James Daniel May (born 16 January 1963) is an English television presenter and journalist. He is best known as a co-presenter of the motoring programme Top Gear alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond from 2003 until 2015. As of 2016 he is a director of the production company W. Chump & Sons (founded July 2015) and is also a co-presenter in the television series The Grand Tour for Amazon Video, alongside his former Top Gear colleagues, Clarkson and Hammond, as well as former producer Andy Wilman.
May has presented other programmes on themes including science and technology, toys, wine culture, and the plight of manliness in modern times. He wrote a weekly column for The Daily Telegraph's motoring section from 2003 to 2011.
James Daniel May was born in Bristol, one of four children; he has two sisters and a brother. May attended Caerleon Endowed Junior School in Newport. He spent his teenage years in South Yorkshire where he attended Oakwood Comprehensive School in Rotherham and was a choirboy at Whiston Parish Church. He was also at school with Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes actor Dean Andrews.
May followed his passion for music, studying a Bachelor of Music, specialising in harpsichord and piano at Pendle College, Lancaster University, where his love for music flourished: his favourite composers include Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt and Scott Joplin. In addition to piano and harpsichord, May is a keen flautist and saxophonist. After graduating, May briefly worked at a hospital in Chelsea as a records officer, and had a short stint in the civil service.
During the early 1980s, May worked as a sub-editor for The Engineer and later Autocar magazine, from which he was dismissed for performing a prank. He has since written for several publications, including the regular column England Made Me in Car Magazine, articles for Top Gear magazine, and a weekly column in The Daily Telegraph.