Richard Hammond: "The Grand Tour can be a worldwide force for good"
In the latest instalment of The Grand Tour, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond are off to East Africa.
Most Brits travel to Mozambique for its game parks, marine wildlife and pristine beaches. Clarkson and co are there for a more noble reason.
The episode is called “Feed the World” (with tongue firmly in cheek, we hope) and they’ll be attempting to transport some of the coast’s bountiful supply of fish inland, where protein is in short supply.
Clarkson will be in a Nissan pickup, May’s in an old Mercedes 200T and Hammond is on a new TVS Star motorcycle.
Their mission won’t be entirely successful, judging from the photos. Expect lots of mud.
Below, Hammond tries to convince us that they really are trying to save mankind, and reveals his favourite place in the world.
We realised that at the coast there is a lot of fish with an amazing amount of seafood. There are these markets where it is just a sea of beauty and colour and it is magnificent, but not that far inland people are, not starving, but they have pretty terrible diets. It is really low fibre, low protein and it is not good.
So we thought: that seems silly, we need to connect the two and then we can change the world. Perhaps even save the world! So we set about finding the best way of doing that to prove that it could be done. It was really difficult…
Is this a new departure for The Grand Tour? The Grand Tour as a noble, charitable endeavour?
I do not think it is a new idea really, but The Grand Tour can be a worldwide force for good. It is in our genes to do that as part of the service. Along with entertainment for the world, we are also setting out to save it.
What has been the single dumbest idea that any of you have had this series?
Traditionally at the beginning of every series we sit down and we knock ideas around. Some of them are amazing, quite a lot of them are really terrible. The dumbest idea we have had this series is probably Mozambique. If it was that easy, people would be doing it, that was something we never quite grasped.
What went wrong this series?
I think we missed a flight or two but that is just logistics. Imagine corralling us around the world, it is not an easy task. I had a slight incident in Switzerland when I departed the road backwards in quite a fast car but I also crashed a number of times on a motorcycle in Mozambique. Basically, what’s gone wrong is I keep getting injured.
Of all the places you have been to over both series, is there a ‘Hammond heaven’?
Whenever we travel there are moments when you find yourself thinking I could live here. Africa is a big continent but there are bits around – and I have travelled it pretty extensively – where sometimes I find myself thinking, ‘Do you know what? I could stay here.’
Part of it is being a Brit, I think. There’s something about the terrain – it looks very familiar but it is dialled up to eleven. The scale, the stretch, the scope, the views of the sky… so I could settle in Botswana or the Lake District in the UK because that is my favourite place on earth.
The Grand Tour’s Mozambique special is available on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 16 February