We’re not quite sure why, but BBC2 has been playing online “musical chairs” with one of its most highly rated episodes of James May’s Toy Stories; the long-awaited and yet surprisingly negative, “Action Man at the Speed of Sound.” We had previously reported on this controversial episode in complete detail HERE. As you may recall, after it had aired on Christmas Day, 2014, May’s openly derisive comments towards Action Man instantly upset many fans who were clearly expecting the show to be more of a “hero’s welcome” for the iconic Palitoy line. Instead, the episode unspooled more as an undeserved “roast” of the popular toy’s (perceived) failings.
If you haven’t seen it, the episode in question is enjoyable (enough), but it IS constantly (and unnecessarily) interrupted by May’s personal assertions that Action Man (AM) had “never really done anything.” After a while, his statements must’ve begun to grate on AM’s decidedly die-hard fandom and letters of complaint and comments to that effect began to race around the ‘net. BBC2 of course, had been expecting May’s Christmas Day episode to be a big hit with viewers. And it was. After all, the UK and Europe remains a hotbed of Action Man support. In fact, expecting to bask in further acclaim, the channel didn’t hesitate to post the episode up on its own YouTube channel, where it quickly began to rack up thousands of AM fan “views.” But after only a few weeks, the channel removed the episode without further comment or explanation.
What happened? Why remove ANY program from YouTube that could help expand and increase the viewership of your “real” TV channel? While we can’t say for sure, it’s possible BBC2 was getting too many angry viewer comments from Action Man fans who resented May’s backhanded treatment of their favorite toy. It’s also quite likely that the channel eventually decided discretion was the easier path to take in order to quickly “settle” the matter with as little fuss as possible. Whatever their reasons, the controversial episode was promptly removed from public view and further fan backlash was averted. After all, out of sight, out of mind. Right? Well, maybe not…
As you undoubtedly know, the internet remains the “Wild West” in many respects, and it doesn’t take long for ANY photo or video to find itself a new home—on another server—somewhere. And in this particular case (as of the writing of this article), an anonymous Action Man fan named, “Helen” has uploaded a nice crisp copy of the Speed of Sound episode on a competing video website called DailyMotion (see clip above). As far as we know, Helen’s page is currently the only place fans can view the episode. For whatever reason, 2 months after it originally aired in the UK, Speed of Sound has yet to posted by BBC2 on the Toy Stories official website HERE or its sister Hulu page HERE.
Bottom Line: NOTHING truly ever disappears from the internet. There are always sites SOMEWHERE storing and silently archiving EVERYTHING we’ve ever posted. Most of it happens continuously and silently, in the background, in a faraway land, and we never give it a second thought. So when a “missing” episode suddenly reappears, you shouldn’t be too surprised. If you haven’t yet seen the Speed of Sound episode, take an hour to do so now. And remember, May’s opinions are wholly his own. Whenever he disses Action Man, just laugh it off. It’s a shame he doesn’t “get it.” But we all know that the TRUTH is out there. Go, ACTION MAN!