They may have a reputation as a trio of lads who look down their noses at political correctness – but Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond is adamant that he, James May and Jeremy Clarkson have the utmost respect for women drivers.
In fact, the diminutive presenter, nicknamed “the Hamster”, insists that his wife is a better driver than him.
“People say to us ‘Oh you are terribly offensive, I know what you are like about women drivers’,” Hammond told RadioTimes.com.
“And I say, ‘What? Give us an example’. We are not. For one thing, half of Top Gear’s audience is female. I have always thought my wife is a far better driver than me and I don’t ever make any jokes about women drivers.”
We are sure that Mrs Hamster – newspaper columnist Mindy Hammond – agrees. After all, Hammond says she is often left alone in their West Country home with their two children when he is on assignment and is compelled to take up all the family’s driving duties.
“I work away a lot and when I go away I shed a tear or two when I know I won’t be home for a few weeks,” he adds. “When I am home I do the school run when I can – I try to strike a balance.”
Another drawback of his celebrity status is “overweight van drivers pointing at me and going on about how short I am.
“I just think: ‘I can’t do much about that but you’re still fat’. Still, it is gratifying sometimes to be recognised and to know that we make TV that people are watching. But I am still surprised when I talk to kids and a lot of them tell me they want to be famous – why?”
Hammond is fronting a new National Geographic Series, Science of Stupid (see clip below), which sees him introducing footage of accidents and trying to explain why they occurred.
Or as he puts it: “I spend my time laughing my socks off at clips of people doing stupid things, usually falling flat on their face…usually because of gravity. My job is to explain the science of what happened.”
Science of Stupid begins airing on Wednesday 9 April at 10pm on National Geographic
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.