James May: The Reassembler
Series in which James May explores the intricacies and engineering marvels of various objects by putting them back together again from a pile of hundreds of their component parts.
Part 1: Lawnmower
James is faced with the 331 pieces that make up a 1959 petrol lawnmower. The Suffolk Colt helped make mowing accessible to the masses by producing a smaller and affordable machine to keep our nation’s lawns at regulation height. As this is a petrol lawnmower, James’s first task is to put the engine back together before he gets to grips with the gearing, the clutch and the blades themselves. Armed only with his toolbox and an endless supply of tea, James experiences the highs and lows only possible when attempting to put history back together again, piece by piece.
Part 2: Telephone
James tackles a 1957 Bakelite dial telephone – 211 pieces, most of them very small indeed, must be reassembled in the correct order if this telephone is ever to ring again. From the receiver with its carbon filings that enable speech to be amplified, to the electrical pulses created by the dial itself that connect the phone to the outside world, James soon discovers that every single piece of the telephone played a crucial role in revolutionising communication around the world.
Part 3: Electric Guitar
James concludes his quest to truly understand everyday objects by putting them back together piece by piece with an electric guitar. 147 pieces must be reassembled carefully and in the correct order, which will entail soldering, extensive use of James’s precision Japanese screwdrivers and some fiddly electronics. The electric guitar transformed the music industry and society itself and, channelling his namesake Brian, James will plug in his reassembled guitar and hope he put all the bits together correctly as he gets ready to perform one of most unexpected guitar solos of all time.