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Richard Hammond
September 21, 2006 2:18 AM   Subscribe

Richard Hammond, much loved daredevil top gear and brainiac presenter, is seriously ill in hospital after trying to break the UK land speed record.
posted by handee (72 comments total)

 
I wish him luck and a trouble free recovery. However, given the irresponsible nature of Top Gear, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.

I wonder if Clarkson is going to trivialise and make fun of Hammond's injuries. Given his almost sociopathic lack of respect for anyone who isn't Clarkson.
posted by seanyboy at 2:31 AM on September 21, 2006


Bit of a UK-centric link, don't you think? And also a bit newsfilter-ish too.

Don't get me wrong - I like the guy, and I wish him well. I don't really expect to see these sort of things in the blue though.
posted by StuMiller at 2:31 AM on September 21, 2006


Not really. Top Gear is shown worldwide.
posted by the cuban at 2:35 AM on September 21, 2006


There've been a few top gear posts here in the past, so it's not without precedent... personally, I have a love/hate relationship with the show, but think Hammond is by far the best thing on it. Looks like Brainiac is shown outside of the UK too.
posted by handee at 2:38 AM on September 21, 2006


I think the interplay between the three of them is what makes the show. Since the other presenters all buggered off to Channel Five to make the Fifth Gear clone, they've managed to turn Top Gear into something genuinely different, thereby keeping the popularity.

It's more a comedy sketch show featuring the bickering between the three presenters, which just happens to built around cars, than the stale old review-a-car format which Fifth Gear and its ilk continue to air.

Brainiac, on the other hand, is absolutely dire.
posted by StuMiller at 2:46 AM on September 21, 2006


I see Braniac here in the "Good Ol' US of A". I really love this guy. In a normal way.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 2:59 AM on September 21, 2006


Bugger me. If he pops his clogs is he going to be the UK's answer to Steve Irwin? Did he ever drive really fast with his infant son in the passenger seat?

When I've accidentally flicked on to Top Gear and he's been on it's been almost bearable. And then Clarkson's appeared and I've had to throw something through the screen.
posted by MrMustard at 3:01 AM on September 21, 2006


Bit of a UK-centric link, don't you think? And also a bit newsfilter-ish too.

You're being sarcastic, right?

As for this, I hope he makes it out alright. He's my favourite presenter on Top Gear, and I can't imagine how much money they must throw at him to keep doing Brainiac, which is pretty horrible all around. And I can't understand all the Clarkson hate. He's a jerk, and revels in being a jerk. He's the Simon Cowell of the car set, although presumably with much less money.
posted by antifuse at 3:23 AM on September 21, 2006


Hope he's alright, but yeah, saw it coming a mile off. Top Gear is the best motoring show on TV but they really can be a bit flippant about safety.

I don't really expect to see these sort of things in the blue though.

Why though? I know metafilter is mainly American but I ike fnding stuff out about Americans I've never heard of so why not vice versa?
posted by twistedonion at 3:27 AM on September 21, 2006


Shame. I'm hooked on Top Gear, despite finding all of the presenters, including your man, mind-blowingly annoying - I think it's because they really, really love cars, and their enthusiasm filters through the patented Clarkson shouty style they all deploy.

Bit of a UK-centric link, don't you think?

Nothing from outside the US could possibly be of interest, eh? Twit. And get your jingoism precise: Poles love Top Gear and Clarkson, much more than British people do.
posted by jack_mo at 3:45 AM on September 21, 2006


Oh. You're from Leeds. How confusing.
posted by jack_mo at 3:46 AM on September 21, 2006


but they really can be a bit flippant about safety.

The guy was in a jet car* attempting the land speed record - I think it's unlikely that the crew wasn't all over the safety aspect. Those kinds of vehicles are prone to getting airborne, right?

*I know it's now the standard way to get speed records, but the phrase 'jet car' really sounds great, like a 1950's dream of the future has finally come true. I expect the Mekon to arrive shortly.
posted by patricio at 3:51 AM on September 21, 2006


Got you there. Anyway - I stand corrected. I hadn't realised just how wide the appeal of Top Gear is.
posted by StuMiller at 3:52 AM on September 21, 2006


I don't really expect to see these sort of things in the blue though.

Metafilter can't all be about Steven Colbert and Bill O'Reilly...
posted by runkelfinker at 4:02 AM on September 21, 2006


Did he get the stomach flu from that crash, or can "seriously ill" mean something other than "really sick" in the UK?
posted by emelenjr at 4:10 AM on September 21, 2006


Did he break the land speed record? That is what he was risking it all for after all.

