March 8, 2012

Top Gear’s Richard Hammond Is Challenged To Take On America’s Most Monstrous Machines

BBC AMERICA premieres all-new original series Richard Hammond’s Crash Course

The world premiere of @BBCAMERICA’s new original series #RichardHammond’s Crash Course is set for Monday, April 16

New York, NY — Richard Hammond, host of the world’s biggest car show Top Gear, takes the ultimate driving test in BBC AMERICA’s new original series Richard Hammond’s Crash Course, produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. As he travels across the US, Hammond is challenged to learn how to operate America’s largest and most dangerous vehicles. Immersed in some of the country’s most extreme environments, he has only days to master these monstrous machines, a task that takes years for most people to achieve. Throughout his journey, Hammond works alongside local experts who operate these machines daily, while getting a true taste of American hospitality. Richard Hammond’s Crash Course premieres Monday, April 16 at 10:00pm ET/PT.

As Top Gear enters season 18, Richard Hammond has experienced more than his fair share of international auto-escapades, whizzed along countless race tracks, driven just about every high-powered car and sat pretty in some of the most luxurious vehicles ever made. Now in Richard Hammond’s Crash Course, he experiences the world’s biggest and toughest vehicles that are made not for show, but to get a job done. Visiting six locations, with just three days in each, he must learn how to handle a variety of complex and dangerous machines. In the end, the experts decide if he has successfully completed each challenge.

The series has Hammond at the helm of a myriad of machines including the US Army’s MIA2 Abrams Tank at Fort Bliss, ‘The Compactor’ (which weighs more than the last 11 Super Bowl championship teams combined) at the Denver Regional Landfill, the world’s most powerful fire engine, The Striker, at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and a two ton wrecking ball with the power to tear down a five story building in a matter of seconds in Orlando. Hammond, usually the expert in the driver’s seat, finds himself in unusual territory. Not only is he in a foreign land, he is now the student, getting his hands dirty and learning all aspects of the job from the men and women who operate these essential machines.

From completing fitness training with a US Army “Top Tank” crew to shimmying up a tree, despite his fear of heights, while working with the Luoto family for their Oregon logging company – there is no cutting corners on the work sites. Hammond does find time, however, to make some machine-powered high-jinx of mammoth proportions. For instance, while tree harvesting, Richard fashions his own game of darts using the monster-sized Dangle Head Processor to catapult 5,000 lb log-darts into a bullseye on the side of one of his least favorite vehicles – the mini-van.

Richard Hammond’s Crash Course is produced by BBC Worldwide Productions for BBC AMERICA. Rob Fox is executive producer. Elli Hakami, Jane Tranter and Courtney Conte are executive producers for BBC Worldwide Productions.

BBC AMERICA’s Top Gear returns for season 18 with a special two-hour premiere Monday, April 16 at 8:00pm ET/PT, followed by the world premiere of Richard Hammond’s Crash Course.

Twitter:@BBCAMERICA Hashtags: #RichardHammond

British television presenter and car enthusiast Richard Hammond takes his love of driving off-road in Richard Hammond’s Crash Course. Best known as co-host of the world’s biggest car show, Top Gear, Hammond’s extensive career includes radio and television and covers everything from science and cars to game shows.

Beloved by fans for his quintessential charm and wit, Hammond has appeared in over 50 television projects.  Covering cars in the series Petrolheads, Motor ShowMotorweek, Kits n’ Cruisin’ and Better Cars. He also touched on lifestyle topics in Richard Hammond’s 5 O’Clock Show and Livetime. Hammond also has an extensive history in science and technology programming. He was also fortunate to meet his childhood hero inRichard Hammond meets Evel Kneivel.

In addition to presenting, Hammond also has his own production company, Hamster’s Wheel, where he develops television programs. Hammond has created his own iPhone application, Hamsters Car Spotter, where players are given the opportunity to be the best car spotter in the world.

Hammond currently resides in the UK, when he isn’t traveling the globe.

Episode One: Abrams Tank
At Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, Richard Hammond tests his skills to see if he has what it takes to be a member of a top tank crew, as he learns to drive the US Army’s MIA2 Abrams Tank. The tank “Debel,” meaning to conquer in war, lives up to its fighter name as a leading force in ground-armored combat. Richard’s challenge is not only to drive the 68.7 ton machine, but to master all four positions within the tank: Driver, Commander, Gunner and Loader. Before he can jump in, he has to complete the Army’s extensive training program including hours of simulator training and of course, physical fitness training. Episode One premieres Monday, April 16, 10:00pm ET/PT.

Episode Two: Tree Harvester
In the midst of an Oregon forest, Richard Hammond’s skills are put to the test when he is challenged to become a lumberjack and master three massive machines that cut and process wood.  The first machine, the Feller Buncher, is used to cut down trees and can process 1,000 trees a day. The Dangle Head Processor handles the logs like toothpicks, as it cuts, strips and slices wood in less than a minute.  Finally, the Log Loader adds organization to the chaos by stacking the logs. However, before Richard can touch the machines he has to prove he has what it takes to become a lumberjack by climbing 50 feet up a tree and of course, learning how to replant the trees to create a sustainable forest. Episode Two premieres Monday, April 23, 10:00pm ET/PT.

Episode Three: Landfill
Richard Hammond gets down and dirty at the Denver Regional Landfill where he learns how to operate three trash machines – the Compactor, Scraper and Bulldozer.  The Bulldozer is used to spread garbage so the other machines can work properly, it can push up to 22 tons of waste.  The Compactor, which weighs more than the last 11 Super Bowl championship teams combined, is used to crush the rubbish.  Lastly, the Scraper covers the refuse and can hold up to 40 tons of dirt.  Richard not only has to master all three, he is challenged to maintain the machines as well, which means cleaning them at the end of a hard day’s work. Episode Three premieres Monday, April 30, 10:00pm ET/PT.

Episode Four: Striker
Richard Hammond takes on the Striker, the world’s most powerful fire engine, under the supervision of the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport firefighters.  The Striker is designed to be driven and operated by one person, it has eight wheels which are all driven and it features two water cannons that can fire up to 1200 gallons a minute.  Richard also attempts to master the physical challenges that determine if he has what it takes to be a firefighter.Episode Four premieres Monday, May 7, 10:00pm ET/PT.

Episode Five: Demolition
Richard Hammond is bringing down the house in Orlando, Florida, home to one of the busiest demolition companies in the nation, and he’s using their massive Track Hoe and Wrecking Ball to do it. On average, it takes a person six months to master a Track Hoe, but Richard only has a few hours to learn how to use it like a pair of tweezers. The two ton Wrecking Ball has the power to tear down a five story building in seconds. Richard’s challenge is to prove to the company he is worthy of a real demo man title by demolishing a house with surgical precision. Episode Five premieres Monday, May 14, 10:00pm ET/PT.

Episode Six: Salvage Yard
Richard Hammond has his hands full as he heads down to Louisiana to salvage scrap metal.  He must conquer the Crane, the Claw and Electro-Magnet, all of which are essential tools used to break down oil rigs and select the reusable material. The Crane can lift up to 150 tons and crawls at a top speed of one MPH.  The Claw is used to separate out recyclable materials.  It can lift 15 tons of recyclable materials at one time, the equivalent of 100 sumo wrestlers.  The Electro-Magnet can lift up to 4,000 pounds at one time, the same as 20 refrigerators. Episode Six premieres Monday, May 21, 10:00pm ET/PT.