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TOP Gear recorded its highest-ever ratings when James May was part of the presenting team alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond.

And the long-haired petrolhead insists that a good proportion of their viewers were women, hitting back at claims from current host Paddy McGuinness that the BBC motoring show is more appealing to female audiences these days.

6James May has hitting back at claims from current host Paddy McGuinness that the BBC motoring show is more appealing to female audiences these days 6Speaking exclusively to The Sun, James, 59, said: 'We always had a lot of women following us, but I don’t think it was because of the way we looked or dressed' 6Paddy last month told The Sun his co-host Freddie Flintoff was the big draw for female fans, labelling him 'eye candy'Credit: BBC STUDIOS 2021

Speaking exclusively to The Sun, James, 59, said: “We always had a lot of women following us, but I don’t think it was because of the way we looked or dressed.

“They were either into cars or liked the crap jokes. We were definitely not a ‘bloke show’.”

Paddy last month told The Sun his co-host Freddie Flintoff was the big draw for female fans, labelling him “eye candy”.

So who was the “eye candy” out of James, Jeremy and Richard?

READ MORE ABOUT JAMES MAYGRAND REVEAL James May finally reveals what he really thinks of Clarkson's FarmGEARING UP The Grand Tour bosses finally confirm future of show after standalone specials

James says: “None of us! I’ve never heard anyone describe any of us as ‘eye candy’. We’re not going to be on the front of GQ or Tatler or something like that. 

“I don’t think that’s why people watch us. In fact, I’m absolutely convinced.”

The star goes solo in new Prime Video show James May: Our Man In Italy, a follow-up to his 2020 series on Japan.

James toured Italy for almost three months, getting stuck into regional pastimes and local food, from the Sicilian capital of Palermo to the peaks of the Dolomite mountains.

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Having made the most of the local cuisine, James went on a health kick once back in Blighty.

He says: “It’s difficult in Italy because they throw cakes, biscuits and pasta at you. It’s a world of carbohydrates.

“I don’t understand why Italians aren’t all the size of houses.

“There was always far too much food. It was a bit like America in that respect. 

“When we were filming, someone would say, ‘Let’s have a short break for lunch’ and there would be enough food for 30 or 40 people, but there were eight of us. Just acres of food.”

And because James was always told as a child to “finish his plate”, he rarely had leftovers.

He says: “It’s something to do with the way I was brought up. I don’t like leaving food. I think it’s wasteful. 

“I work for a food charity once a week because I feel quite strongly about it.

“It’s a mark of respect that you’re not able to finish it all because your host is so generous.”

James also immerses himself in Italian fashion for the series, which can be viewed in full from July 15.

In Sicily he experiments with flat caps, then dresses as a knight for an opera production — perhaps the most dashing James has ever looked. 

Often targeted by trolls over his unique style, James says: “Twitter is full of people telling me to get a haircut, iron my clothes and make myself look more presentable. 

“I do struggle with it. If I go into clothes shops, I look at shoes and jackets and I think, ‘Wow, this is all fantastic. They’re amazing colourful shirts; I must have this jacket’.

“But I’m only really comfortable if I wear a knackered pair of jeans and a baggy T-shirt. I like to feel like I’m not wearing any clothes.”

He adds: “I’m not a clothes horse. I’m not the right shape for it. I’m too barrel-chested, my head’s too big and I have orangutan arms. The only way I can get a shirt to fit really well is to get a friend of mine, who’s a clothes designer, to make one for me. 

“But then I get fat because I’ve been to Italy and they don’t fit me either!”

Something James has in common with Italian fashionistas is his famous mane — which has become his signature look over the years.

James says he may take a style cue from footie star Jack Grealish by experimenting with an Alice band.

 But he is still haunted by an earlier brush with hair accessories when he was accused of copying another glamorous footballer’s look.

He says: “When I was younger, about ten years ago — when my hair was dark and lustrous — I used to wear a headband like David Beckham.

“But I had to stop wearing it because it looked like I was trying to imitate him. 

“But actually, you push it right over your head like the girls did at school when I was a kid. You pull it up so it’s like a bandana.

“It’s actually really useful if you’re cooking or in the workshop because you’re keeping the hair out of your face and out of the machinery without the complication of a ponytail.”

 On the possibility of a man-bun, James jokes: “Somebody tried to do it to me the other day. I have a few mates who do it.

‘Won’t keep me awake’

“I’d look like one of those topknots old sailors had, but it might be worth a go.”

James admits any new look would be mocked by his old pals Jeremy and Richard, who he continues to work with on his other Prime Video project, motoring show The Grand Tour.

Asked how they would react if he strolled into filming wearing an Alice band, he says: “They would have a very unenlightened, non-woke view of it.

“But I don’t really care much about what Clarkson and Hammond think to be honest. It’s not going to keep me awake.”

The trio have been working together for decades and there is no sign of them splitting up any time soon.

They have all worked on solo projects away from The Grand Tour, with Clarkson’s Farm in particular earning plaudits.

Has James ever been tempted to get into the farming business?

“Christ no,” he says. “Farming is just big gardening in my view. I’m not going anywhere near that.”

Though close, James says neither Jeremy, 62, nor Richard, 52, are likely to make any effort for his 60th birthday next year.

Indeed, he has only ever received one gift from the pair of them.

He says: “If I invited them to a party, they would probably come. I’m not saying I would. They wouldn’t do anything for me.

“I remember on my 55th birthday Hammond gave me a second-hand pencil and a drawing of a balloon he made.

“That’s the only birthday gift I’ve ever had from the other two.