[and yes brits seem to use ill to include injured]
posted by srboisvert at 4:18 AM on September 21, 2006


In this context "seriously ill" tends to mean somewhere between "intensive care" and "prepare the coffin" - a surprisingly large group.

Most comments about Top Gear's attitude are probably pretty valid, but this wasn't something they'd lashed together from a spare get engine and some spares from Unipart. Theis was a proper record attempt on a recognised strip during which a tyre blew out. That's firmly in the "recognised by uncontrollable incidents" category not the "pissing around and should have known better" one.

I hope the guy gets well soon.

But if they were filming for Top Gear, that probably means there's a series on, or due soon... I'll have to go look...
posted by twine42 at 4:28 AM on September 21, 2006


Reports are that he had hit 315 miles per hour when a wheel burst (as they do) and the car flipped a number of times. He actually regained conciousness for a time and his condition is no longer critical, it's listed as stable, which is really amazing. I wish him the best

If he is the UK version of Steve Irwin don't expect his fans (or should I say followers?) to start smashing up jet cars. Cars are a religion here, almost as important as the footie!
posted by Wilder at 4:31 AM on September 21, 2006


Hammond is far and away the best thing about Top Gear, a show I love very dearly even though I hate cars, people who like cars and (most specifically) people who like cars and are called Jeremy.

Hope he pulls through and recovers quickly - the latest reports sound like good news, with his condition "improving".

I can't imagine how much money they must throw at him to keep doing Brainiac

Actually, as of a week ago, he isn't the presenter of Brainiac any more.
posted by flashboy at 4:34 AM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


I always thought the new version of Top Gear was basically a laddy version of Blue Peter. You know, a visit to a factory, a star guest, a 'make'

...and then this series they got a dog, too! I was sending in a drawing of a Veyron to see if I got a badge.

Get well soon Hamster.
posted by flameproof at 4:41 AM on September 21, 2006


I think the interplay between the three of them is what makes the show.

Its superb cinematography and a few great script ideas don't hurt either.

I think what makes the show is that it is the ultimate guy's show: very funny and very well done, but kind of dumb and fairly useless. I watch it at every opportunity I get and have turned several of my friends (including some Americans) into instant fans.

And I don't specially like cars - I certainly don't own one.
posted by magullo at 4:48 AM on September 21, 2006


Get better soon Hammster, we miss you sparring with Jeremy already.
posted by parmanparman at 5:01 AM on September 21, 2006


Yep, I've been getting quite addicted to Top Gear recently, and the mutual piss-taking is the joy of it, I really don't care about the cars.

Bit of a shiver down my spine when I heard the news as just a couple of weeks ago I was thinking "God, one of them is going to get seriously hurt soon. As long as it's not that cute little Hamster fella..." At the time I was watching them setting fire to a caravan and throwing burning cushions out of the window, thus burning down half a campsite.

Speedy (heh) recovery, mate.
posted by penguin pie at 5:15 AM on September 21, 2006


Another American car-hater here who loves the show and who was also thrown by the use of "ill" in this case. I hope "stable" condition means something good in England. It's better than the rumo(u)rs that were going around last night.
posted by bink at 5:22 AM on September 21, 2006


I think what makes the show is that it is the ultimate guy's show: very funny and very well done, but kind of dumb and fairly useless.

??? I love Top Gear, I don't agree it's a guy's show at all. It's not dumb so much as insane. In a good way.

I hope he gets well soon, although I disagree with him about Porsches on a regular basis.

And "UK centric"? Who cares? The whole point of MeFi is to show people things they might not otherwise have seen.
posted by biscotti at 5:25 AM on September 21, 2006


What's fun about watching Top Gear is predicting how many seconds it will take between the mention of an American car and somebody in the cast declaring it rubbish.
posted by SteveInMaine at 5:41 AM on September 21, 2006


Bit of a UK-centric link, don't you think?

Oh, you're right. Are there any Americans available at short notice to balance things out at tonight's London meet-up? Otherwise, well, I guess we'll have nothing to talk about, being as nothing happens outside America...
posted by TheDonF at 5:43 AM on September 21, 2006


He's the only actually like-able presenter on the show. True enough Clarkson is a funny guy, though funny in Fred Phelps sort of way.

