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Richard Hammond

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Richard Mark Hammond, nicknamed "Hamster", (born 19 December 1969) is a British TV presenter, most noted for co-hosting car programme Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson and James May, as well as presenting Brainiac: Science Abuse on Sky1, Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections on BBC Two, Should I Worry About...? on BBC One and Total Wipeout, also on BBC One and Richard Hammond's Blast Lab on CBBC. He has also presented several one-off specials such as ITV's The Gunpowder Plot: Exploding The Legend and the annual Crufts awards.

Life and career

Hammond was born in Shirley, West Midlands and is the grandson of workers in the Birmingham automobile industry.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref>Family detective: Richard Hammond - Telegraph</ref> In the mid-1980s Hammond moved with his family (mother Eileen, father Alan, and younger brothers Andrew and Nicholas) to the North Yorkshire cathedral city of Ripon where his father ran a probate business in the market square. Originally a pupil of Solihull School, a fee-paying boys' independent school in the West Midlands town, he moved to Ripon Grammar School, and from 1987 to 1989 attended Harrogate College of Art and Technology.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> After his graduation he worked for several radio stations, including Radio Cleveland, Radio York, Radio Cumbria, Radio Leeds and Radio Lancashire, before auditioning for Top Gear.

Top Gear

Hammond became a presenter on Top Gear in 2002, when the show began its present format. He is sometimes referred to as "Hamster" by fans and his co-presenters (Jeremy Clarkson and James May) on Top Gear.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> His nickname was further reinforced when on three separate occasions in Series 7, Hammond ate cardboard, mimicking hamster-like behaviour. Another running gag by co-host Jeremy Clarkson is Hammond's supposed use of teeth whitener,<ref>[1]</ref> and it was staged to appear that he was caught looking at a website on teeth whiteners on Richard Hammond's 5 O'Clock Show. Clarkson had found a pack of teeth whiteners in the Marcos TSO GT2 Hammond had tested. Hammond had objected, saying it was a set up. During an episode in June 2009 which featured the presenters in their office searching for car insurance prices while pretending to be 17 year olds, a teeth whitening kit was pictured on his desk. When the Peel P50 was being tested in the Top Gear office, Jeremy Clarkson was talking to Hammond on the phone about him whitening his teeth for £4000.

In the first episode of series 9 on 28 January 2007, Hammond returned to a hero's welcome, complete with dancing girls, aeroplane style stairs and fireworks. The show also contained images of his high speed crash, for which he made international headlines, with Hammond talking through the events of the day, after which the audience broke into spontaneous applause. Hammond then requested that the crash never be mentioned on Top Gear again, though all three Top Gear presenters have since referred to it in jokes during the news segment of the programmes. He told his colleagues "The only difference between me now, and before the crash, is that I like celery now and I didn't before".<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

Brainiac: Science Abuse

In 2003, Hammond became the first presenter of Brainiac: Science Abuse; he was joined by Jon Tickle with Charlotte Hudson joining in series 2.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> After the fourth series it was announced that Richard Hammond was no longer going to present the show after he signed an exclusive deal with the BBC. Vic Reeves took his place as main presenter.<ref name="thesunbrainiac">The Sun Online — Vic lands mad science show</ref>

Other radio and television work

Early in his career, Hammond worked at many radio stations, including Radio Cleveland, Radio York, Radio Cumbria, Radio Leeds, and Radio Lancashire,<ref>BBC News — Profile: Richard Hammond. Retrieved 21 September 2006.</ref> before going on to present a number of daytime lifestyle shows and motoring programmes such as Motor Week on Men & Motors.

He presented the Crufts dog show in 2005, the 2004 and 2005 British Parking Awards, and has appeared on School's Out, a quiz show on BBC One where celebrities answer questions about things they learned at school. He has also presented The Gunpowder Plot: Exploding The Legend.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> Along with his work on Top Gear, he presented Should I Worry About...? on BBC One, Time Commanders on BBC Two and the first four series of Brainiac: Science Abuse on Sky One. He was also a team captain on the BBC Two quiz show, Petrolheads, in which a memorable part was one where Hammond was tricked into smashing his classic Ferrari while trying to parallel park blindfolded in another car.

From 3 January 2006 until 10 February 2006, Hammond was the eponymous star of Richard Hammond's 5 O'Clock Show with his co-star Mel Giedroyc of Light Lunch fame.<ref name="imdb.com">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> The programme, which discussed a wide range of topics, was shown every weekday on ITV between 17:00 and 18:00.<ref name="imdb.com"/>

In July 2005, Hammond was voted number one in a Heat magazine poll of top "weird celebrity crushes." Also in 2005 he was voted one of the top 10 British TV talents.<ref name="bbctop10">BBC News — New Doctor Who tops talent list</ref>

In one episode of Top Gear, fellow presenter James May was mocked by both Hammond and Clarkson for being named the celebrity with the worst hairstyle, while Hammond was named the celebrity with the best.

