Richard Hammond says daredevil stunts will still be seen on TV

Richard Hammond
Richard Hammond was nearly killed in a crash near York in 2006

Former Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond has said he thinks daredevil stunts will still be seen on TV.

Hammond was left in a coma after flipping a jet-powered vehicle at 280mph on the show in 2006.

A subsequent accident on his Amazon motoring show also led to hospital treatment.

His comments come after current Top Gear host Andrew Flintoff was hurt in an accident while filming in December 2022, leading to filming being halted.

When asked by BBC Radio 4's Today programme presenter Nick Robinson if we have seen the end of daredevil stunts on TV now, following such high-profile, serious crashes, Hammond replied: "I doubt it".

"I think in all television programmes, if you're taking risks you have to mitigate everywhere against those risks," he added, in a discussion about Amazon Prime's re-boot of another physically-demanding show, Takeshi's Castle.

"But also we've all got to remember, and occasionally I'm reminded, just because we're on TV doesn't mean we're in some sort of magic protected bubble.

"Real world things still apply."

Quizzed on whether he would like to see Flintoff return to Top Gear, Hammond replied: "Of course, very much."

Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff during filming Top Gear
Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff was injured in December at Top Gear's test track in Surrey

Flintoff was injured last year at Top Gear's test track at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome in Surrey. Few details about incident have been publicly confirmed, but it has raised questions over the future of the show.

The BBC said in March: "Under the circumstances, we feel it would be inappropriate to resume making series 34."

The broadcaster said a decision on how best to continue would be made later this year.

In 2021, former escapologist Jonathan Goodwin, the fiancé of actress and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Amanda Abbington, was paralysed after a TV stunt went wrong on the show America's Got Talent: Extreme.

Hammond, who narrowly avoided death after his own Top Gear crash, said last year his wife had been told by doctors that "things aren't looking good... we think we're going to lose him".

The BBC was criticised by the health and safety watchdog after an investigation uncovered failings. But Hammond's 2007 return, alongside footage of the crash, was a ratings hit, attracting 8.7 million viewers and beating the Big Brother final.

'Life-changing event'

The TV personality has said he fears his worsening memory could be linked to his 2006 crash.

Asked if the incident had changed him, he told Today: "An acquired brain injury is a life-changing event and it has it has various effects - long, short term.

"I've chatted to a lot of people recovering from similar injuries and the path to recovery is breathtakingly similar in every instance.

"Whether that injury was acquired by crushing car, falling off a ladder or being shot at; the actual route to recovery of re-finding yourself is incredibly similar."

Hammond, who also said that fronting another challenging BBC game show, Total Wipeout, had been "huge fun", presented Top Gear from 2002 until 2015 alongside Jeremy Clarkson and James May. Clarkson's contract was not renewed after his physical assault on a Top Gear producer.

Since 2016 the trio have presented Amazon Studios' The Grand Tour.

Speaking about the return of the at-times painful Takeshi's Castle on the same network, hosted by Romesh Ranganathan and Tom Davis, he said: "Pratfalls and somebody else hurting themselves, hopefully not too badly, is one of the oldest forms of humour, isn't it?

"I don't think we'll ever get away from that."