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Richard Hammond: Man in flames
Richard Hammond: Man in flames

The Hamster tries his hand at a variety of professions in the second season of Richard Hammond’s Crash Course, but perhaps it’s appropriate that he’s starting with a stint as a stunt (yes, the consonance was deliberate) driver on the season’s first episode, which premieres Monday, October 22 at 10/9c. After all, it’s a profession, with all its fast driving, that seems somewhat close to home for the Top Gear host.

So perhaps the idea is to ease him, ever so slowly, into the professions that truly terrify him, like the hair-raising, white knuckle-inducing job of being a stand-up comedian.

But while he was making the series, Hammond said that of all the professions he explores this season, there’s one that intrigued him above all the others, perhaps because it’s imbued with such American traditions:

Crash Course has given Hammond the opportunity to spend lots of time in the States, and he recently offered his opinion on where British tourists should go if they come here. He was reluctant to name just one place, but he sort of did anyway. Hint: he says it’s a “almost a caricature of itself”:

• Clearly, Richard wants to tell people about his trip here and all he’s done – and it looks like he wants your help. To that end, BBC America has designed some e-cards for you to send to your friends. Won’t you help him out? After all, he’s bared his soul in front of unforgiving stand-up comedy audiences, wrangled snakes and, yes, even set himself on fire – all for your entertainment. The least you can do is send out a few e-cards for the guy. C’mon, you know it’s the right thing to do.

‘Crash Course’ e-card: Richard Hammond’s comfort zone


Richard Hammond ‘Brit for Hire’ e-card

• And what if, God forbid, you missed season one of Crash Course? Don’t worry, you won’t have to tell anyone. That’s right, there’s no need to fake your knowledge of the series. (“Yes, I had a Porsche just like the one the Hamster ran over with the Abrams tank.” “My friend can put out airport fires faster than Richard.” “His space station docking was just terrible.” FYI, the last example is a trick one – don’t use it.). You can buy the entire first season on iTunes.

• You’ll see Richard as a stunt man on Crash Course beginning Monday, but you’ll remember that the Top Gear hosts have already contributed to movie car chases. Just last season, they got together with the folks making the movie version of the British TV classic series The Sweeney.  Well, Top Gear UK found a video this week that they thought Messrs. Hammond, Clarkson and May should have taken a look at. (And so should you.) It’s a car chase done completely in remote-controlled miniatures – including an RC helicopter.

• Some say he’s just a Lego key-chain… and in this case, they’d be right. Top Gear magazine created a special Limited Edition Lego Stig keyring, but demand was so overwhelming that they’ve run out of them. For those who weren’t able to get one, maybe you’ll make do with this video:

• The Sun’s motoring editor Ken Gibson previewed Top Gear Live, the show’s touring extravaganza that will take place in Birmingham, England later this month. You can take a look at his article and video report here. In addition to a tribute to 50 years of James Bond cars, Top Gear Live is aiming to break another Guinness world record – they’ve already broken a record for double loops – but the show’s creative director is keeping mum on exactly what the new record to be shattered will be.

• If you think he’s sexy, shouldn’t that be enough to get Rod Stewart on to Top Gear? Apparently not, but it’s the British singer himself who’s turned down invitations. Even though he owns lots of cars, he fears he doesn’t know enough about them to go on the show, he says in his new autobiography.

“Mechanically speaking, I don’t really know one end from the other,” Stewart writes. “They keep asking me to go on Top Gear – but I’m worried they’re going to start talking to me about camshafts and drivetrains and using words like ‘torque’, at which point I’d be lost.” (via RTE)

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By Paul Hechinger