Richard "Hamster" Hammond is easily the shortest of the Top Gear trio. But enough about that.
The Hamster, originally from the West Midlands in England, presents Top Gear along with James May and Jeremy Clarkson, and Total Wipeout, a game show, with Amanda Byram. He has also presented Brainiac, a science-themed program, and writes a column for the Daily Mirror.
Before Top Gear, Hammond was a radio presenter, working for Radio York and Radio Leeds (among others) before moving to TV with the program "Men & Motors". His TV career has included such programs as Crufts, Time Commanders, Richard Hammond's 5 O'Clock Show, and Richard Hammond's Blast Lab. He has also published about a dozen books, including On The Edge: My Story and Back On The Wheel: A Hamster, Back In Action.
Hammond received international, unintentional, and unfortunate attention in 2006 when he crashed the Vampire dragster at an airfield near York. While filming for Top Gear, the car's front tyre burst on the last run, and the car overturned at 464km/h (300mph) and dragged Hammond at a top speed of 373.4km/h (232mph). The roll cage dug into the ground, which in turn dragged Hammond's helmet along the ground; if he had been any taller, he would have been decapitated. Instead, he suffered brain injuries, from which he slowly recovered over the next few months. He returned to Top Gear in January 2007 to a fanfare and dancing girls, after a special request to not make a fuss upon his return.
In his personal life, Hammond is married with two daughters.