Watch: How Richard Hammond scored life-changing Top Gear job
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One of the shining lights during the world's Covid-19 lockdown break were the way plenty of the world's creators came out of the woodwork to share more of their stories over social media and websites like YouTube.
Among those to chat to the internet a little more than usual was 'the Top Gear trio', aka current Grand Tour hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. The trio made regular appearances on the YouTube account of their online motoring platform DriveTribe.
The latest of these appearances details Hammond's start at Top Gear, way back when. Things were very different at the time. While the show had been established as a regular fixture on the BBC, it hadn't blown up to the proportions it would eventually enjoy. Although that didn't necessarily mean Hammond wasn't nervous at the prospect.
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"I had put together a little demo reel on my company car, which was a Renault Laguna," he laughed. "And when I went for the audition, I had to do a little piece on the Skoda Superb ... a walkaround piece talking about the car. Then I had to sit with Jeremy [Clarkson] and we did a verion of what became the news on the show eventually, to check if there was any banter.
"I met Jeremy and Richard Porter and Andy Wilman. I went home quite sad because I thought 'that show is going to be amazing, they're going to have an incredible time, and I won't be part of it'.
"Months went by and then the phone rang. We were in our little basement office in our house in Cheltenham, Mindy was with me ... my wife. And I said 'that's them'. I answered, it was, and they said 'would you like to join us?' So I burst into tears and opened a bottle of champagne."
What followed was a lengthy career in automotive broadcasting, which includes several shows outside of the world of motoring, plus of course Hammond's exploits on Top Gear and The Grand Tour. But, things could've been very different.
"I've been told since by Wilman and Jeremy that I only got the job because [...] I turned up in a completely crap 1982 Porsche 911SC — left handed with a ducktail on it — and it was hopeless. That helped, and as I was leaving I said 'right, I've got to get back to the 'Nam. Cheltenham'. That's what got me my job apparently, [...] just that one little joke."
Hammond covers a raft of other topics, including his apparently likeness to Al Pacino and Robert Downey Jr, who's career he'd want instead of his own, and more. You can check the video out in full above.
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