Richard Hammond has been on television for the last 20 years. He is an accomplished TV personality, author, and businessman. He has always been seen as the nice guy amongst the Top Gear trio.
In an interview with the Telegraph, Richard Hammond confessed to having a low opinion of Jeremy Clarkson. The two have learned to cope with each other, having worked together for close to twenty years. In the same Interview, Hammond mentioned that there are those who find Clarkson attractive because of his temperament. James May, also in an interview with the Telegraph, mentioned that Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson are more mates than friends.
This could be one of the reasons why their partnership has lasted for almost two decades. Their relationships and interactions are, for the most part, purely professional. They've made us laugh and they've faced their share of criticism. Cultural mockery is one of the main ways they've attracted viewership, but things sometimes don't always go as planned.
Richard Hammond is practically a household name thanks to Top Gear, but here are 20 interesting facts you may not have known about him.
20 Expelled From Ripon Grammar School
Richard Hammond has not always been a good boy. According to Wikipedia, He was suspended from Ripon Grammar School when he was 15 years old. There are no further details, but one could easily assume he was a cheeky boy in school and was often in the headmaster's office.
Richard Hammond was enrolled in Ripon Grammar School because his father had established a Probate business in Ripon's market square.
He attended Harrogate College Of Art and Technology from 1986 to 1988. Richard Hammond turned out alright even after being expelled from school which doesn't always work. There are some people who never recover from such circumstances.
19 He Didn't Think He'd Gotten The Top Gear Job
Richard Hammond never expected to work in Television. He interviewed for Top Gear in 2002 and then quickly forgot about it because he thought he didn't stand a chance of being cast.
According to BBC, Hammond was working in radio at that time. In his first-ever appearance on Top Gear, Richard Hammond was tasked to review the Ford GT40. It took a while for people to warm up to him because he was not the typical TV presenter. As much as Jeremy was the main attraction, it would be hard to imagine Top Gear without Richard Hammond and James May. It wouldn't be Top Gear anymore.
18 He And Jeremy Clarkson Aren't Friends
The trio has worked together for almost 20 years, but never have they once referred to each other as friends. It seems they came to a consensus to refer to each other as mates. In an interview with the Telegraph, Richard Hammond said that the reason why they are so good at what they do is because they don't like each other.
They are three different personalities with very strong opinions which, has made their shows interesting.
There are certain things they generally agree on, but Hammond has always been critical of Jeremy's taste in cars. It is a good thing they have stuck together through the tribulations. That is what true friendship is all about, even if they don't want to admit it.
17 He's lived a dangerous life
Richard Hammond has been involved in multiple cars crashes since he started working as a car TV presenter. He seems to be the unlucky one in the group, because James May and Jeremy Clarkson have never been involved in any accidents.
According to Jalopnik, the Switzerland accident was a result of the carelessness of the organizers. According to Motorsport, the event organizers did not follow the laid procedures and regulations when they were filming the episode for the Grand Tour. Further investigation into the crash led to a 6 month suspension of three stewards and the main organizer, together with a $5,000 fine. The crash could have definitely been avoided. Hammond was lucky to come out of the crash with only a busted knee.
16 Richard Hammond's Shows
Richard Hammond has always had a life outside of Top Gear and The Grand Tour. He has been the main face of more than four TV programs over the last 18 years. One of his popular shows was Engineering Connections, which was in production from 2008 to 2011. Then there is Crash Course which is still running up to today.
In Crash Course, he has to learn a new skill in a small amount of time and execute it to perfection. He has done some impressive things that you wouldn't have thought were possible for a mere TV presenter. There is also the Helicopter Hero which began in 2007. Richard Hammond is one of the most talented British TV personalities.
15 He Paid Himself For Quitting A Show
It is always good to treat yourself once in a while, especially if you have been working hard for a long time. This is exactly what Richard Hammond did when his contract with the BBC ended. According to thesun.co.uk, Richard paid himself and the wife £1.918 million and £527,000 respectively. The money was paid to Hamster Wheel Productions, and Richard decided to cash out the dividends. He makes over $15 million a year and pretty much owns everything he could possibly dream of. He is currently taking it slow with work because he was told he can't jog or run for the next 18 months because of the crash that happened in 2017.
