Music & Theatre

Ringers to star on James May’s Man Lab!

James May
James May and Stone Handbell Ringers

Stone Handbell Ringers have recorded a special version of the theme tune to ‘James May’s Man Lab’ for the new series which starts later this month.

The Ringers went down to London to film their piece in the Man Lab studio in Brentford.

Top Gear star James May wanted a different group of musicians to arrange the theme tune to the show, a piece he had written himself. A different group will be closing the programme each week by performing the theme tune – and Stone Handbell Ringers will feature on the fourth programme in the series of five shows which will go out on BBC2 from the end of October.

Over 40 musical groups recorded their version of the theme tune, so it’s a huge achievement for Stone Handbell Ringers! And James May was so impressed with the group that they’re going to be involved in the show’s Christmas special!

Musical director Paul Mellor said: “One of the production team suggested handbells. The only team they could think of was the team who were featured on Britain’s Got Talent last year– but James May didn’t like them! So they did a bit of research on the internet, came across a clip of us on YouTube, tracked us down on our website and got in touch! We are thrilled that they did! It was a really good experience.”

One major hurdle for the team was the fact that the actual music score had never been committed to paper.

Paul said: “Our team secretary, former music teacher Rowena Dawson really came up trumps. Ro played the theme over and over again on YouTube and wrote a score from that. I then spent four hours with Ro discussing what we could do with it and make it work for us and the bells. We were all really pleased with the finished arrangement. James May was very impressed, so much so that there is now talk of us doing something for a future Christmas show with him.

“The whole thing has been a great opportunity for us and we were all so pleased with the way we played the piece. We just have to wait now to see it on TV!”



  1. This band of hand-bell ringers are a splendid bunch of musicians who come from a long Staffordshire tradition and deserve to be heard more on television. There live concerts sensational,

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