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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
James May's Cars of the People (2015)

James May's Cars of the People (2015)

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Released 5-Aug-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 150:19
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By None Given

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring James May
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Another Top Gear related release has hit the shelves in addition to the two I have reviewed recently. This release is branded Top Gear, however it is a free standing documentary series hosted by James May only. It is entitled James May's Cars of the People and explores how cars came to the masses in terms of affordability and availability. It is closer to a serious documentary than most Top Gear product, however it certainly still contains enough 'cocking about' to satisfy a Top Gear fan. Considering the recent demise of the show in its most popular form, this product may be just what you need to get you through your withdrawal symptoms.

     The show consists of three 50 minute episodes, so contains more content than many of these specials. The first episode focuses on cars produced by totalitarian regimes including the Volkswagen Beetle, Trabants, Fiat 500 and the Fiat 124 which became the basis of the Lada. He discusses and reveals their foibles, successes and whether or not 'the people' actually got them or not. The second episode turns its attention to cars produced both in England and continental Europe after World War II when road congestion started to become a problem and materials were hard to get. A large range of European micro cars are included, three wheeler English cars made to avoid rules which applied to cars, Japanese K-Cars and more. This episode includes a race challenge and some silliness involving French cars and their readiness or otherwise for war. The third episode completes the series by focusing on aspirational peoples cars including everything from a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow to a Ford Mustang and the Ford Capri. More challenges and silliness ensue in addition to some solid facts and information.

     This is an enjoyable show and if you sometimes wish Top Gear had more about the cars themselves you will certainly enjoy this series. It is interesting and certainly would be enjoyed by car enthusiasts. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality


     The video quality is decent.

     The series is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     The picture was reasonably sharp throughout. The shadow detail was good.

     The colour was good without being great and there was some chroma noise and cross colourisation at times.

     There was quite a bit of simmering/digital noise on display plus some MPEG grain and aliasing.

     There are subtitles available in English for the Hearing Impaired which are clear and easy to read.

     There is no obvious layer change during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio quality is good.

     This disc contains a English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 2.0.

     Dialogue was generally clear and easy to hear and understand. The music used added to the show and sounded good.

     The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    No extras.


    The menu included music and motion.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This show is available in the UK in the same format and also on Blu-ray.


    A Top Gear special about popular cars hosted by James May.

    The video quality is decent but nothing special.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras were left in a Lada by mistake.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, September 04, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMR-PWT500, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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