Top Gear presenter James May was filming in Liverpool (photo: Dave Evans)

Top Gear presenter James May was filming in Liverpool (photo: Dave Evans)

Heads were turned in Liverpool this weekend when television personality James May was in town building a bridge at the Pier Head made out of the popular toy kit – Meccano.

The long-haired Top Gear presenter was joined by student engineers from the University of Liverpool, near the famous Liver Building, to help him construct a Meccano bridge to span the new Leeds-Liverpool canal extension, which runs from Liverpool’s Albert Dock.

Using 100,000 pieces of real Meccano and taking 1,100 hours to build, the bridge moved with a nine metre beam sliding into place like a canal lock gate and a 12 metre section dropping like a drawbridge.

The whole experiment was being filmed for the new BBC 2 series ‘James May’s Toy Stories’ due to be screened in the autumn this year, which involves May making life-size constructions out of popular toys.

For instance, he has created a Plasticine garden at the Chelsea Flower Show and also built a house made out of Lego, which he lived in for a couple of days.

The construction of the Liverpool Meccano bridge – which May completed a dare devil walk across on Saturday afternoon – was also helped by the involvement of the North East Meccano Guild.

Hayden Nuttal, design director of Atkins Structural Engineering, engineered the bridge design which is made out of real, half inch-wide Meccano strips, girders and bolts, rather than giant Meccano.

The total length of Meccano used in the bridge, if laid end-to-end, would stretch about three-and-a-half miles.

Liverpool was home to Meccano before its Wavertree factory, located in Binns Road, closed in 1979.