14 He's A Pretty Humble Guy
As much as his life has always been in the public domain, Richard Hammond has never really fancied the celebrity lifestyle. In an interview with the Telegraph, he said he would rather be at home relaxing when he is not working. His humility has kept him grounded despite the overwhelming success over the years.
You will not see him at fancy parties or spending on unnecessary luxury.
He is naturally inclined to engineering, which in most cases involves getting your hands dirty. He is booked throughout the year because of the different TV shows he is currently working on. Other celebrities can learn a lot about humility from Richard Hammond.
13 He Gets Mad, Just Like Anyone
Richard Hammond is not always as sweet and nice as you'd think judging by how he conducts himself on TV. In a 2013 Interview with the Telegraph, he said he can sometimes be needy, unpleasant and ill-tempered. After all, we are all humans and everyone has his own shortcomings.
According to Richard, the wife has had to put up with him over the years and he is grateful for that. They have two daughters who Hammond describes as the best things that have happened to his life. There are a couple of episodes in Top Gear where Richard Hammond was captured going on a tantrum. At least now we know it was not always part of the script.
12 He's Published over 10 books
Richard Hammond is a man of many talents. He runs his own business, has several TV shows and still manages to churn out several best-sellers. His publishing career stretches over a decade and he has produced some good books on work and life. You can always find his weird sense of humor in his work.
His most popular book has to be "Car Science," which was published in 2008. "Car Science" is a children's book, but there are lessons for grownups in it too.
Other notable books of his include "What Not To Drive" and "Can You Feel The Force?" He also has a book on motorcycles called "A Short History of Motorcycles," which was launched in 2016. Achieving such a success is remarkable for a writing career that is less than 20 years old.
11 He Makes 12 Million Dollars A Year
As much Richard Hammond doesn't like the celebrity lifestyle, he is surely banking A-list money. According to Forbes, Richard Hammond is said to have signed a contract with Amazon which would pay him $12 million a year. Amazon knew that the trio would be big business for them.
Also according to Forbes, the Grand Tour was the most watched Premier TV show in the history of the company. The show currently has a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Given the success of the show, it's only fair for the presenters to have such salaries. The Grand Tour still holds the record of being the most illegally downloaded show in the UK. Richard Hammond is said to be earning more than 3 times what he was getting at BBC.
10 He Made A Bad Ice Cream Joke
The ice cream joke has to be one of Richard's lowest moments on TV. The remarks came in a Grand Tour episode where Richard Hammond said he doesn't eat ice cream because it had something to do with being straight. The statement was not well received by some viewers who found it offensive and backward. Even Jeremy Clarkson, who can be corny, thought that Hammond went overboard with the statement.
According to an Interview with Time Magazine, Hammond was forced to clarify what he meant by the statement. He further made things worse by saying people in media should not announce when they are coming out because there is no need to do so. Richard has never apologized for his statement.
9 He's An Avid Car Collector
There is no way you can be a car presenter for close to 10 years if you don't love the automobile. Richard Hammond might not have the best collection in the world, but he still has some cool cars and motorcycles. His favorite car has to be the Porsche GT3 RS which is estimated to cost around $220,000.
The car has a top speed of 202 mph and can go from 0 to 60 in under 3.0 seconds. He also owns the 1968 Ford Mustang which is said to have cost him $55,000.
The rarest vehicle in his garage has to be the Lagonda 2.0 Liter Supercharged, which cost him $140,000. There is also a Bentley S1 which cost him $500,000 to acquire. The cheapest car has to be the Opel Kadett which is just $3,000.
8 He Lives In A Castle
He may not be into the celebrity lifestyle, but Richard Hammond definitely knows how to live big. According to the Telegraph, he bought this castle in 2008 for £2,000,000. It is one of the most protected houses in the UK. It has 10-foot iron gate and it would be virtually impossible to jump over it. There is an extensive garage that Richard Hammond uses to store his toys. There are two blocks leading up to the house. The six bedroom block is where Hammond lives with the wife and the children. It can be expensive maintaining such real estate, but that should not be a problem for Richard Hammond, since he earns more than a lot from TV, without even including the royalties from his books.
