There was one thing that made Top Gear very special, and that was the fact that when Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May were on their travels, they’d keep the cameras on. At least for the most part. This meant that the cameras were rolling for when the unexpected happened, allowing us fans to see how the trio reacted at the time without a script to rely on.
This would happen often, and made the episodes feel much more real than they perhaps were. But there was one moment during the Botswana special that Hammond missed because of a very simple mistake: he didn’t turn on his camera. He explained what happened during a DriveTribe video alongside his beloved Opel Kadett, Oliver.
He explained that during a “stunt”, something unthinkable happened.
“The thing is we’ve shared experiences together while we were filming in Botswana,” he began.
“There was a moment where we had to cross a river and we were pretty confident that it would be too deep for the car.”
“Just before we [began filming] the crew that was running all of the cameras inside of the car came over to me and said, ‘Shall we start those cameras?'”, he continued.
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“I said, ‘No, boys. I’m a professional. I’ll switch them on myself when the director calls ‘action’.”
On driving into the river, the small car was swept away by the strong current, resulting in a hilarious moment as Hammond tried to fight against it. Well, it would have been a hilarious moment on camera, but Hammond didn’t have the cameras running.
“When the director yelled, ‘Action!’ I drove the car into the river. It did indeed float down the river with me in it,” Richard explained.
“I swam out to the bank and once they pulled the car out, the crew said, ‘Rich, you are so cool. You even remembered to cut the cameras before you got out.’
“No. I didn’t. I hadn’t even started the cameras before the stunt. We had to do it again with a rope.”
He added: “I looked an idiot but Oliver was there with me. It’s bonding.”