As part of Red Nose Day 2007, Hammond stood for nomination via a public telephone vote, along with Andy Hamilton and Kelvin MacKenzie, to be a one-off co-presenter of BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour on 16 March 2007.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> However, he was defeated by Andy Hamilton.

In April 2007, Hammond presented a one off special on BBC Radio 2 for Good Friday followed by another in August 2007 for the Bank Holiday. He is scheduled to present more Bank Holiday specials for the station.

Hammond recorded an interview with the famed American stuntman Evel Knievel, which aired on the 23 December 2007 on BBC One - which was Knievel's last interview before his death on 30 November 2007.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

In September 2008, Hammond presented the first episode of a new series; Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections on the National Geographic Channel.<ref name="natgeochannel.co.uk">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> In this show, Hammond discovers how the inventions of the past, along with assistance from nature, help designers today. Episodes include the building of the Airbus A380, Taipei 101 and the Keck Observatory.<ref name="natgeochannel.co.uk"/>

Hammond also filmed an advertisement for Morrisons supermarkets in 2008,<ref name="telegraph.co.uk">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> and joined forces with the cast of TV show Ashes To Ashes for a special insert on the 2008 Children In Need special.

While in New Zealand for Top Gear Live 2009, Hammond filmed several television commercials for Telecom New Zealand's new XT UTMS mobile network. Telecom claimed that the new network was "Faster in more places", compared to its competitors and its existing CDMA network. After the network repeatedly failed in late 2009 and early 2010, Hammond became the butt of a joke when he didn't return to New Zealand for Top Gear Live 2010. His fellow Top Gear co-hosts said he was too embarrassed to come back to New Zealand, and in a supposed live feed back to Hammond, the feed sudddenly drops out as the "XT Network had crashed".<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>. Hammond was later given the right of reply to his colleagues during an interview with Marcus Lush on RadioLIVE's breakfast show in New Zealand<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>.

Hammond is currently hosting the UK version of the US series Wipeout, called Total Wipeout. It takes place in Argentina, presented by Amanda Byram and Richard Hammond (who is in a studio in Great Britain) <ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

Hammond also presented a science-themed game show for children, Richard Hammond's Blast Lab which aired on BBC Two and CBBC.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

In March 2010 he presented a 3 episode series called "Richard Hammonds Invisible Worlds"

Personal life

Hammond has been married to Amanda Etheridge (mostly known as Mindy) <ref>BBC NEWS | UK | Hammond 'has taken first steps'</ref> since May 2002; the couple also have two daughters Izzy and Willow. The family lives in a mock castle in Herefordshire and also have an apartment in London. They have four horses, five dogs, two cats, some ducks, and a few chickens, goats and sheep. This collection of pets includes Tee-Gee/TG or Top Gear Dog. Hammond also plays the bass guitar, on which he accompanied the other Top Gear presenters when they performed alongside Justin Hawkins on Top Gear of the Pops for Comic Relief in 2007. Hammond likes to ride his bicycle in cities, for which he claims to be mocked mercilessly by fellow presenter Jeremy Clarkson.<ref>BBC NEWS | UK | Hammond 'prefers cycling in town'</ref> Hammond further claims that there is no reason to drive a Range Rover in town.

Hammond is a fan of Porsche 911s (unlike Clarkson) and considers the Pagani Zonda to be the ultimate supercar. He is also a fan of monster trucks - a fact which can be backed up by his appearance at Truckfest '07. Much unlike Clarkson and May, he also has an interest in American Muscle cars. He has a Dodge Charger, a Shelby Mustang, and also a Dodge Challenger which he bought on his last trip to the United States, due to the fact that Chrysler wouldn't lend Top Gear one, because apparently they are 'too harsh' about their cars.

Hammond had also owned a Morgan AeroMax, in which he was involved in a car accident on 9 August 2009.

On 22 July 2007, during severe flooding, Hammond left his Porsche 911 - in which he had been stuck in traffic for 13 hours - to run home for his daughter's birthday. He ran 16 miles (26 km) in two-and-a-half hours (from 3am to 5:30 am), arriving home before his daughter woke up.<ref name="news.sky.com">http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-1276474,00.html Article reporting on Hammond's car abandonment</ref><ref name="annanova1">ANNANOVA: Star dumps car to run 16 miles home</ref>

An interview with The Sunday Times in February 2008 reported Hammond as having moved briefly from Gloucestershire to Buckinghamshire, then back again because he missed the country life.<ref name=autogenerated1>On the Move: Richard Hammond</ref>

Hammond is a keen motorcyclist<ref>First bike ride 'elates' Hammond</ref> and Land Rover Defender fan. He spent over £70,000 rebuilding his 110 "Buster" in 2008.

