Richard Hammond: ‘My worst ever experience was ringing my wife as they strapped me to a stretcher’ – The Telegraph
Motoring presenter Richard Hammond, 52, lives in Herefordshire with his wife Mindy and their daughters Izzy, 22, and Willow, 19.
The couple met in 1995 when they worked at a London PR firm. Hammond presented several radio shows before joining the BBC TV show Top Gear within 2002 alongside Jeremy Clarkson, with whom he later teamed up for Amazon Prime’s The Grand Tour.
He has survived two serious accidents. In 2006 he crashed the dragster at 288mph on a Yorkshire airfield, and inside 2017 this individual drove a new supercar off a Swiss mountain. His latest Discovery+ show Rich Hammond’s Workshop charts their lifelong dream of running a classic car restoration business.
Best childhood memory?
I loved camping holidays. We were always ready at the drop of a hat to pile everything into the vehicle and zip off from Birmingham to the Forest of Dean, Wales or the Lake District. But my favourite activity has been cycling, actually just on my paper round: it was the closest I could get to riding a motorbike.
Best night out?
I was a mad, rabid fan of AC/DC as some sort of kid, but then I sort of befriended (lead singer) Brian Johnson through our love of cars. The coolest night was whenever we got to hang around backstage with the band – listen to me, “hanging out with the band”! We were nicking beers from their own fridge. We remember thinking: “I’m drinking AC/DC’s beer! ” As Brian had been going upon stage he or she said, “Alright, lads, see you after the gig! ” His grandson was also there so he ruffled his hair and said: “Grandad’s got to go to work now. ” He then just pottered on stage and tore the place down! To see that moment – from having a chat with an absolute idol, to watching him do something very human and real, and then something superhuman – seemed to be just amazing.
Best thing about fatherhood?
The particular best thing about being a dad is that will feeling associated with absolute really like. It’s solid. It was there from the moment they were born. And I actually can never question it. But they’re like mates right now. They are 22 and nineteen years old plus they’re the people My partner and i most such as to hang out with. They don’t always want to hang out with me because I’m annoying in addition to embarrassing and even irritating. Yet that’s my job.
I always end up having one thing I like so much I actually want it to break because it is therefore brilliant I want to buy it again. I had a pair of Sennheiser wireless noise-cancelling headphones which were light enough to wear for running. I carried them all over the world, on aeroplanes and in deserts. But they wouldn’t break! And when these people finally did, they had stopped bloody making them. So the best possession is now the BMW R1200RT motorbike. Anyone who rides will say it is the most boring, old man’s bike. But it’s brilliantly made. I have had this for eight years. When I take it for an MOT the particular guys in the shop state, “So are you going to change that this year? ” But My spouse and i like mine. I just like things that work – together with work well.
Finest thing regarding restoring classic cars?
They come into our workshop covered in rust and dents, but they’re infused along with history and additionally memory. They are the product of whatever was considered beautiful at the time and the constraints of materials and money at the time. They’re also about what people want to say about themselves. Did they want to express virility or potency or power or beauty? We express ourselves through our cars, so these classic cars are incredibly expressive pieces.
Best trip abroad?
I feel so lucky because this little fellow from Birmingham has been whisked away to so many places. I particularly love going to Arctic places because you are stripped back to the particular bare essentials of staying alive. But for our family holidays we like to go on safari. Our best was a safari to the Botswana borders, followed by a beach holiday on an archipelago off Mozambique.
Worst life experience?
My worst experience has been ringing my wife Mindy as they strapped me to the stretcher board next to an air ambulance and a blazing supercar at the bottom of a Swiss mountain. I said: “Mindy, I’m really sorry, but I’ve done it again! Please don’t worry. My head is not damaged. I am all OK – only a new few broken bits that will mend. ” It had been pretty grim.
Worst presenting experience?
As a radio presenter your worst nightmare is finding yourself sitting behind some sort of radio desk that a person don’t know how in order to use. I was on air with Chris Moyles a few weeks ago, guesting upon his (Radio X) show. When typically the news came to an end, he pulled this microphone live and just buggered away. I thought: oh no! We said: “If you have simply joined us … what’s happened there is … Chris has … gone! ” When I was in radio 30 years back, it seemed to be all analogue, but now everything is about computers. So I was initially just stabbing at things and pushing and pulling faders left, right in addition to centre. Chris knew exactly what he was basically doing to me. It appeared to be awful but hilarious.
Most severe investment?
I actually once owned an Aston Martin DB6 which only had one owner from new, or so I was told. I believed: that’s brilliant! But I think that owner must have kept this in a pond, because it had rotted through the inside out. It was not a good purchase.
I sometimes forget to be able to switch off trying to be a radio or even TV presenter. When My partner and i see Mindy and my daughters rolling their eyes, I know My spouse and i need for you to shut up.
Worst thing about restoring classic vehicles?
Customers come to us with your budget, yet the hardest thing is not to run away with it so that ends up costing me money. We can’t turn round and state: “It has cost twice your budget. ” But all of us prefer to make the point perfect and even breathtaking. So it is hard to help hold back.
Most detrimental trip abroad?
I love rainforests but they can be tough. I worked with a producer called Graham Booth who does natural history documentaries. On a previous journey, he was first sitting in a rainforest, covered in leeches, flies, spiders and sweat, and this individual wrote some postcard to himself: “Dear Graham, often the next time somebody asks you to film in a rainforest, tell them in order to bugger away from. ” But he actually told me this particular story while we were recording in a jungle (for Rich Hammond’s Jungle Quest). I just thought: so why are we here?
It is also very hard to be able to be away from your kids. But if you are out in the world, earning what’s needed to support them, and you come back again and tell them stories, you are showing how they too can do that. My daughters have seen me personally travelling your world together with doing incredible things. So if they think, “If that will little idiot can do it, I am going to pursue my dreams too, ” that’s a fabulous good factor.
The absolute worst…
Littering. Seeing someone wind down an important car window and throw something aside makes myself want for you to do far worse things to them than they possess just done to everybody else. My crime would put us in prison for a long period.
‘Richard Hammond’s Workshop’ is available to help stream exclusively on Discovery+ now