Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond has reportedly spoken of suffering “mortally with depression” since his near-fatal crash in 2006.
“I damaged all the complicated bits of the brain to do with processing and emotional control,” he was quoted as saying in The Sunday Times.
A damaged tyre caused his dragster to crash while he was driving at speeds of up to 288mph at an airfield near York.
He was airlifted to hospital and treated for swelling to the brain.
He spent just weeks in hospital instead of 15 months, as doctors had predicted.
He told the newspaper that afterwards, he was “prey to every single emotion that swept over me and I couldn’t deal with it”.
“I had to relearn things from scratch,” he said.
“I’ll still have a week when I’m freaking out about something and I’ll realize it’s because I’m encountering a new emotional state and I have to evolve a new strategy to cope with it.”
The article said he still “talks regularly with his psychiatrist”.
Hammond also said he had damaged the part of his brain “to do with spatial awareness”.
This affected his ability to park and also his memory, he said.
“My memory is a lot better but the other day I forgot the Pin numbers to all my cards. All of them. Completely gone.”
Hammond said in December 2006 that the two weeks after he was in the crash are a blank.
Although he told The Sunday Times he returned to BBC Two’s Top Gear “too early”, he said: “I thought the worst thing I could do was stay at home and continue feeling like a patient.”
His “long journey” of recovery was still going on and his brain was “as mended as it’s likely to be”, he said.
“Now it seems to be more a case of rewiring itself,” he added.
Richard Mark Hammond: born 19 December 1969 in Solihull, the grandson of workers in the automobile industry. Originally from the West Midlands, in the mid-1980s Hammond moved with his family (mother Eileen, father Alan, and younger brothers Andrew and Nicholas) to the North Yorkshire market town of Ripon where his father ran a probate business in the market square. A pupil of Ripon Grammar School and of Solihull School, a fee-paying boys’ independent school in the West Midlands town, from 1987 to 1989 he attended Harrogate College of Art and Technology. He gained a BTEC National Diploma in Visual Communications but chose not to pursue a career in this direction.
Radio and television career
Early in his career, Hammond worked at many radio stations, including Radio York, Radio Cumbria, Radio Leeds, and Radio Lancashire, before going on to present a number of daytime lifestyle shows and motoring programmes on Men & Motors.
He presented the Crufts dog show in 2005, the 2004 and 2005 British Parking Awards, and has appeared on School’s Out, a quiz show on BBC One where celebrities answer questions about things they learned at school when they were younger. He has also presented The Gunpowder Plot: Exploding The Legend. Along with his work on Top Gear, he currently presents Should I Worry About…? on BBC One and Time Commanders on BBC2, and presented the first four series of Brainiac: Science Abuse on Sky One. He is also a team captain on the BBC2 quiz show, Petrolheads, in which a memorable part was one where Hammond was tricked into smashing his classic Ferrari while trying to parallel park blindfolded in another car.
From January 3, 2006 until February 10, 2006, Hammond was the eponymous star of Richard Hammond’s 5 O’Clock Show with his co-star Mel Giedroyc of Light Lunch fame. The programme, which discussed a wide range of topics, was shown every weekday on ITV1 between 5:00 and 6:00.
In July 2005 Hammond was voted number one in a heat magazine poll of top “weird celebrity crushes.” Also in 2005 he was voted one of the top 10 British TV talents.
As part of Red Nose Day 2007, Hammond stood for nomination via a public telephone vote, along with Andy Hamilton and Kelvin MacKenzie, to be a one-off co-presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on March 16, 2007. However, he was defeated by Andy Hamilton.
In April 2007, Hammond presented a one off special on BBC Radio 2 for Good Friday followed by another in August 2007 for the Bank Holiday. He is scheduled to present more Bank Holiday specials for the station.
Nicknamed “Hamster“, is an English television and radio presenter best known for co-presenting the television programme Top Gear along with James May and Jeremy Clarkson from 2002 onwards, and co-hosting the live annual motoring show, MPH, in Earls Court and Birmingham NEC, alongside Tiff Needell and Jeremy Clarkson.
He also presented Brainiac: Science Abuse and writes a weekly column, which can be read in the motoring section of The Daily Mirror each Friday.
In September 2006 he had a serious brain injury sustained in a high-speed (288.3 mph, 464.0 km/h) crash during filming for Top Gear. At the end of January 2007, after Hammond recovered from his injuries, Top Gear was back on screen in the United Kingdom and showed the footage of the crash.