In October the Hereford Times confirmed he had splashed-out £3 million buying Bollitree Castle which is situated near Weston under Penyard, Ross-on-Wye. It has been rumoured he has also bought a large house in the small town of Wantage, Oxfordshire.<ref name="news.sky.com"/><ref name="annanova1"/>

On Top Gear in 2007, Hammond went to Africa on an 'Epic Road Trip' across Botswana. While there he found a 1963 Opel Kadett, in which he drove across Botswana. Hammond named it Oliver. On Top Gear a week after the special was aired, Hammond announced during the news, that he had shipped Oliver back to the UK, where it was restored by a team from Practical Classics magazine. Oliver features on Hammond's children's science television show Richard Hammond's Blast Lab and in another episode of Top Gear as a kind of "Hill-holder" in the trailer truck challenge (after it acquired the personal plate "OLI V3R"). Oliver is also mentioned in Hammond's second autobiography As You Do.

It has also been revealed in the Top Gear Special in Bolivia episode, he has a phobia of insects.

Vampire dragster crash

During filming of a Top Gear segment at the former RAF Elvington airbase near York on 20 September 2006, Hammond was injured in the crash of the jet-powered car he was piloting.<ref name = "BBCNews1">Template:Citation</ref><ref name = "BBCNews2">Template:Citation</ref><ref name = "HSE1">Template:Citation</ref> Hammond was travelling at 288 mph (463 km/h) at the time of the crash.<ref name="TopGear1">Template:Citation</ref>

His vehicle, a dragster called Vampire, was theoretically capable of travelling at speeds of up to 370 mph (595 km/h).<ref name = "BBCNews2"/> The vehicle was the same car that in 2000, piloted by Colin Fallows, set the British land speed record at 300.3 mph (483.3 km/h).<ref name = "HSE1"/>Template:Rp<ref name = "BBCNews3">Template:Citation</ref> The Vampire was powered by a single Bristol-Siddeley Orpheus afterburning turbojet engine outputting 10,000 hp (7.5 MW).<ref name = "BBCNews2"/><ref name="TopGear1"/>

Some accounts suggested that the accident occurred during an attempt to break the British land speed record,<ref name = "BBCNews1"/><ref name = "BBCNews4">Template:Citation</ref> however the Health and Safety Executive report on the crash found that a proposal to try to officially break the record was vetoed in advance by Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman, due to the risks and complexities of such a venture<ref name = "HSE1"/>Template:Rp. (The report stated: "Runs were to be carried out in only one direction along a pre-set course on the Elvington runway. Vampire’s speed was to be recorded using GPS satellite telemetry. The intention was to record the maximum speed, not to measure an average speed over a measured course, and for [Hammond] to describe how it felt."<ref name = "HSE1"/>Template:Rp)

Hammond was completing a seventh and final run to collect extra footage for the programme when his front-right tyre failed,<ref name = "HSE1"/>Template:Rp<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> and, according to witness and first responder Dave Ogden, "one of the parachutes had deployed but it went on to the grass and spun over and over before coming to a rest about 100 yards from us."<ref name = "SkyNews1">Template:Citation</ref> The emergency crew quickly arrived at the car, finding it inverted and partially embedded in the grass.<ref name = "BBCNews4"/> Rescuers felt a pulse and heard the unconscious Hammond breathing before the car was turned upright.<ref name = "BBCNews4"/> Hammond was cut free with hydraulic shears, and placed on a backboard.<ref name = "HSE1"/>Template:Rp "He was regaining consciousness at that point and said he had some lower back pain".<ref name = "BBCNews4"/> He was then transported by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to the neurological unit of the Leeds General Infirmary.<ref name = "BBCNews1"/><ref name = "HSE1"/>Template:Rp<ref name = "BBCNews5">Template:Citation</ref> Hammond's family visited him at the hospital along with Top Gear co-presenters James May and Jeremy Clarkson.<ref name = "SkyNews1"/><ref name = "BBCNews5"/> Clarkson wished Hammond well, saying "Both James and I are looking forward to getting our 'Hamster' back", referring to Hammond by his nickname.<ref name = "BBCNews1"/><ref name = "SkyNews1"/>