7 He Was Burgled
Despite having a fortress for a home, Richard Hammond was the victim of a burglary in March 2018. Hammond had been recovering from the crash that saw a supercar burst into flames when they were shooting a Grand Tour Episode. According to a neighbor, there was no way a burglar would have access to the house unless he was using a helicopter. It is the most secure property in the area, and it still remains a mystery how the burglar was able to access to the house. According to The Daily Mail, Richard Hammond came out to refute that his house was broken into and items stolen. This was contrary to a tweet he had posted earlier acknowledging that his house was broken into without him knowing.
6 He Has A Bad Memory
The impact of the 2006 crash is being felt by Richard Hammond up today. Jeremy Clarkson has once joked that Hammond can't retain information for more than five seconds. In a past BBC interview, Hammond admitted that he went to back to the job way too early after the life-threatening crash.
According to him, he damaged the part of the brain that deals with control and emotional processing. He said he sometimes forgets the PIN numbers to all his ATMS and has to write everything down and set reminders.
The Grand Tour presenter recovered quickly from the accident as he only spent five weeks in the hospital. In an interview with the Sunday Times, he said his memory had been irreversibly affected.
5 Was Once Out For Two Weeks
The 2006 crash is something that is likely to stay with Richard Hammond for the remainder of his life. According to BrainInjury, 53% of patients who go into a coma either die or remain in a vegetative state. Richard Hammond is one of the few people who has survived a coma and fully recovered physically. Richard also suffered life-threatening head injuries.
Hammond blamed himself for the crash despite investigations showing it was an accident. Hammond was in a jet-powered car traveling at a speed of 288 mph when the accident happened. How he survived still remains a mystery. He has been involved in other crashes, although none as major as the one in 2006.
4 Worked In Radio
Richard Hammond's journalism career began in radio. It seems unusual if you grew up watching him drive cars for a living on TV. According to Wikipedia, Hammond has worked for several BBC radio stations.
He started with BBC Tees. He also worked for Radio York, Radio Cumbria, Radio Leeds, Radio Newcastle and Radio Yorkshire. He has a soothing voice that worked to his advantage.
He is also a natural with kids and a role in an animation movie wouldn't be such a bad idea. Although his radio career has been documented, information and exact details are scarce.
3 Nicknamed the Hamster
The nickname "Hamster" seems to have stuck with Richard Hammond. In an interview with the GrandTour, Richard Hammond said he doesn't like the name and he would rather be called the "Hawk."
The nickname came about because of his last name and his size. According to him, the nickname was meant for his firstborn daughter. He says Zog Ziegler was the one who gave him the nickname.
He also attributed his successes to Ziegler, who gave him his big break in 1990. There is an episode of Top Gear where Richard Hammond actually tries to chew cardboard in the true spirit of a hamster. The nickname, it seems will follow him to his grave.
2 Hammond's Fob Jockeys
The fall out of Top Gear presenters with the BBC was one of the most publicized stories the network has ever experienced. According to Wikipedia, the trio of Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson decided to launch a car website in 2016, which is commonly referred to as the Fob Jockeys tribe.
On the site, Richard Hammond writes mainly about cars and motorcycles with a comic touch. It is like a tribe with a leader who guides the community on everything automotive. On the site, you can create your own tribe, but you will need more than 10 community members for it to be visible on the front end. Breyer Capital and 21st Century Fox have invested $5.5 million and $6.5 million in the site, respectively.
1 He Has A Lot Of Fans
There is no greater feeling than when you know the work you are doing is impacting people's lives. It doesn't matter which profession you are in. According to the BBC, they received more than 40,000 messages wishing Richard Hammond a quick recovery when he was involved in a car crash in 2006.
It was one of the worst crashes ever filmed on television and the presenter has never fully recovered.
Richard Hammond, unlike Jeremy Clarkson, is adored by many people even though sometimes he makes controversial remarks. According to Carswitch, he still has a good relationship with the people at the BBC even after their dramatic fallout.
Sources: wikipedia.org; topgear.com; thetelegraph.co.uk