Bit of a UK-centric link, don't you think?
Holy fucking Mohammad on fire.. is that some sort of absurdist humor thing you have going on or are you a long stay resident at a secure state run home for the mentally defective? In anycase I lol-ed. Cheers for that.
posted by econous at 6:19 AM on September 21, 2006


But American cars are rubbish.

I love Top Gear. It's clever and funny and beautifully shot. I get the Clarkson hate, but I've never been one for it. Yes, they're completely anti-green, but everything needs opposition.

I've met Hammond before, and he seems like a top lad. It does seem a stupid way to die, but if he doesn't pull through I expect this is exactly how he would have wanted to go.
posted by bonaldi at 6:25 AM on September 21, 2006


The car in question


posted by Joeforking at 6:31 AM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


TheDonF.

I'm English. I live in Leeds. In England.

And I've already stated that I stand corrected, as I didn't realise Top Gear was so successful outside of the UK.
posted by StuMiller at 6:31 AM on September 21, 2006


In this context "seriously ill" tends to mean somewhere between "intensive care" and "prepare the coffin" - a surprisingly large group.


Is that a brittishism? I've never heard someone who's been injured being described as "ill" in the US. You'd only use that for someone who has the flu or cancer or some illness, not broken bones from a car crash.
posted by octothorpe at 6:37 AM on September 21, 2006


But if they were filming for Top Gear, that probably means there's a series on, or due soon... I'll have to go look...

October 8, according to the Wikipedia page. I can't believe how short the seasons are.
posted by antifuse at 6:43 AM on September 21, 2006


Seriously ill : yes of course its a britishism -- what do you expect in a post about a brit, posted by a brit, linking to british news sources :)

British medical press release terminology:

Seriously ill == near deaths door (for any reason: car crash, terrorism, cancer, heart attack, stroke, old age, as well as actual bacterial/viral bugs).

Critical condition == intensive care, probably having emergency surgery, actually knocking at deaths door...

Stable == not getting any worse. Probably not having surgery any more, most likely still in intensive care. with lots of machines that go 'Ping'.

Remember that the british are notoriously understated in their language.
posted by nielm at 6:52 AM on September 21, 2006


Additionally:

"Comfortable" = sedated so heavily they're only breathing once an hour

"sitting up" = propped up with sticks

"sharing a joke with the nurses" = screaming obscenities at anything that moves
posted by flashboy at 6:55 AM on September 21, 2006


"fit" = able to jog for several blocks without getting tired
posted by Flashman at 7:05 AM on September 21, 2006


As a Top Gear fan in the US, I'm amused to find that the general attitude here in-thread seems to fit with mine -- Hammond's good, Clarkson's annoying though sometimes entertaining. (Nothing about May, though? Well, I like him.)

Get well, Hammond, I miss you already. Oh, and good job getting out of Braniac. Let the useless Vic Reeves do it, it's rubbish anyway.
posted by infidelpants at 7:13 AM on September 21, 2006


As long as his new teeth are ok...
posted by 13twelve at 7:22 AM on September 21, 2006


It is a sad day when Richard Hammond is held in greater esteem than Vic Reeves.
posted by ninebelow at 7:26 AM on September 21, 2006


I'm not an avid fan by any stretch but I quite like the show occasionally and particularly Mr May. The other 2 are twats but I nevertheless hope Hammond comes through ok.
posted by peacay at 7:40 AM on September 21, 2006


Couldn't agree more ninebelow. I've never seen nor heard of 'Brainiac', but it sounds as though that may be a blessing.

As for Clarkson, I can't help wishing this had been him. Although I guess squeezing his lardy, obnoxious carcass into an aerodynamic jet car may have been beyond even the BBC.
posted by MrMustard at 7:45 AM on September 21, 2006


ninebelow: in fairness, I've only seen Vic Reeves on "Shooting Stars". Perhaps he's a genius in other venues, but I found him unwatchable on that. But what the hell do I know?
posted by infidelpants at 7:51 AM on September 21, 2006


There's nothing about this that doesn't suck. Get well soon, Hamster. I want to see you and James beat Clarkson in one of those continental races, just for the look on Clarkson's face.
posted by ninjew at 7:51 AM on September 21, 2006


Ninjew, I have mentally put a full stop after the word Clarkson in the third sentence of your comment. That does me.
posted by jontyjago at 8:01 AM on September 21, 2006


"fit" = able to jog for several blocks without getting tired

Fit can also mean general attractiveness. I've heard it said about Keira Knightly who is most likely not physically fit other than being very slim.

