 (2016-02-07)2.21
James looks at how steam power came to influence the birth of the petrol engine; takes a ride in a limited edition last of its kind 1963 Chrysler Turbine Car with owner Jay Leno; explores the ongoing battle between Porsche and TVR; and takes the first ever amphibious car for a spin in the Pembrokeshire lakes.


Region Channel Source(s) Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3
Date Viewers Date Viewers Date Viewers
Australia BBC Knowledge [7] 11 August 2014 18 August 2014 25 August 2014
United Kingdom BBC Two HD N/A 10 August 2014 2,430,000 17 August 2014 2,600,000 24 August 2014 2,160,000
United States BBC America [8] 25 August 2014 1 September 2014 8 September 2014
Netherlands Veronica N/A 8 May 2015 258,000 8 May 2015 195,000 15 May 2015 182,000
Norway NRK [9] 8 December 2014 15 December 2014 22 December 2014
Japan BS Fuji [10] 21 December 2014 25 January 2015 1 February 2015
Germany n-tv [11] 23 September 2015 30 September 2015 7 October 2015


  1. ^ a b "Top Gear - James May's Cars Of The People". Jbhifi.com.au. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  2. ^ "James May's Cars of the People", BBC Two. Retrieved on 21 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Top Gear: James May rules out returning without Jeremy Clarkson". The Guardian. 23 April 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Made in Chelsea NYC launches with 520,000 on E4", Digital Spy, 11 August 2014. Retrieved on 21 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Made in Chelsea NYC climbs by 200k on Sunday", Digital Spy, 18 August 2014. Retrieved on 21 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Made in Chelsea NYC audience drops by 350k on Bank Holiday Sunday", Digital Spy, 25 August 2014. Retrieved on 25 August 2014.
  7. ^ "James May's Cars Of The People Is On Foxtel Tonight", Gizmodo, 11 August 2014. Retrieved on 18 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Cars of the People", BBC America. Retrieved on 14 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Top Gear Special: Cars of the people (In Norwegian)", NRK. Retrieved on 6 December 2014.
  10. ^ Top Gear Backnumber, BS Fuji, Retrieved on 30 January 2016.
  11. ^ KG, imfernsehen GmbH & Co., Reise durch die Geschichte der Autos: Sendetermine (in German), retrieved 10 April 2017

External links[edit]