The Grand Tour

James May’s Choirboy Confessions: The Surprising Revelations of a Top Gear Icon

James May, the former Top Gear presenter, has revealed startling details about his teenage years as a choirboy. In a candid podcast interview, he confessed to engaging in rebellious acts, including ‘urinating on gravestones’.

Key Takeaways:

  • Rebellious Choirboy Past: James May, known for his roles in Top Gear and The Grand Tour, divulged his mischievous activities as a choirboy. This included fighting, urinating on gravestones, and stealing, starkly contrasting his public persona.
  • Choirboy Experiences: During his time at Whiston Parish Church in Rotherham, May was part of a choir, participating in weddings for meagre payments, showing little regard for the ceremonies’ sanctity.
  • Personal Reflections: The podcast with Grace Dent also touched upon May’s family life and his transition from music to journalism, eventually leading to his career in motoring and engineering television.

James May, a name synonymous with motoring shows like Top Gear and The Grand Tour, recently made an unexpected revelation about his past. While he’s currently known for his expertise in cars and engines, there was a time when music played a significant role in his life.

This was highlighted in his confession of being a rebellious choirboy at Whiston Parish Church in Rotherham during his teenage years. May admitted to being part of a group of choirboys who often indulged in mischievous activities. He candidly said:

 “As choirboys we were a bunch of little sh*ts really. I mean, awful people.” Such as: “fighting, urinating on gravestones, stealing things.”

The revelations came to light during the latest episode of the Comfort Eating podcast, hosted by Grace Dent. The Guardian released this episode, where May openly discussed his choirboy antics.

Interestingly, May’s choirboy experience wasn’t just about rebellious acts. He mentioned singing at weddings for as little as 50p, without any real regard for the event’s significance. This aspect of his life showcased a different side of him, one that many fans might find surprising.

The podcast also delved into May’s personal life. Grace Dent expressed her surprise at learning about his choirboy past, playfully noting that May is “not the most angelic of people.” This contrast between his youthful mischiefs and his later public persona adds depth to the multifaceted personality of James May.

Reflecting on the times, May highlighted how the early ’70s were different, mentioning that being a choirboy then meant adhering to certain dress codes, which he found challenging as a teenager. He suggested that such a requirement wouldn’t be as problematic in the current era.

May’s journey from a music-inclined choirboy to a celebrated motoring journalist and TV presenter is intriguing. Post his choirboy years, he continued to explore music, studying it at Lancaster University. His eventual shift to journalism, focusing on engineering and motoring, led to his joining Top Gear in 1999, and later, the renowned trio in The Grand Tour.

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