Richard Hammond: 5 surprising facts about The Grand Tour star

Ever wondered what else is going on in the Hamster’s life other than his multiple crashes?

Petrolheads will be looking forward to the third season of The Grand Tour, which is set to speed into Amazon Prime’s offerings later in 2018.

Ahead of the new episodes, we’re taking a look at some fascinating facts about Richard Hammond, who’ll be returning alongside James May and Jeremy Clarkson at the helm of the show.

[Read more: First look at The Grand Tour season 3]

He isn’t defined by his horror smashes

Let’s get the spectacularly dangerous car crashes that Richard is famous for out of the way early – he certainly doesn’t feel like they’re the only interesting things to have happened to him.

Richard crashed a dragster in 2006 which left him with a brain injury, and narrowly escaped a burning Rimac which he crashed in 2017.

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He told the Daily Record: “Things in life change all the time. That accident (in 2006) made me who I am. But loads of other things did too – such as meeting my wife. It’s an experience and it changed me but that’s it. We’ve never been silly risk-takers on the show. We’re not reckless. I don’t want to get hurt. I don’t want to miss my daughters growing up.

“We’re all family men, after all. We toe the line but only ever cross it by accident.”

His career has taken him from rags to riches

Richard is a multi-millionaire from his TV work these days, but he started out with some much less glamorous jobs.

Asked by the Guardian for his worst job, he replied: “Shovelling gravel into a water-filtration plant; collecting chicken eggs; serving in a petrol station; potato picking - it's hard to choose.”

Now, he, his wife and two daughters live in a castle in Herefordshire.

[Read more: The must-watch Amazon Prime originals]

He cried when he landed the Top Gear job

Journalist Richard spent many years in local radio before he got his big break in the dream role of Top Gear presenter, which he had auditioned for.

He told the Daily Telegraph: “I burst into tears before ringing back. ‘Did you mean me? Richard Hammond, the short bloke?’

“Mindy (his wife) and I went upstairs – it was 11 in the morning – and like a lot of couples we had a bottle of champagne in the fridge that had been given to us and was therefore too precious to drink – there’d never been a right time. So we thought, 'Sod it’, opened the bottle, sat on the wall in our little town garden and I just said to Min, 'This will change everything.’ And it did.”

He started early on his motor obsession

The Grand Tour star has a huge collection of cars and motorbikes, and has even bought his teenage daughter her first moped.

He explained that his own first motor had been a long time in the planning, and was a strategic choice.

Richard told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “When I was five, I worked out how many days it was before I could take my driving test and I realised it was 365 days fewer before I could ride a motorcycle. (My parents) should have said no at that point. They felt uncomfortable about it, but I’m very grateful to them for letting me have one.”

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He wouldn’t exactly call his co-stars friends

Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard manage to appear the best of friends in their TV appearances on Top Gear and The Grand Tour, but do they actually like each other?

The answer is a little complicated – asked by the Daily Telegraph whether he was friends with May and Clarkson, Richard answered: “I must be. We spend more time with one another than we spend with anybody else and we haven’t actually stabbed each other yet.

“We’re mates – that’s the word. And therefore I’d die before I’d describe them as friends and I’d hope they would, too. It’s challenging and difficult and competitive and bitchy. Long may it continue. If it was relaxed, that wouldn’t work.”

The Grand Tour is expected to return to Amazon Prime for its third season later in 2018.

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Photos: Rex


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