Richard Hammond (also known as hamster) is one of the co-presenters of Top Gear. Known for being the shortest presenter of the three, he is often affectionately named Hamster.
Born in Solihull on December 19th 1969, Richard is the eldest of three children to Eileen and Alan Hammond. He is the grandson of workers in the automobile industry. Originally from the West Midlands, in the mid-1980s Hammond moved with his family to the North Yorkshire market town of Ripon where his father ran a probate business in the market square.He was bullied mercilessly in school due to his small size (which was revealed in January 2013). Originally a pupil of Solihull School, a fee-paying boys' independent school in the West Midlands town, he moved to Ripon Grammar School, and from 1987 to 1989 attended Harrogate College of Art and Technology. He gained a BTEC National Diploma in Visual Communications but chose not to pursue a career in this direction. In 1995, Hammond began working at a London PR company, where he developed a romantic interest in Amanda Etheridge. Hammond persuaded a friend to ask Amanda out on a date on his behalf due to being too nervous to do it himself. After several dates they began to grow closer which resulted in Amanda's pregnancy in 2000. After they became married in 2002, their first daughter whom they named Isabella (or Izzy for short) was born and a few years later, they had another daughter named Willow.
Television Appearances and CareerEditEarly in his career, Richard worked at many 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 learned at school when they were younger. He even hosted the UK Version of "Total Wipeout", also hosted "Sports Relief 2008", hosted his own show "Richard Hammond's Crash Course" and hosted the special "50 Years of Bond Cars", where he interviewed Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun director Guy Hamilton, Sir Roger Moore who played James Bond from 1973 to 1985, current James Bond actor Daniel Craig, former Stig Ben Collins who also stunt doubled for Craig in 'Quantum of Solace' and was amazed when he taught Bond baddie actor Ola Rapace on how to drive the Audi in the beginning of 'Skyfall' and visited the Istanbul set.
During filming of a Top Gear At a former RAF Elvington airbase near York on 20 September 2006, Hammond was badly injured when the jet-powered car he was driving had a tyre failure. He was travelling at 288 mph (463 km/h) at the time of the incident. He had sustained significant brain damage, memory loss and other injuries. 30 hours later, he took his first steps after the accident, by going to the loo. He was then moved to a general ward. In October, he recovered and returned to Top Gear. He spoke about the accident on a show with Jonathan Ross and regained some memories but was forbidden to drink alcohol for two years. More info here.