James May’s 20th Century, BBC2

JAMES May is someone you suspect grew up surrounded by bits of Meccano, half-built Airfix kits and a copy of the Boys' Bumper Book of Adventure Stories lying well-thumbed by his bedside.

In this high-tech world, the wild-haired Top Gear presenter is something of an anachronism - and thank goodness he is.

Clearly the Beeb have realised that they have a presenting jewel in their midst - his wine tasting adventures with Oz Clark were laugh-out-loud-funny - and have given him a series which brings out all his schoolboy enthusiasm.

James May's 20th Century which began with back-to-back episodes last night offered something to the viewers you don't often see on TV - someone with genuine enthusiasm for what they were doing.

Given the opportunity to look at the way transport has evolved he was bounding around like some boisterous golden retriever.

You could see the wonder in his eyes as he got the chance to fly in old aircraft (surprisingly he is a qualified pilot).

Talk about a kid being let loose in a sweetshop!

Of the holy trinity of Top Gear presenters, Jeremy Clarkson may be the one who courts controversy, Richard Hammond gets the showbiz treatment, but if you want good, old-fashioned eccentricity combined with a sense of fun then you need to rely on good old Captain Slow.

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