James May's Man Lab

James May thinks modern man needs saving. Thirty years ago men were a resourceful, practical and dependable band of brothers but today they are a pale imitation of the men of yesteryear. From his Man Lab HQ, James and his team set out on a series of action-packed challenges that will help modern man relearn some of the vital skills.
James May
Special InterestDocumentary
English [CC]
Audio languages
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  1. 1. Episode 1
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    March 28, 2013
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    James creates his very own pizza oven. James and Oz Clarke send side-kick Rory on a wine tasting mission, and James commentates on the 2012 Grand National.
  2. 2. Episode 2
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    April 4, 2013
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    James chases lightning and competes in the rock-paper-scissors world championships. Side-kick Rory is also sent to Wales to mine coal to aid James in making soap, and the team strap cameras on cats in order to improve a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
  3. 3. Episode 3
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    April 11, 2013
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    James helps throw buns in Abingdon as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations across Oxfordshire. The Man Lab also builds a revolutionary type of water clock and tests once and for all whether it is possible to make your own luck in Russian beer roulette.
  4. 4. Episode 4
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    April 18, 2013
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    The team enhances the office railway with a mail sorter while James organises countless volunteers to help his father find a wedding ring that was lost 40 years ago. In order to give a voice to as many people as possible, the Man Lab crew organises pirate radio station, Man Lab Radio.
  5. 5. Episode 5
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    April 25, 2013
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    Sidekick Rory Barker is sent to try and run a whelk stall, a monster is made for Skegness, the team make a table football table with two players, so it is a penalty shootout. There is also a device to warn you if your tea gets cold.

More details

Al Campbell
Tom Whitter
Tom WhitterWill Daws
Season year
Plum Pictures
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Stream instantly Details
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices


4.4 out of 5 stars

62 global ratings

  1. 73% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 5% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 13% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 5% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

John WernerReviewed in the United States on February 25, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fun Celebration of Sublime Stupidiy
James May is emminently likeable. He's a talented guy at stringing his words as well as intonation. He's unpretentious. Yes, as what our Brit cousins call "a presenter" (i.e.host) he is quite enjoyable to look and listen to. And that's a good thing because his show entitled Man Lab is a bit deranged, even useless.

Its May that turns the tide making Man Lab interesting. While we do see a few impressive feats and constructs it must be weighed against the sublimely ridiculous things someone, perhaps May himself, comes up with. With the slimest sliver of practical use most projects are simply bonkers. Again, the constant is the soothing, often hilarious, stream of words flowing out of May.

You've probably guessed that I feel May is a truly unique curious, enlightened even wildly unencumbered soul whoo in just talking to the camera (to me personally it often seems) entertains no matter what the subject may be. As such I find I even watch the segments I have little or no interest in. Watch it and let the stupid fun begin. BTW...I absolutely hate that cliché term "Man Cave", but "Man Lab" is brilliant.
7 people found this helpful
ProvidentialReviewed in the United States on January 29, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Reality TV for Lads
Disclaimer: I turned off partway through the first episode. Britain has a concept of "lads" which roughly equates to the sort of rough-and-tumble verbal jousting and play that young boys stereotypically engage in. This is a "lad" show, not a man show. It's basically a reality TV confection, and not much more.

The format looks nicer in words than in action. James May decides on a series of challenges to be examined during the course of an episode. The idea is that knowledge of how to do these things makes someone more "manly". This sounds really exciting - maybe you'll learn useful stuff like shaving! What are the actual challenges in the first episode, though? Defusing a bomb, pouring a concrete countertop, serenading a lady with poetry, and some other stuff that's already left my mind.

Pouring a concrete countertop would be a great skill, but they don't actually tell you anything about mixing the concrete or setting up the mould. They just show people doing it. Given how heavy and brittle concrete is, you really shouldn't attempt a project this size until you've had practice. This part of the episode can be safely substituted for a 30-second idea video on your local home and gardening network, you'll have to look up the specifics either way.

Defusing a bomb is... stupid. To be fair this is filmed in Britain so there's a non-zero chance for farmers and diggers to discover unexploded ordinance from the war. There's a thread of real concern behind this skit. But here's what a real man does when he finds a bomb: he walks away very carefully, and then when at a safe distance behind shelter, he calls emergency services. Only a hormone-sick "lad" would do anything whatsoever to disturb a bomb.

So that's it. If you're a Reality TV viewer looking for something testosterone-themed, this may be it. If you're a Top Gear or actual DIY fan looking for some serious technical information... maybe it gets better, but the first episode was a no for me.
6 people found this helpful
EricTheDesignerReviewed in the United States on January 20, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
We Need Man Lab Now More Than Ever!
Fantastic Show! I'm watching this show in 2020 and we really need to bring this show back! James May is the Man! So fun and different! I could listen to May talk til the cows come home!
11 people found this helpful
RobertReviewed in the United States on February 6, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Just found this and love it.
I've read a few negative reviews and to those I have to say; "Really?" This series is slapstick and I think you all are taking it way too seriously. If you haven't watched an outrageously over the top attempt at getting a homemade glider to fly the distance of the English Channel, the challenge of conducting a race on a 10 mile model toy train track or the 1970's action figure "Action Man" doll to fly supersonic than I highly recommend watching. James May does a great job with this and I look forward to watching anything else he's involved with. It's really a fun series to watch and I highly recommend it. My favorite are the ones with Sim Oakley and Oz Clarke. What a great team and what a really fun show.
5 people found this helpful
sharonReviewed in the United States on February 20, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Good clean fun, people enjoying life and making things. Creative, silly, ridiculous, absurd at times, but that's James May. If you have to criticize this kind of program, you really shouldn't be watching. This is for grown ups who forgot to grow up and aren't ashamed, even to live it vicariously. James May's theory on life seems to be not to take yourself or things too seriously. Love the pool table, lounge and the bar, the kitchen, too. My dream house and I'm not a bloke. Work benches, tools - what fun!
3 people found this helpful
AdamDZReviewed in the United States on December 31, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
I like James May, loved Our Man in Japan, but this is very disappointing. I couldn't make it through the first episode. The format is just annoying. There is no flow, no substance. Boring, uninteresting, sometimes outright stupid topics, randomly jumping from one unrelated idea to another every two minutes. Impossible to stay interested.

There is no in-depth explanation of anything being done and not enough time spent on anything, so if you're hoping for some DIY advice, this is not it.

Oh, and if you find a bomb you ran away and contact the authorities.
APE GamerReviewed in the United States on December 13, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Love watching James May
If you don't get the appeal of James May, then this show might not be for you. Don't complain that he doesn't detail how to build the concrete kitchen counter - that's not the point.

I don't care one bit about cooking, yet I loved his cooking show, and I really don't care about cars, but May is the reason I watched Top Gear and Grand Tour. His Toy Stories series is also brilliant.
One person found this helpful
Scott WidmannReviewed in the United States on September 16, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Nothing is manly about this show.
Pretty chincy. Nothing manly on this show.

James doesn't do any of the work here, not so manly.

Also - the projects are pretty low quality and aren't applicable to what is typically though of as manly.

Crappy concrete countertop

Army boot shining

Disabling a timer on a septic tank

Throwing together an oversized model train without any walkthrough and tieing it to an overcomplicated doorbell code system

Detuning a guitar for a crappy "serenade"

Slow assembly of Ikea furniture

No thanks
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