Brian May: Queen legend brought downer on interview, Jeremy Vine admits

Brian May addresses controversy over album promo

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Queen legend Brian May recently shared his thoughts in a candid interview with Jeremy Vine – one of the UK’s leading broadcasters. The presenter, who also fronts his self-titled programme The Jeremy Vine Show on Channel 5, spoke candidly about his chat with the guitarist.

The 55-year-old’s BBC Radio 2 show includes a weekly feature that asks guests the question, “What Makes Us Human?”

The landmark series has now been published in a new book featuring essays from figures including Maureen Lipman, Prue Leith and Chris Packham.

Addressing Queen legend Brian’s essay, Jeremy confessed that his response was not what he anticipated.

The TV star explained that he is constantly surprised by prominent figures’ take on what makes us human.

Jeremy described Olympic medallist Sebastian Coe crediting jazz music as opposed to running or journalist Esther Rantzen’s suggestion of volunteering in their respective essays.

But the Channel 5 broadcaster admitted he was left stunned by the Queen guitarist’s take on the question.

“Brian May of Queen said he’s not sure if we are very good as a species and maybe what makes us human is that we’re very capable of doing very bad things,” Jeremy commented.

“That was a bit of downer.”

In his essay, the Queen rocker shared that “kindness” is what makes us human but he questioned our behaviour as a species.

Brian wrote: “We see decisions being made purely on the basis of money, or to benefit the careers of those wielding power.

“We see people being cruel to children, to the disadvantaged, and to the other creatures with whom we share this glistening blue planet.”

The Queen legend added that he felt the inhumane side of humans is “winning”.


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Brian added: “Looking around at the concrete world we have created, in which the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the weak become persecuted to extinction, I seriously wonder if we have the right to call ourselves, as a race, human.”

The musician claimed that he believes that people have a “long way to go” before we can call our actions human.

Addressing the Radio 2 series, Jeremy explained his show editor Phil Jones came up with the concept where they invited prominent people to share their response to that question as they reflect on their own lives.

Speaking about the new book, Jeremy said: “We had done the series on BBC Radio 2 and we ended up with so many great answers from people as diverse as David Attenborough, Sebastian Coe and Esther Rantzen.

“When we got to about 100 we thought we better start looking at compiling something.”

He continued: “We got to the point where we just wanted to do it. In the end, I’m not sure we ever found the answer. That’s the problem. I wish we knew what makes us human.

“What we found is we all think it’s different things.”

What Makes Us Human?: 130 answers to the big question with a foreword by Jeremy Vine (£20, Headline) is out now.

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