James May: Our Man in...

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James May: Our Man in...
James May Our Man in Japan.jpg
Season 1 intertitle
Written byJames May
Henry Dalton
Directed byTom Whitter[1]
Presented byJames May
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series2
No. of episodes12
Production
Executive producersWill Daws
Tom Whitter
ProducersKate Godfrey
Henry Dalton
Frankie Fathers
Mark Richardson
Production locationsJapan
Italy
CinematographySean Carswell
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time47‒53 minutes
Production companies
  • Plum Pictures
  • New Entity
Release
Original networkAmazon Prime Video
Original release3 January 2020 (2020-01-03) –
present (present)

James May: Our Man in... is a travel documentary series hosted by James May and released via Amazon Prime Video. Each season follows May as he travels a country and undergoes various local activities.

In series 1, titled James May: Our Man in Japan, May's journey is presented as a linear journey traveling from the north end of Japan, via Sapporo and Tokyo to the south island.[2] Production started in March 2019,[1] with the show being filmed over the course of three months.[3] In August 2021 it was confirmed that a second series, set in the United States, had been commissioned.[4][5] However, in October 2021 it was announced that filming in the United States could not go ahead as planned due to various restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and instead series 2 saw May touring Italy, titled James May: Our Man in Italy.[6] The series takes him from Palermo in Sicily to the Dolomites.[7][8] The concept had originally been pitched to the BBC a number of years earlier, but not commissioned.[9]

Episodes[edit]

Series 1: Our Man in Japan (2020)[edit]

During the episodes May is accompanied by a series of guides/translators.[10]

No.TitleOriginal release dateLength
1"Go!"3 January 2020 (2020-01-03)0:49
May begins the journey through Japan at Cape Soya, the northernmost tip of Japan on the island of Hokkaido, where he tries dog sledding, yukigassen competitive snowball fighting, plus fishing and eating octopus as food. James learns about the making of samurai swords and attempts to order Japanese noodles from a food ticket machine restaurant.
2"Cabbage Roll"3 January 2020 (2020-01-03)0:47
May visits the northern region of Tohoku, where he engages in a Gundam-style giant robot duel piloting "LW-Mononofu" against "Land Walker". May bathes in a natural onsen hot pool following a Yamabushi retreat to the Three Mountains of Dewa. In Sendai, May goes to a Zenryoku Boys J-pop concert followed by clothes shopping. May travels to the deserted town of Namie, Fukushima on the edge of the Fukushima Exclusion Zone, before arriving into Tokyo on-board the Shiki-shima luxury train.
3"Deodorant"3 January 2020 (2020-01-03)0:50
May starts in a helicopter above Tokyo before meeting guide Yujiro Samurai Taniyama in a cat café. Together they celebrate cherry blossom, eat bento, sing karaoke with salarymen, take part in the Kanamara Matsuri fertility festival, and review automated toilets in Japan. May gets pulled over by the police, then meets Minoru Mukaiya, a train melody composer, to write a jingle for "James May Sumimasen" station. Ends with consuming conveyor belt sushi, May voice acting as a dog at the Yoyogi Animation Academy, and walking through the TeamLab Borderless interactive digital video exhibit at Mori Art Museum.
4"Hey Bim!"3 January 2020 (2020-01-03)0:51
May travels from Tokyo to Kyoto, where an unhelpful robotic guide, which is supposed to show him Kyoto's temples and shrines, repeatedly informs May about the Sanjō Ōhashi bridge over the Kamo River. James joins a biker gang, riding a Kawasaki ZZR1400 motorbike, to view Mount Fuji where May attempts to interpret the mountain in a painting. James is entertained by a geisha who treats him to a traditional tea ceremony.
5"Peach Boy"3 January 2020 (2020-01-03)0:52
May arrives in Osaka, where he attempts pachinko but spends his winnings on takoyaki octopus balls and Kobe beef. James and Yujiro attempt to perform British humour to a comedy audience. May also visits a sumo wrestling stable, the Korakuen Garden in Okayama, the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, and the Itsukushima Shrine at Miyajima.
6"Pickled Plum"3 January 2020 (2020-01-03)0:51
May starts in Shikoku, where he cycles across a series of suspension bridges. James also tries his hand at kyūdō Zen archery, gets buried (along with Yujiro) in hot sand, and visits Nagoro, a deserted village filled with scarecrows.

