Hammond Dons Top Weather Gear

Quipped The Guardian of TV3’s 7.30 Thursday replacement for Top Gear, Wild Weather With Richard Hammond: “Many people have wished for the Top Gear presenter to walk face-first into a tornado, but not perhaps under these circumstances: he is in the safe and controlled environment of Ontario’s Wind Engineering, Energy and Environment research institute.”

It mocked the HD series as “an insight into middle-aged suffering” and “just Top Gear with a barometer”.

The Independent was more charitable but said of the premiere: “For me, though, the Top Gear presenter lost any claim to daredevil status, when he turned down an opportunity to ride straight into the eye of a tornado in some guy’s home-made ‘Dominator’ truck.

“He preferred to sit the action out from the comfort of the voiceover booth.”

The Daily Mail thought the series “entertaining as well as educational” and likened Hammond to “a third-former on a school geography field trip, who has downed a jumbo can of high-caffeine energy drink on the coach … he ricocheted around, squeaking with excitement.”

But as well as being extreme, weather can be extremely frustrating, as Hammond found when he and the crew visited Buttermere in the Lake District to find out why it’s one of Britain’s wettest areas.

“Guess what?” Hammond told the Daily Express. “When we got there, it wasn’t raining! So we had to hire a rain machine. The irony of it was not lost on me.”

Meanwhile, the controversial Top Gear special, Patagonia, is being released next month on DVD-only but can be ordered on Blu-ray from Britain.

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