James May's Top Toys is a BBC documentary in which James May explored and celebrated his favourite toys, including Etch-A-Sketch, Airfix model aeroplanes, Lego, Meccano, Top Trumps, Scalextric, model cars, and Hornby model trains.
The show included May dropping a parachuted Action Man from a helicopter after an actor named George Huxley dropped it from a window, proving the parachute did not work. Further exploits had May shooting the Action Man figure with a semi-automatic rifle, an AR-15 type rifle in .22lr, thereafter referring to the toy as "Killed-in-Action Man".
May also constructed a model of the Airfix Bismarck. Upon completion, he took it out on a boating lake and shot at it with an air rifle, while pretending to be a British seaman firing a salvo at the battleship.
In the feature of the Etch-A-Sketch, Rose Pipette of The Pipettes is one of the students "etching" May on the toy.
A spin off of the show, James May: My Sisters' Top Toys, came on 23 December 2007. In October 2009, a series of 6 shows were broadcast, entitled James May's Toy Stories.
A celebration of the toys which have survived across the decades, presented by a man who still plays with them. When James May was three, his father gave him a toy car for Christmas, and a life behind the wheel and under a bonnet became his destiny. Forty-two-year-old James takes us on a tour of his childhood mind as he rifles through his boy toy favourites which include Meccano, Lego, Scalectrix, Airfix and, his all time number one toy, the train set. His love of engineering and building things has shaped the ingredients of his entire toy cupboard. There's not a microchip in sight. He still plays with his toys - still loves building things with his various sets. Each toy prompts a story - a history told via archive, anecdote and obsessive collector.
Poor James May. As he was stuck between his older and younger sisters, Jane and Sarah, the only toys he played with were their hand-me-downs. Sifting through the family toy box prompts James to share his tale of woe. Jane and Sarah do get their say, but not before James blows up the tree house family, races in a converted 'silver cross' pram, makes over a 'Girl's World' head, projects a Spirograph on the side of the Royal Festival Hall and makes his own Fuzzy Felt animated film.