Richard Hammond

Richard Mark Hammond (born December 19, 1969 in Birmingham) is an English television presenter best known for co-presenting Top Gear along with James May and Jeremy Clarkson from 2002 onwards, and co-hosting the live annual motoring show, MPH, in Earls Court and NEC Birmingham, alongside Tiff Needell and Jeremy Clarkson. He also writes a weekly column, which can be read in the motoring section of The Daily Mirror each Friday.

Originally from the West Midlands, in the mid 1980s Hammond moved with his family (mother Eileen, father Alan, and brothers Andrew and Nicholas) to the Yorkshire market town of Ripon where his father ran a probate business in the market square. A pupil of Ripon Grammar School, and of Solihull School, a fee-paying boys' independent school in the West Midlands, from 1987 to 1989 he attended Harrogate College of Art and Technology and was friends with author and academic Jonathan Baldwin. He then went on to gain a degree in photography and television production.

Early in his career, Hammond worked at several radio stations, including Radio York, Radio Cumbria, Radio Leeds, and Radio Lancashire, before going on to present a number of daytime lifestyle shows and motoring programmes 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 learnt at school when they were younger. He has also presented The Gunpowder Plot: Exploding The Legend. Along with his work on Top Gear, he currently presents Should I Worry About...? on BBC One and Time Commanders on BBC Two, and also presented the first four series of Brainiac: Science Abuse on Sky One. He is also a team captain on the BBC Two quiz show, Petrolheads.

From Tuesday 3 January 2006 until Friday 10 February, Hammond was the eponymous star of Richard Hammond's 5 O'Clock Show with his co-star Mel Giedroyc of Light Lunch fame. The programme, which discussed a wide range of topics, was shown every weekday on ITV1 between 5:00 and 6:00.

In July 2005, Hammond won the dubious accolade of being voted number one in a heat magazine poll of the top "weird celebrity crushes." Also in 2005, he was voted one of the top 10 British TV talents.

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 on Top Gear. His nickname was further re-enforced when on two 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, after he was caught looking at a website on teeth whiteners on Richard Hammond's 5 O'Clock Show. Hammond has continually denied this, and once quipped to Clarkson: "Mine have gone whiter, naturally, in the same way that yours have gone green". This quote was first publicly heard at the MPH Show and was later repeated on Top Gear.

In 2003, Hammond become the first presenter of Brainiac: Science Abuse, he was joined by Jon Tickle with Charlotte Hudson joining in series 2. After the the fourth series it was annouced that Richard Hammond was no longer going to present Brainiac: Science Abuse due to him signing an exclusive deal with the BBC. Vic Reeves took his place as main presenter.

Hammond married his wife Amanda, also known as Mindy in 2002, and the couple have two young daughters, Isabella and Willow. The family lives in Payford, near Newent, Gloucestershire. They also have three horses, four dogs, two cats, a rabbit and a handful of chickens and sheep.

He is known to be a Porsche enthusiast, and particularly the Porsche 911. His left-hand drive Porsche 911 has appeared on Top Gear in the studio once. He has stated that an original Dodge Charger is his dream car, mostly because "it's the car the bad guys drove...It's the James Dean of cars: was great, but unlike the Ford Mustang, died young, and therefore embedded itself as nothing but greatness." Hammond also owns two Land Rovers, a Suzuki GSXR1000, a BMW 1150 GS, a second Porsche 911, a Porsche 928 , a Morgan V6 Roadster, a 1968 Ford Mustang and several kit cars.

At approximately 5:45pm BST on 20 September 2006, Hammond was seriously injured in a car crash while filming for Top Gear at the former RAF Elvington airfield near York. He was piloting a jet-powered Vampire car, which is theoretically capable of travelling at 370mph (592 km/h).

According to some sources, he was not attempting to break the British Land Speed Record, however this contradicts a statement given by the owner of 'Event Fire Services' which was hired to provide safety cover. He was said to be travelling at 280mph (450 kmh) at the time of the crash. He was taken to the specialist neurological unit of the Leeds General Infirmary.

