James May admits retirement is 'not far off' for him

James May attends a screening of 'The Grand Tour' season 3 held at The Brewery on January 15, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
James May is considering retirement. (Getty Images)

James May has said he is "quietly contemplating" quitting TV as he approaches his 60th birthday.

The Grand Tour presenter who previously hosted Top Gear along with co-stars Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond told the Radio Times that he was thinking of early retirement after losing a close friend just weeks ago.

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He said: “A very close friend of mine died a few weeks ago. He retired early, because he’d always had this fear that his family isn’t very long-lived, and he wanted to swap possessions for experiences and knowledge.

“That’s what he started doing, but unfortunately he got cancer and it killed him.

Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond return for The Grand Tour Presents: Lochdown (Amazon Prime Video)
Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond in The Grand Tour Presents: Lochdown. (Amazon Prime Video)

“It was quite interesting thinking about that after he’d gone because it takes a certain amount of courage to say, ‘No, I don’t want to telegraph my success and my sophistication. I simply want to have a nice life and contemplate the mystery and wonder of God’s creation.’”

When asked if he is planning to retire and sell off his cars, May added: “It’s something I’m quietly contemplating, and I suspect it’s not far off.”

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May, 59, also said he is “scared of there being more behind me than in front of me” as his 60th birthday looms in January.

The Grand Tour stars, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, visit Cracow, Poland, while on tour filming the show. The Grand Tour is a British motoring television series, created by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May, and Andy Wilman, made for Amazon exclusively for its online streaming service Amazon Prime Video which premiered in 2016. The programme was conceived in the wake of the departure of Clarkson, Hammond, May and Wilman from the BBC series Top Gear. (Photo by Vito Corleone/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
James May was recently spotted filming The Grand Tour with Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson in Poland. (LightRocket via Getty Images)

The TV star might be known for fronting petrol head shows, but he made the surprising admission that since lockdown he has put motors aside and been concentrating more on cycling.

He explained that he had thought flying planes and riding motorbikes was important to him but that he had found he had lost interest in them after being unable to continue his hobbies during the pandemic.

May added that he cycled most days instead and had found that it made him feel better than riding motorbikes.

The star's latest Prime Video series is Our Man In Italy, which sees him travel across the whole of the country, and follows previous series Our Man In Japan.

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