Top Gear's James May wants to be a real man

He already presents one of television's most testosterone-fuelled shows, but now James May is undertaking a TV quest to turn him into more of a "real man", it was announced today.











The long-haired Top Gear presenter, who has confessed to a love of toys and floral shirts, will enlist other lost souls for a new BBC2 series to test their manliness and brush up traditional skills.



James May's Man Lab is part of the channel's autumn and winter season, launched today.



It also includes a programme which sees The Choir's Gareth Malone take on the challenge of being a primary school teacher for boys, and a live stargazing event hosted by Professor Brian Cox.



May's new entertainment show will see him embark on a course of tests designed to teach men the skills and knowledge possessed by their male ancestors.



Among the skills he will learn will be how to "woo a lady" and how to defuse a bomb.



May said: "Modern Man is in crisis. He has degenerated from the redoubtable pillar he became through centuries of refinement and slipped resignedly into the popular depiction of himself as a witless under-achiever, incapable of looking after himself or those around him.



"Man Lab is designed to reverse the rot."



In a further exploration of masculinity, choirmaster Malone seeks to find out why boys fall behind girls at primary school level in Gareth Malone's Extraordinary School For Boys. The presenter - already used to bringing communities together with his musical ventures - will also seek to re-engage boys who do not like school.



Mastermind host John Humphrys will examine education with a new programme Mind The Gap, in which he looks at why the system fails so many children.



Science poster boy Cox will return to screens with Wonders Of The Universe in which he will travel to the most dramatic parts of the globe to illustrate the workings of the laws of nature.



It follows the musician-turned-physicist's critically-acclaimed series Wonders Of The Solar System earlier this year.



He will also become the new Sir Patrick Moore as the face of Stargazing, a three-night live event in which viewers are encouraged to look to the skies.



It will be staged during one of the most exciting weeks in the astronomical calendar.



The channel moves its spotlight to history after focusing on science earlier this year.



Among programmes in the strand will be a look at the lives of Pompeii's population before the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Pompeii will be presented by Cambridge professor of classics Mary Beard and the BBC said it will give "a fascinating insight" into the lives of the era.



Presenters Sue Perkins and Giles Coren will be stepping back in time as they try to bring to life the 70s sitcom The Good Life.



The Supersizers duo will try to live self-sufficiently like Tom and Barbara Good - originally played by Richard Briers and Felicity Kendall - who gave up the rat race to live a simple life in Surbiton in the comedy series.



New comedies include the highly-anticipated Episodes, starring Friends actor Matt le Blanc, as well as British stars Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig.



Doctor Who star Matt Smith plays late gay writer Christopher Isherwood in one-off drama Christopher And His Kind, and Victoria Wood plays Eric Morecambe's mother in Morecambe And Wise, a drama about the comedy duo's early life.



Other programmes to be broadcast later this year include Neil Morrissey - Care Home Kid, in which the Waterloo Road actor tries to discover why he was put into care at the age of 10.



Have I Got News For You panellist Ian Hislop presents The Do-Gooders, a look at some of the great social reformers of the Victorian age, and adventurer Bruce Parry takes on the Arctic in Arctic With Bruce Parry.



Janice Hadlow, controller of BBC2, said: "This new season reflects BBC2 at its most ambitious and distinctive, bearing the early fruits of the extra investment in drama and offering viewers some fantastic new mainstream comedies alongside the greatest range of factual programming on TV."

Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments