- 1. Early life
- 2. Personal life
Date of Birth: 19 December 1969
Age: 53 years old
Richard Mark Hammond is an English journalist, television presenter, mechanic, and writer. He is best known for co-hosting the BBC Two motoring programme Top Gear from 2002 until 2015 with Jeremy Clarkson and James May. Since 2016, the trio have presented Amazon Studios' The Grand Tour.
Hammond has also notably presented entertainment documentary series Brainiac: Science Abuse (2003–2008), the game show Total Wipeout (2009–2012) and nature documentary series Planet Earth Live (2012). In 2016, again with Clarkson and May, Hammond launched the automotive social media website DriveTribe, where he regularly provides content on his tribe "Hammond's Fob Jockeys".
Richard Mark Hammond was born the oldest of three boys on 19 December 1969 in Solihull, England, and is the grandson of workers in the Birmingham car industry. In the mid-1980s Hammond moved with his family (mother Eileen (née Dunsby), father Alan, and younger brothers Andrew, writer of the 'Crypt' series, and Nicholas) to the North Yorkshire cathedral city of Ripon located 10 miles south of the market town of Bedale, and 8 miles south of the historic village of Thornton Watlass where his father ran a probate business in the market square. He attended Blossomfield Infant School in Solihull's Sharmans Cross district from the age of 3–7. Originally a pupil of Solihull School, a fee-paying boys' independent school, he moved to Ripon Grammar School, and from 1986 to 1988 attended Harrogate College of Art and Technology. According to an episode of Top Gear (Season 16, Episode 5), Richard's first job was shoveling grit into a water filtration plant.
Hammond has been married to Amanda "Mindy" Hammond (born Etheridge, born 6 July 1965), a columnist for the Daily Express, since May 2002. They have two daughters, Isabella "Izzy" (born 2001) and Willow (born 2004).
It was his friend Zogg Zieglar who first gave Hammond his nickname Hamster. After the couple announced the impending birth of their first child, Zieglar's response was "And out will pop another hamster." The nickname stuck, especially on Top Gear due to his name and relatively small stature compared to May and Clarkson. His nickname was further reinforced when on three occasions in series 7, he ate cardboard, mimicking hamster-like behaviour.
Hammond is known for owning a large number of animals on Bollitree Farm including several horses, dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, sheep, and a peacock. He and his family adopted TG, the official Top Gear dog, after it became apparent that the labradoodle was afraid of cars. The dog died at age 11 in January 2017.
Hammond plays 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.
He likes to ride his bicycle, scooter, or motorbike in cities, for which he is mocked mercilessly by fellow presenter Jeremy Clarkson.
During the news segment of Top Gear's 2010 USA Road Trip special, Hammond openly expressed his dislike of the band Genesis. This fact was later exploited by his co-presenters (particularly by Clarkson) in three special episodes: during the Middle East Special, when they installed a secret second stereo unit in his Fiat Barchetta that only plays the band's Live over Europe 2007 album; in the India Special, Clarkson played the same song used in the previous special (albeit the Seconds Out version) through the megaphone mounted in his Jaguar XJS, despite Hammond driving a different car (a Mini Cooper Sport). In the 2013 Africa Special, Clarkson once again played Genesis in an attempt to get Hammond to let him pass.
In 2007, Hammond went to Africa on a Top Gear special across Botswana, with his choice of car being a 1963 Opel Kadett, which he subsequently named Oliver. A week after the special was aired, Hammond announced during the news section 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 fake personal plate "OLI V3R"). Oliver is also mentioned in Hammond's second autobiography As You Do.
In 2010, Hammond was the president of the 31st Herefordshire Country Fair held at Hampton Court in Hope under Dinmore. His involvement caused unprecedented attendance with "nearly 15,000 people" drawn to the event to meet the presenter.
In March 2012, Hammond passed his B206 LST helicopter licence and has since owned a Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter.
In September 2018, his wife reported that she and Richard, along with their fifteen-year-old daughter, had been burgled while sleeping at a holiday villa in Saint-Tropez, speculating that they might have been rendered unconscious by noxious gas.
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