Series 2: Our Man in Italy (2022)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleOriginal release dateRunning
time
71"God’s Apology"15 July 2022 (2022-07-15)0:53
James’ journey begins with him exploring the sunny shores of Sicily, a fascinating island where cultures collide under the shadow of Mount Etna. James explores the simple pleasures that have sustained people for generations, such as chopping bits off statues, Canoe Polo, and bagpipes.[11]
82"House of Pain"15 July 2022 (2022-07-15)0:51
In the rural south of mainland Italy, James is forced to confront a vision of hell courtesy of Dante’s Inferno, and Bettina goat who urgently needs milking. The Amalfi Coast offers some much-needed respite before he dives headfirst into the chaotic, city of Naples for ancient catacombs and pizza.
93"Dark Matter"15 July 2022 (2022-07-15)0:51
All roads lead to Rome, so it was inevitable James would end up in Italy’s magnificent capital. However, it’s not just Romans and ruins. James is schooled in how best to drive his Fiat Panda through the city, boards a virtual reality bus tour that takes him back 2000 years and meets Italy’s own Gandalf.
104"Really, Really Nice Cheese"15 July 2022 (2022-07-15)0:51
James puts his Renaissance man credentials to the test with a spot of medieval sport, art, science, and modern-day alchemy in the Tuscan capital, Florence. A little further North in Emilia-Romagna, he sets his sights on the world of fast-moving cars and slow-aging cheese before he wraps up his visit in a town with a slightly different feel to it.
115"Hey Pesto"15 July 2022 (2022-07-15)0:51
Size really does matter, as James visits the marble quarries of Carrara and the massive container port at Genoa. Then it’s from the big to the elusive, as James searches for truffles, learns the noble art of falconry, and faces off with a few killer robots. James learns some hard truths along the way; that Italians rule at penalty shoot-outs, whilst the British are more skilled in tea-making.
126"Bye, Bim"15 July 2022 (2022-07-15)0:51
In Milan, James finally submits to a long-overdue wardrobe update. Dressed to impress, it’s time to try his hand at some exquisite Italian craftsmanship – and bid a final goodbye to an old friend. Next stop: Venice, by land, air, and lagoon, while in the snowy Dolomites James investigates the darker side of Christmas.

Release[edit]

Lucy Mangan for The Guardian gave the first series three out of five stars. She praised the travelogue's inclusion of "under-publicised aspects of the [Japanese] culture" but noted May's interaction with the television crew as low-brow and "strenuously jocular".[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Clarke, Stewart (11 March 2019). "'The Grand Tour' Star James May Heads to Japan for Solo Amazon Series". Variety. Retrieved 7 January 2020. Production started this week.
  2. ^ Mangan, Lucy (3 January 2020). "James May: Our Man in Japan review – penis festivals are no place for jokes!". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  3. ^ Kanter, Jake (12 December 2019). "'The Grand Tour' Star James May Planning To Pitch Version Of His BBC Show 'Man Labs' to Amazon". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  4. ^ Miller, Adam (26 August 2021). "The Grand Tour's James May hoping 'not to get fat' in new US travel show". Metro. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  5. ^ Creamer, Jon (26 August 2021). "Amazon confirms new James May travelogue". Televisual. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  6. ^ Harrington, Alex (1 October 2021). "James May's 'Our Man In The USA' Travel Show Has Been Cancelled… But There's Good News!". Grand Tour Nation. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  7. ^ Singh, Anita (15 July 2022). "James May: Our Man in Italy, review: an amiable, food and wine-filled meander at Amazon's expense". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  8. ^ "James May: Our Man in Italy". Amazon Studios. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  9. ^ May, James (24 December 2019). "'The Grand Tour's James May On His Japan Adventure For Amazon, The Future Of TV & Spending Less Time With Jeremy Clarkson". Deadline Hollywood (Interview). Interviewed by Jake Kanter. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  10. ^ Prizmi Tripathi (4 January 2020). "Will There be a James May: Our Man in Japan Season 2?". The Cinemaholic. Retrieved 12 January 2020. other cast members are Yujiro Taniyama, Masayo Fujii, Makiko Kobayashi, Hacchan Hatanaka and Mai Nishiyama.
  11. ^ "James May: Our Man in Italy". Prime Video.
  12. ^ Mangan, Lucy (3 January 2020). "James May: Our Man in Japan review – penis festivals are no place for jokes!". the Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2020.

External links[edit]