It’s been many years since Top Gear began under the safe guise of Jeremy Clarkson and Andy Wilman. It began in 2002, and while there was a small shuffle of presenters at the beginning of the show’s life, it quickly became a legendary ‘non-fictional’ program with Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May at its helm.
But to put together this fine trio, Clarkson and his team first had to interview them. In a recent interview with JOE, Clarkson explains the moment he first met Richard Hammond.
“When I first met Richard Hammond, that was more conventional than when I first met James May,” Clarkson said. “We, just simply, were screen testing.
“Because I had this idea with Andy of doing this show where we were in a studio and we had our own track and we had a racing driver who never spoke.
“And then Hammond came in, and then I didn’t see him for quite some time because he was obviously so low down.
“After it was all over, we’d done the screen test, and I said ‘whereabouts are you from’, and he went ‘I’m from the ‘Nam, yeah Cheltenham'”.
“And I said, okay, he’d got the job. I just knew immediately.”
The Grand Tour presenter continues to inform fans about something they may not know about Richard Hammond.
“What people don’t realise about Hammond is just how funny he is.
“It’s just annoying that when you turn the television cameras on he’s not funny at all, but when you turn them off he’s hilarious!
“He’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.”
Clarkson then continues to add upon this point.
“He’s good company is Hammond in an evening – well, until he gets to his 8th gin and tonic, then he gets a bit blurry.”
Richard Hammond described the moment when he found out he’d got the Top Gear presenting job, saying that he broke down into tears of happiness with his wife Mindy, before opening a bottle of champagne.
Top Gear ran successfully for 22 series before ending in 2015. The following show, The Grand Tour, is airing its next episode on Friday 18th December.