The b3ta take

There's nothing about this that doesn't suck.

Not quite true. I am betting that the footage will be spectacular even if the ride was a bit bumpy and the handling a little poor. Of course in this current climate it will probably self-censored.
posted by srboisvert at 8:19 AM on September 21, 2006


This has been the second Top-Gear related scare.

I'm an absolute Top-Gear whore, I love JC and Hamster, and May. I love the stunts, the complete lack of political correctness, the ranting, the bad jokes and the exotic scenery.

What I love most, even more than the absolutely stunning camerawork is the honesty of the show. Top Gear isn't afraid to ruthlessly skewer a car, brand or company when they so richly deserve it *cough*GM*cough* Man, now I can't wait two weeks, I want my Top Gear NOW dammit!
posted by Skorgu at 8:31 AM on September 21, 2006


That's terrible... then again if there's a show where you would expect something like that to happen, it's Top Gear, that constantly takes this sort of risk while checking out insanely hot cars. That's why it's such a great show.

I for one certainly hope "Hamster"'s going to be OK.
posted by clevershark at 9:05 AM on September 21, 2006


Does this mean that Hammond has secretly been The Stig all along?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:27 AM on September 21, 2006


Youtube vid of some news coverage
posted by srboisvert at 9:30 AM on September 21, 2006




I am firmly on record here as being a huge fan of Top Gear. The camera work is great, as is the musical choices, but hands down the best aspect is the interplay between the hosts. As I described it when I first saw it, they could be talking about gardening equipment and I would still be riveted.

I never got the Clarkson hate, I mean isn't he essentially playing a character? He's the asshole, Hammond is the charming one, and May is the geeky one. If they all acted the same the show would be boring.

Hell, I didn't even like cars till I started watching the show, now when I see a DB9 in the wild, I hop up and down like an excited kid.

This is a tragic turn of events. Get well soon Hammond.
posted by quin at 9:39 AM on September 21, 2006


There's a justgiving page for the Yorkshire air ambulance which brought him to hospital (yes, our helicopter ambulances are run by charity).
posted by handee at 9:44 AM on September 21, 2006


I too love the TG. One of the reasons I find it so compelling is that they have no compuction about telling you they think this or that is absolute and complete crap, and why....(see the reviews of the Viper and Corvette[leaf springs for chrissakes! buckboard technology!]) something that television shows produced in America can't do. Here, negative reviews are couched and qualified and dumbed down. I suppose in the land of the free and the home of the brave we are afraid to produce something that mind offend advertiser dollars or something. Insert shockingly insightfull comment about corporate overloards here.

Compare Top Gear to something like the show Motor Trend Magazine and you get the idea. It is a tiny mind-fuck to think that while our reputation for being rude, obnixious, and blunt preceeds us, so much of our TV is so damned milquetoast.
posted by hatchetjack at 10:02 AM on September 21, 2006


From stumcg's link...

Doctors at Leeds General Infirmary said they were "reasonably optimistic" the 36-year-old would make a good recovery.

(regarding the vampire 'car') Fuel economy: 7-10 gallons per mile
Ouch -- thats almost as much as a hummer!

Clarkeson is one of those characters people love to hate -- and although I also find him irritating repetitive and sometimes obnoxious, the show would not work (and would not even exist) without him!

However, regarding James May... Lock up your daughters!
posted by nielm at 10:25 AM on September 21, 2006


I think that if I were a Top Gear presenter I'd probably be James May, content to amble along on country roads in a 70's Aston-Martin, going down to the pub for a pint of bitter. But to be honest if he were the only presenter on the show it just wouldn't be as exciting as it is now with Clarkson and Hammond flanking him. Still, hurray for Captain Slow, I say!
posted by clevershark at 10:33 AM on September 21, 2006


Understandably, no-one is saying anything concrete about his condition, but it's eerie and possibly significant that there are "Profiles" of Hammond popping up all over the major news sources, such as this one.

And StuMiller, I don't want to beat a dead horse, given that you're British and have already considered yourself corrected, but I still can't help but point out how puzzling I found your first comment: I post about Euro- , UK- or Holland-centric stuff all the time, and people generally like it. If people stopped posting about the French government or or Little Britain or villages in Mongolia or Soviet-era jokes, I probably wouldn't come here anymore.

