Born in Solihull, Warwickshire, Hammond attended the Harrogate College of Art and Technology before moving into radio where he honed his broadcasting skills on several local BBC stations. Hammond then made the leap to television when he presented several car shows on Men and Motors, a low-budget and little-watched British satellite channel which nevertheless laid the groundwork for his future career. Hammond's profile skyrocketed in 2002 when, alongside former host Jeremy Clarkson and fellow new recruit Jason Dawe, he was given the task of reinventing long-running motoring show "Top Gear" (BBC2, 1977-) for the 21st Century. After James May replaced the latter a year later, the show went from strength to strength with its array of novelty challenges, celebrity interviews and politically-incorrect banter retaining its core audience of car enthusiasts while also drawing in a more mainstream audience in their millions. Hammond wasted little time in capitalising on his new-found fame, landing hosting gigs on popular science shows "Brainiac: Science Abuse" (2003-08) and "Should I Worry About? ." (BBC1, 2004-05) as well as presenting the 2004 broadcast of national dog show Crufts.Hammond continued to balance his "Top Gear" (BBC2, 1977-) duties with various other TV commitments, such as fronting the big-budget dramatization, "The Gunpowder Plot: Exploding The Legend" (ITV, 2005), and historical strategy game show "Time Commanders" (BBC2, 2003-05), briefly hosting his own weekday teatime talk show, "Richard Hammond's 5 O'Clock Show" (ITV, 2006) and appearing as a captain on motoring panel show "Petrolheads" (BBC2, 2006), as well as embarking on a travelogue for "Richard Hammond: The Holy Grail" (BBC1, 2006). However, Hammond's prolific career was almost tragically cut short during filming for a "Top Gear" (BBC2, 1977-) segment in 2006 when the dragster vehicle he was driving crashed spectacularly at a speed of 288 miles per hour. Hammond suffered serious head injuries and spent the following two weeks in a coma, but eventually made a full recovery, and less than six months later, he returned to the show full time, introducing footage of the crash himself during his first episode back.Hammond's cheeky personality was integral to the show's evolution from niche programming to a global phenomenon, attracting audiences of 350 million in 170 different countries. But he also continued to branch out into other areas, narrating reality show "Last Man Standing" (BBC, 2007-08) and medical series "Helicopter Heroes" (BBC1, 2007-), conducting daredevil Evil Knievel's final TV interview for a 2007 special, and presenting children's science-based game show, "Richard Hammond's Blast Lab" (CBBC2, 2009-2011), as well as paying tribute to the world's greatest inventors for three seasons of "Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections" (National Geographic, 2008-2011). Hammond then became something of a family favorite when he was appointed as host of wacky obstacle course show "Total Wipeout" (BBC1, 2009-2012) before taking journeys to the Center of the Planet and the Bottom of the Ocean, and interviewing racing legend Stirling Moss for various one-off TV specials.Alongside colleagues Clarkson and May, Hammond then found himself at the center of a media storm in 2011 following a series of anti-Mexican jokes made during a feature on the Mastretta sports car. Hammond later apologized for his remarks and the subsequent ratings successes of "Richard Hammond's Crash Course" (BBC America, 2012) and "Planet Earth Live" (BBC, 2012) proved that the incident hadn't impacted on his popularity too much. After adding two further Saturday night family shows to his resume with hidden camera comedy "Richard Hammond's Secret Service" (BBC1, 2013) and "That Puppet Game Show" (BBC1, 2013-14), and providing a voiceover for the racing video game "Forza Motorsport 5" (2014), Hammond returned to more educational fare with "Science of Stupid" (National Geographic, 2014), a 14-part series focusing on the application of physics in everyday life, and "Wild Weather with Richard Hammond" (BBC1, 2014).