6James in a shot from his new show James May: Our Man In Italy 6James with a Ferrari, of course, in the new show 6James May: Our Man In Italy launches on July 15 on Prime Video Read More on The SunBUMPING ALONG My baby bump is so big people think it’s fake - giving birth terrifies me

“Jeremy’s not even bought me a beer. We just don’t care. We’re far too manly to think about people’s birthdays.

“Honestly, when I wake up on my birthday, I don’t think, ‘Oh no, J.C. and R.H. haven’t sent me a card’. I don’t think about it. It’s not significant.”

  • James May: Our Man In Italy launches on July 15 on Prime Video.

JAMES MAY laces up football boots for the first time ever in his new show.

He visited Juventus’ training ground in Turin and had a penalty shootout with his Italian guide Paulo, who is half his age.

Unlike some Englishmen, James was surprisingly accomplished from the spot, placing the ball in the top corner.

But he insisted: “I’m not very sporty. I haven’t learned the technique of hitting the ball very hard, so I have to do it in a slightly devious fashion – and it worked, as it went into the top corner. 

“It got quite tense in the end. Paulo, my guide, is 25 years younger than me and does play football and is a big Juventus fan so it was properly important to him – and he only just beat me. It’s over 25 years since I had a game of football. I’ve kicked a ball a few times.

“The last time was a game of five-a-side as a university student in 1985.”

While at the Juventus HQ, he taught club legend and ex-Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini, left, how to make a cuppa.

James said: “We were only supposed to have him officially for ten minutes but he was a proper sport and played along with it. He didn’t know we were going to do the cup-of-tea challenge.

“He could have stormed off – a lot of people would – but he went along with it and it was great. 

“It was the only victory I could score over Italy. They can’t make a decent cup of tea. They really can’t.”

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Tags: features print features the grand tour the sun newspaper top gear but i don’t think it i don’t think it don’t think it but i don’t think i don’t think but i don’t but i don’t don’t think think it’s jeremy clarkson italian fashion the grand tour the top corner on prime video shootout along with it not going his new show think

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Joy-Anna Duggar hides behind family & covers stomach at sister-in-law Abbie’s baby shower as fans think she’s pregnant

JOY-ANNA Duggar is fueling speculation that she's pregnant after she was spotted hiding behind family members in recent photos.

The Duggar family – including excommunicated member Jill Duggar – gathered to celebrate Abbie's baby shower.

5Joy-Anna Duggar is fueling speculation that she's pregnant with baby No. 3Credit: Instagram/@estherbates97 5She was spotted wearing a loose dress and hiding behind family at a recent gatheringCredit: YouTube

Those who attended the party shared sweet snaps, including a group shot featuring several Duggar ladies and their family friends.

One such photo, shared by Esther Bates, shows Joy-Anna, tk, hiding behind pregnant sister-in-law Abbie.

The post comes amid rumors that she is pregnant and fans think she may have been using the others in the photo to keep the secret.

Reddit users shared other snaps from the celebration, which give a slightly better view of Joy-Anna's stomach.

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Many noted that she appears to be wearing a loose-fitting dress in the photos.

While not uncommon due to Duggar modesty standards, fans think it may be a clue.

One Reddit user wrote: "Joy is probably pregnant again."

Speculation has been rife as of late, though the former Counting On star has been largely absent from social media.

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Earlier this month, Duggar fans noted a minor detail in a new photo shared by the star that signals a baby is incoming.

In her first post back on Instagram after a six-month break, Joy-Anna posed outside with her husband Austin Forsyth, and their two kids, Gideon and Evelyn.

They are dressed to the nines in the sweet snap and Joy-Anna has on glasses.

Reddit users claim there's a clue in the reality star's specs.

On a Duggar-dedicated Reddit board, one fan commented 
"Joy is wearing her glasses...start the announcement clock."

A second person wrote: "Every time the glasses give it away."

Another Redditor reasoned, "the sudden social media return makes sense now," with a fourth adding, "Oh she is [definitely] pregnant."

One fan asked, "fill me in on this theory...I also think she’s pregnant."

An observant Redditor responded, writing "Joy seems to only wear her glasses while pregnant. Either [because] her vision changes while pregnant to the point she needs glasses or she always needs glasses but her eyes change shape during pregnancy so she can’t wear her contacts."

Other fans argued that more proof is needed, with one person commenting "We thought this before her social media break...when she had glasses on."

Another commenter chimed, "Yeah, she’s worn glasses plenty before and not been pregnant...We need another thing to gauge her on besides this."


Fans have been speculating about a possible third pregnancy for some time.

Speculation picked up after eagle-eyed fans thought they spotted a bump hiding beneath Joy-Anna's clothing.

She personality added to the buzz as her followers uncovered a recent photo with friends.

In the picture, reshared on Reddit, the reality star again posed with Austin and their children. 

The young family stood beside a group of friends outside of the Gospel Light Baptist Church where they smiled after Sunday service.

Fans were far more concerned about Joy-Anna's choice of clothing, as she rocked a loose-fitting babydoll dress with a patchwork pattern.

The mother of two also positioned her son right in front of her stomach, in what seemed like an effort to hide a growing bump.

The former TLC star's fans raced to the comments, wasting no time weighing in.

"If Joy is pregnant she's good at hiding it," one wrote alongside the photo, opening up the conversation.

"The waistline of her dress would cover a small bump for sure. With that said, she’s been looking 'early pregnant' for many months.

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"At some point at least, it has to have just been Joy having a regular post-baby tummy. It’s really hard to get anything definitive from any of these pictures we’ve seen," a second argued.

A third noted: "The only reason I think she is, is because Evy will be 2 next month."

5She previously generated pregnancy buzz with a family photo after a social media breakCredit: Instagram 5In another snap, fans noticed she was hiding her stomach while out with friendsCredit: Instagram 5She has not addressed the speculationCredit: Instagram/Joy-Anna Duggar

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