(Except for the Bush-bashing, Mac-sturbating, Bush-bashing, Daily Show-quoting, Bush-bashing, Google-gushing, Bush-bashing and the Bush-bashing, of course. Us Euros love that shit.)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:34 AM on September 21, 2006


(regarding the vampire 'car') Fuel economy: 7-10 gallons per mile
Ouch -- thats almost as much as a hummer!


A show on recently said that a top-fuel dragster burns 60 gallons per mile. Of nitromethane.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:10 AM on September 21, 2006


I was just on a YT binge of TopGear videos this weekend and wondered what would happen if something happened to one of them; what with all the risk-taking. Question answered! Now to see how the show handles it. Maybe the Stig can take over Hamster duties and sort of pantomime his reaction to various cars.

"As for Clarkson, I can't help wishing this had been him."

I was waiting for that.
posted by Eideteker at 11:47 AM on September 21, 2006


I'm really hoping we don't have to find out what Top Gear would be like without him. On the show, he's the embodiment of the excited little kid who just likes cool stuff (cars, in this case).
posted by ninjew at 12:05 PM on September 21, 2006


I agree that Top Gear's a great show. Hell, my wife even likes it, and Hamster is the most likeable guy on the show. The great thing is they're all car nuts, expecially evident with that shit eating grin on their faces whenever they drive a car they really like. Like the Veyron.
posted by SteveInMaine at 12:08 PM on September 21, 2006


I usually try to refrain from doing this, but: For the win.
posted by loquacious at 12:33 PM on September 21, 2006


I adore Top Gear, too. It's practically the only thing on TV that I make a point of watching. And I generally have very little interest in cars beyond my little Peugeot (although I do lust after an MG convertible...). I'm keeping everything crossed that he'll be okay.

Spat my tea on my laptop twice in this thread. Well played, Joeforking and person at b3ta.
posted by corvine at 1:54 PM on September 21, 2006


Yep. Should have been Clarkson.
posted by verisimilitude at 2:17 PM on September 21, 2006


Love Top Gear, and all the presenters. My favourite piece ever is the bit where Richard Hammond drives a Pagani Zonda through a tunnel in the Swiss Alps, and says that you know when you were a 10 year old kid and imagined what it would be like to do that - well, it's that good.

Get well soon mate.
posted by Shinkicker at 6:47 PM on September 21, 2006


God, he's got a wife and two little girls. Godspeed for his recovery.
posted by dhartung at 8:10 PM on September 21, 2006


So Hammond got crushed. Frankly, if you drive at 300mph then you deserve to have your back snapped. He's not dead though, right? Pity. The only slightest feeling of actual pity I feel is for his family. They have to deal with this on a regular basis. Though it'll only be so long before one of the presenters dies. Hopefully it'll be Clarkson.

Grinning inanely to myself,
Malus

P.S Couldn't stand Steve Irwin either. Arse.

P.P.S Hope I'm not getting flamed for this. Oops.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 6:18 AM on September 22, 2006


If for no other reason malus, you should be flamed for signing your post. And there are many other reasons too, but I'm too lazy.

Dick.
posted by antifuse at 6:51 AM on September 22, 2006


So Hammond got crushed. Frankly, if you drive at 300mph then you deserve to have your back snapped. He's not dead though, right? Pity. The only slightest feeling of actual pity I feel is for his family. They have to deal with this on a regular basis. Though it'll only be so long before one of the presenters dies. Hopefully it'll be Clarkson.

Grinning inanely to myself,
Malus


Mom?
posted by srboisvert at 6:56 AM on September 22, 2006


Clarkson's account of the past few days at Hammond's bedside: he says the first glimmer of hope was when the patient looked at James May and said "Hello, Cockface".

Vive l'Hamster.
posted by penguin pie at 12:04 PM on September 23, 2006


Thanks, penguin pie. That was an excellent account and the news brought a much needed smile to my face.
posted by quin at 8:01 PM on September 23, 2006


Crap!! It looks like BBC is using this as an opportunity to pospone the next series.

Hammond is said to be 'infuriated' by this move.

On a good note: Just three days after being critically injured in a jet car, he was moved to a general ward and is walking, talking and eating.

So, Yay he's getting better quickly! Boo, BBC is being a bunch of fuckers.
posted by quin at 6:29 PM on September 24, 2006


Clarkson's account is brilliant. Thanks for that, penguin pie. It's crazy to think they were thinking of putting May in the car first :)
posted by antifuse at 12:40 AM on September 25, 2006


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