James May's 20th Century

BBC Two (ended 2007)


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Episode Guide


  • Season 1
    • 7/24/07
      James investigates why so many of us choose to live in cities. In New York, he ascends the Woolworth tower - one of the tallest buildings on the planet. He tests the strength of glass used in skyscrapers, by dropping a Mini onto it. All cities need powers and James discovers that we all have a man from Newcastle to thank for the fact that we only need one type of plug on our electrical equipment, instead of 22 different plugs.moreless
    • 7/24/07
      James reminisces about his teenage years and the Yamaha FS1E, or 'the Fizzy', as it was known to the under 20s. The 'Fizzy' could be ridden legally by 16-year-olds and was the dream transport of choice for budding bikers. He also looks at the origin of the electric guitar and meets Status Quo, who mastered three of the chords you can play on one.moreless
    • Take Cover!
      Episode 4
      James takes a flight in the RAF's latest aeroplane - the Eurofighter Typhoon. He also flies in a biplane to re-enact the first air raid. He then investigates camouflage for men and dazzle ships: warships painted in a strange pattern of stripes and lines to confuse German U-boats during the Second World War.moreless
    • Body Fantastic
      Episode 3
      How far can you push the human body? James sets out to discover how far he can push his with a trip in a centrifuge. He also observes open heart surgery and and learns about one of the greatest medical discoveries of the 20th century - DNA.
    • Blast Off
      Episode 2
      James discovers that the Space Race started in a rather unusual place - Staveley Road, Chiswick, west London. This was the site of the first attack from a Nazi V2 rocket. The same technology used to power the V2, would later take the Americans to the moon. He drives a Moon Buggy - or a Lunar Rover Vehicle, to use its correct name and visits Cape Canaveral to see the Saturn 5 rockets.moreless
    • 7/10/07
      James travels aboard the Vickers Vimy aircraft, which pioneered the boom in air travel across Europe. He also drives the car which brought motoring to the masses - the Ford Model T. Whilst the Vimy and the Model T made it possible for people to travel, the advent of newsreels and television brought the world to our homes.moreless