The Health & Safety Executive report stated that Hammond's instantaneous reaction to the tyre blow out seems to have been that of a competent high performance car driver, namely to brake the car and to try to steer into the skid. Immediately afterwards he also seems to have followed his training and to have pulled back on the main parachute release lever, thus shutting down the jet engine and also closing the jet and afterburner fuel levers. The main parachute did not have time to deploy before the car ran off the runway."<ref name = "HSE1"/>Template:Rp The HSE notes that, based on the findings of the North Yorkshire Police (who investigated the crash), "the accident may not have been recoverable", even if Hammond's efforts to react were as fast as "humanly possible".<ref name = "HSE1"/>Template:Rp

The crash was shown on an episode of Top Gear on 28 January 2007; this was the first episode of the new series, which had been postponed pending Hammond's recovery. Hammond requested at the end of the episode that his fellow presenters never mention the crash again, a request which has since been forgotten about or ignored by both Hammond and the other presenters (cf. the discussion of Felipe Massa's 2009 accident and after the review of the Bentley Brooklands Coupé in the episode 3 of season 11). On The Edge: My Story containing first hand accounts from both Hammond and his wife about the crash, immediate aftermath and his recovery was published later that year.

In February 2008 Hammond gave an interview to The Sunday Times newspaper in which he described the effects of his brain injuries and the progression of his recovery.<ref name = "TimesOnline1">Template:Citation</ref> He reported suffering loss of memory, depression, and difficulties with emotional experiences, for which he was consulting a psychiatrist.<ref name = "TimesOnline1"/>

After the car crash the BBC website Have Your Say received more than 10,000 messages of good wishes and sympathy for Richard Hammond from people around the world.

Works

TV shows

Year Title Notes
1998 Motorweek (Men & Motors TV series) Presenter
2002 – Present Top Gear Presenter
2002–06 Brainiac: Science Abuse Presenter
2004–05 Crufts Presenter
Should I Worry About...? Presenter
2005 The Gunpowder Plot: Exploding The Legend Presenter
Time Commanders Presenter
Inside Britain's Fattest Man Presenter
2006 Richard Hammond's 5 O'Clock Show Presenter
Petrolheads Contestant
School's Out Contestant
Richard Hammond: Would You Believe It? Presenter
Richard Hammond: The Holy Grail Presenter
Battle of the Geeks Contestant
2007 Last Man Standing Narriator
Helicopter Heroes Narrator
Richard Hammond Meets Evel Knievel Presenter
2008 BBC Timewatch Narrator
Sport Relief Presenter
2009 Total Wipeout Presenter
Richard Hammond's Blast Lab Presenter
Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections Presenter
2010 Richard Hammond's Invisible Worlds<ref>http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/proginfo/tv/index_comingsoon.shtml#p22</ref> Presenter
Sport Relief 2010 Presenter - with Claudia Winkleman (20:00 - 22:35)

Books

Car Books

Book Publisher Year
What Not To Drive Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2005
Richard Hammond's Car Confidential Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2006
A Short History Of Caravans In The UK Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2009
Richard Hammond's Caravan Confidential Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2010

Children's Books

Book Publisher Year
Can You Feel the Force?: Putting the Fizz Back into Physics Dorling Kindersley Publishers 2006
Car Science (Hardback) Dorling Kindersley Publishers 2008
Car Science (Paperback) Dorling Kindersley Publishers 2008

Biographies

Book Publisher Year
On The Edge: My Story (Hardback) Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2007
On The Edge: My Story (Paperback) Phoenix 2008
On The Edge: My Story (Abridged) Pheonix 2008
As You Do: Adventures With Evel, Oliver And The Vice President Of Botswana (Hardback) Orion Publishing Co 2008
As You Do: Adventures With Evel, Oliver And The Vice-President Of Botswana (Paperback) Orion Publishing Co 2009
Or Is That Just Me? (Hardback) Phoenix 2009
Or Is That Just Me? (Paperback) Phoenix 2010

DVDs

  1. Richard Hammond's Top Gear Interactive Challenge Quiz (2007, 2|Entertain).
  2. Richard Hammond's Top Gear Interactive Stunt Challenge Quiz (2008, 2|Entertain).
  3. Richard Hammond's Top Gear Uncovered: The DVD Special (2009, 2|Entertain).

Television Advertisements

  1. Morrisons (2008)
  2. Morrisons (Christmas 2008)
  3. Morrisons (2009)
  4. Morrisons (Christmas 2009)
  5. Top Gear Turbo Challenge Trading Cards Test Set (2010)
  6. Top Gear Turbo Challenge Trading Cards (2010)
  7. Top Gear Interactive Challenge DVD (2007)
  8. Top Gear Interactive Stunt Challenge DVD (2009)
  9. Top Gear Uncovered DVD (2009)
  10. Top Gear [Re-Runs On Dave] (2009)
  11. Telecom XT network (2009)

External links

Template:Top Gear info