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150319-top-gear-australia

Jeremy Clarkson's new Top Gear will be 'fantastic challenge', says Hammond

150319-top-gear-australia

Clarkson's co-host says that his new motoring show for Amazon will be a reinvention and will allow him to 'do new stuff'

Richard Hammond, one third of the presenting trio that took Top Gear from the brink of irrelevance to one of the BBC's most lucrative programmes, has dropped new hints about his forthcoming show with Jeremy Clarkson, saying that it will be a "fantastic challenge".

In an interview with The Times, Hammond said that he, Clarkson and James May have already started planning the new show, which they will make for Amazon Prime, and said it would be very different from Top Gear.

"There's a lot to be done because we will reinvent, do new stuff, and that's as invigorating as it gets. So what a fantastic challenge," Hammond said.

Talking about the move from terrestrial television to online streaming, Hammond said that working for Amazon feels more like having a publisher than a boss. "They're not going to interfere. They want us doing what we do." Asked whether he felt the experience would be liberating, he replied: "Yeah, very."

A senior Netflix executive recently suggested that, according to their data, the former Top Gear presenters were simply not worth the figure Amazon paid for them, rumoured to be in the realm of £160 million.

The 45-year-old presenter said that press speculation over how much he and his co-presenters were being paid was pure "coffee-machine chat". Asked whether his new salary embarrassed him, Hammond replied "I'm at peace".

Hammond said that he was not unhappy that Top Gear came to a premature end after Clarkson punched a colleague in the face during an overnight stay in a hotel in North Yorkshire. "We've had many conversations. This year we've probably spent more time all of us together than ever we have."

So has the experience brought the presenters closer? "I suppose so. And that's good. So we're on the best footing we've ever been to go ahead now and do what we do best."

Hammond was speaking to The Times to promote his new show for Sky about the Amazon rainforest.

The coincidental nature of working on two very different Amazon shows does not escape him. "It's a coincidence, the two Amazons in my life. [But] it's exciting, very exciting," he says.

Andrew Billen, The Times' interviewer asked Hammond whether he thought that it was inconsistent to be working on a show about cars, which directly contribute to climate change, and one with WWF, partners in Sky's Rainforest Rescue campaign.

"Yes, that's an elephant in that particular room but they're not mutually exclusive, my two passions, I don't think, in any way. They're fundamentally intertwined."

According to Hammond, being interested in cars and nature are actually quite similar: "They are both expressions of something human. There is something primal about the ability to move yourself efficiently across ground."

Apparently, Clarkson himself also has an eye for nature.

"Jeremy won't mind me saying it, [but] actually he's fanatically interested in birds and we regularly had to stop a whole convoy of vehicles because he's seen a condor or something."

Richard Hammond's Jungle Quest is on Sky 1 HD at 9pm on 16 and 23 September. Clarkson, Hammond and May's as-yet untitled show for Amazon is expected to reach screens next year.

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