Richard Hammond, one third of the presenting trio that took Top Gear from the brink of irrelevance to one of the BBC’s most lucrative programmes, has dropped new hints about his forthcoming show with Jeremy Clarkson, saying that it will be a “fantastic challenge”.
In an interview with The Times, Hammond said that he, Clarkson and James May have already started planning the new show, which they will make for Amazon Prime, and said it would be very different from Top Gear.
“There’s a lot to be done because we will reinvent, do new stuff, and that’s as invigorating as it gets. So what a fantastic challenge,” Hammond said.
Talking about the move from terrestrial television to online streaming, Hammond said that working for Amazon feels more like having a publisher than a boss. “They’re not going to interfere. They want us doing what we do.” Asked whether he felt the experience would be liberating, he replied: “Yeah, very.”
The 45-year-old presenter said that press speculation over how much he and his co-presenters were being paid was pure “coffee-machine chat”. Asked whether his new salary embarrassed him, Hammond replied “I’m at peace”.
Hammond said that he was not unhappy that Top Gear came to a premature end after Clarkson punched a colleague in the face during an overnight stay in a hotel in North Yorkshire. “We’ve had many conversations. This year we’ve probably spent more time all of us together than ever we have.”
So has the experience brought the presenters closer? “I suppose so. And that’s good. So we’re on the best footing we’ve ever been to go ahead now and do what we do best.”
Clarkson, Hammond and May’s as-yet untitled show for Amazon is expected to reach screens next year.