Sky News and BBC News report that he was driving a Vampire jet car powered by a Rolls Royce Orpheus Turbo-Jet Engine, one of a pair built by then driver, Keiran Westman; the very same car that currently holds the British landspeed record at 300.3 mph (480.48 km/h). Primetime Land Speed Engineering have now denied reports that Hammond was making an attempt to break the land speed record, although telemetry on one of the runs did suggest that he had reached 300mph (480 kmh).

According to witnesses, Hammond was completing a final run to collect extra footage for the programme when "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 (90 m) from us." When rescuers arrived at the car it was upside down and "dug in" to the grass. Rescuers felt a pulse and heard Hammond, who was unconscious, breathing before the car was turned right way up. Hammond was cut free, put in a neck brace and placed on a stretcher before the air ambulance arrived. "He was regaining consciousness at that point and said he had some lower back pain".

ITV News reported that Hammond had broken the British land speed record and was on a last run, filming extra scenes for Top Gear, when the accident took place. Hammond's family are with him at the hospital, along with Top Gear representatives who were there when the accident took place, as well as Top Gear co-presenters James May and Jeremy Clarkson. Jeremy Clarkson is quoted by the BBC as saying "Both James and I are looking forward to getting our 'hamster' back.", referring to Hammond by his nickname.

A quote from Dave Ogden from Event Fire Services, present at the scene of the accident, as broadcast on Sky News that evening: "He was just doing the final run of the day - I don't know quite what happened - but the parachute deployed. There was quite a lot of smoke and the car veered off to the right and on to the grass, and it overturned several times and it came to a halt a couple of hundred yards in front of us."

BBC reports suggest that he was air-lifted from the crash scene drifting in and out of consciousness. North Yorkshire Police have said that they "received a report via the fire service of a male person trapped in an overturned jet car which had been driven on the airfield."

The doctor treating Hammond announced on September 21 that he had a "significant brain injury" but he was reasonably optimistic he will make a good recovery.

Hammond has been visited several times in hospital since the crash by co-presenter Jeremy Clarkson and responded well to conversations with him. He even managed a smile after Clarkson jokingly said the reason he crashed was because he was such a 'crap driver'. It also became clear that Hammond's co-presenter James May was originally supposed to be driving the car. May explained later that a leaked shooting schedule made weeks before the incident was changed due to scheduling conflicts. After visiting Hammond in the hospital, May remarked: "I was chuffed to see him and although he's muttering, he seems much like the irritating little shit I know and love. Even when he can't say much, he seemed to make as much sense as he does when he can talk normally...Having seen him today I do believe Richard will make a full recovery from this awful crash and, when he's back on his feet, I'm looking forward to going down to the pub with him."

Hammond's condition was downgraded from "serious but stable" to "stable" in the morning of September 22, when he was moved out of intensive care. On the same day ITV News reported that Hammond was conscious and was talking to friends and family. In the early hours of 22 September, Hammond took his first steps, just 30 hours after the crash, according to Jeremy Clarkson, and was moved to a general ward on 23 September.

On 26 September and 27 September Hammond was reported to be improving so well he may be moved to a hospital nearer his home in Gloucestershire. On 28 September he was airlifted from Leeds General Infirmary to the BUPA hospital in Clifton, Bristol, to be closer to his home in Gloucestershire. His neurologist has estimated a full-recovery time of 6 months.

It has been reported that Hammond wants the new series of Top Gear to go ahead in October and that he also wishes the footage of the crash/race to be shown.

A charity appeal in aid of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance was established shortly after the accident. Initially the money was to be used to fund day-to-day running costs of the helicopter. However on 24 September, due to the generosity of the public, the chief executive of the air ambulance trust announced the money would be used to procure a second helicopter.

TV Shows:

* Top Gear (2002- Present)
* Brainiac: Science Abuse (2003-2006)
* Time Commanders (2003)
* Crufts (2004)
* Should I Worry About...? (2004)
* The Gunpowder Plot: Exploding The Legend (2005)
* Inside Britains Fattest Man (2005)
* Richard Hammond's 5 O'Clock Show (2006)
* Petrolheads (2006)
* School's Out (as a contestant, 2006)
* Richard Hammond's Would you believe it? (2006)
* Richard Hammond and The Holy Grail (2006)Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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