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
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Arts and Entertainment
Kate Bush: 'I'm going to miss everyone so much'
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
Latest stories from i100
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.

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?