Born near Birmingham and spending some of his early years in North Yorkshire, Richard attended Harrogate College of Art and Technology from 1987 to 1989. After graduating he turned to media and worked for several north England radio stations before moving into television, presenting car-themed programmes for Granada.
In 2002, Richard auditioned for a role on Top Gear, the BBC's long-running car programme, subsequently cementing a position as co-presenter. Richard is often referred to by his co-presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May as "Hamster", due to his short height and similar sounding name.
During the filming of Top Gear in 2006, Richard was severely injured in the crash of the jet-powered dragster called Vampire he was driving. At the time, Richard was travelling at 288 mph (463 km/h). Following a lengthy and miraculous recovery process, Richard made his way back in front of the camera.
Although mostly known for his love of cars, Richard has also shown a deep interest and understanding of science and engineering. His first foray away from cars came with Sky's Brainiac: Science Abuse from 2003 to 2006.
This was subsequently followed by the astonishing Richard Hammond's Invisible Worlds in 2010, displaying the wonders of a world hidden by the limitations of the human eye.
More recently, he has also presented Richard Hammond's Journey To The Centre Of The Earth in 2011 and the live wildlife spectacular Planet Earth Live.