How James May Achieved a Net Worth of $25 Million

James May

James May is a British journalist and television presenter who began his career in the 1980s. He is probably best known for presenting the car magazine television series ‘Top Gear’ alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond. However, he has presented many more television series, documentaries, and one-off specials. His successful career means that James May’s net worth is now estimated at $25 million. Here is how James May became such a wealthy man.

James May’s Early Life

James May was born in Bristol, England, on January 16, 1963. In his teens, he lived in South Yorkshire with his parents, brother, and two sisters. After leaving school, James May studied music at Pendle College, which is part of Lancaster University. Following his graduation, he spent brief periods working for the civil service and as a records officer in a hospital.

James May’s Career in Journalism

May’s first job in journalism was as the sub-editor for The Engineer in the early 1980s. He then worked for Autocar magazine but was dismissed by the publication because of a prank he played. Since then, May has written for multiple publications, including articles for the Top Gear magazine and a regular column in Car Magazine called England Made Me. He also wrote a weekly column in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. In addition to writing for publications, James May has written, co-authored, or contributed to several books. He published the book ‘Motors’ in 2006, which is a collection of articles he has written about cars. The same year, he co-authored ‘Oz and James’s Big Wine Adventure.’ A year later, he published the books ‘James May’s The 20th Century’ and ‘Notes from the Hard Shoulder.’

His Television Career

May first appeared on television in 1998, when he presented the Channel 4 series ‘Driven.’ A year later, he made his initial appearance on the original run of ‘Top Gear.’ In his early television career, he also narrated for ‘Road Rage school,’ an eight-part series aired on BBC One. In 2003, May rose to prominence when he returned to present the revived version of ‘Top Gear’ for the second season of the series. He was one of the presenters of this series, alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond, until 2015. When the BBC did not renew Clarkson’s contract following an allegation of assault from a crew member, May and Hammond decided that they would not continue to present the series without Clarkson. Instead, the trio co-created a new series to rival ‘Top Gear’ called ‘The Grand Tour’. It is available exclusively through the Amazon Prime online streaming service. The series was launched in 2016 and is ongoing.

Although he is most associated with ‘Top Gear’ and ‘The Grand Tour,’ May has also presented several other motoring series as well as a variety of series based on topics such as engineering, toys, wine, culture, travel, science, mathematics, and the life of men in modern times. For example, the science television series he has presented include ‘Inside Killer Sharks,’ ‘James May’s 20th Century,’ ‘James May’s Big Ideas,’ James May’s Man Lab,’ ‘James May on the Moon,’ and ‘James May at the Edge of Space.’ Some of the other television series presented by May include ‘James May’s Toy Stories,’ ‘Oz and James’s Big Wine Adventure,’ ‘Oz and James Drink Britain,’ and ‘James May: Our Man in Japan.’ Most recently, James May has presented a cooking series, highlighting the fact that he cannot cook and wants to learn. ‘James May: Oh Cook!’ is a series available exclusively on the Amazon Prime online streaming service.

Other Ventures

In addition to journalism and television presenting, James May also has an Internet presence as he is involved in various vlogs and other sites. His first online venture was ‘Head Squeeze,’ a series he created about science, history, technology, and current affairs. May is no longer the presenter of this online series, and it is now renamed ‘BBC Earth Lab.’ His next online venture began after he left ‘Top Gear’ and started a YouTube channel called ‘JM’s Unemployment Tube.’ The channel has more than 200,000 subscribers, and it features May going about his daily business. Most of the videos are of him cooking in the kitchen. Along with his former ‘Top Gear’ co-presenters, James May launched a social networking site with a focus on motoring in 2016. The site is called ‘Drive Tribe.’ In 2019, May created a spin-off site called ‘Foodtribe,’ which also replaced his unemployment vlog. Many of the videos for Kitchentribe are filmed in a small bedsit that May refers to as ‘The Bug-out Bunker.’ Something that many people do not know about James May is that he is the part-owner of a pub. He bought half of a Grade II listed, 18th-century pub called The Royal Oak in Swallowcliffe, Wiltshire, in 2020.

James May’s Net Worth

According to Celebrity Net Worth, James May’s net worth is $25 million. May has made most of his money through television presenting and through his journalism career. However, he has also made money from other ventures, such as his Internet presence, his books, and his part-ownership of a pub.

His Personal Life

In his personal life, James May has been in a relationship with art critic Sarah Frater since 2000. The couple lives together in the Hammersmith district of West London. However, the pair keep their relationship out of the public eye, and they are rarely photographed at events together. May often attends events alone or with Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond. Unsurprisingly, May is an avid collector of cars and owns multiple vehicles. However, he often commutes using a Brompton folding bicycle. More surprising is that James May has had a light aircraft pilot’s license since 2006. Since then, he has owned several light aircraft.


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