Richard Hammond tells Chris Evans about the new series of his classic car workshop TV show

Virgin Radio

17 Oct 2022, 13:01

Chris Evans and Richard Hammond at Virgin Radio.

Journalist and presenter Richard Hammond joined The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk about series two of his docuseries, Richard Hammond’s Workshop.

The new ten-part series premieres today on streaming service Discovery+, available via Sky Q, and follows Richard fulfilling his lifelong ambition to build and run a classic car restoration and repair workshop, close to his home in Herefordshire. The first series saw Richard set up the business, but after almost a year, they’re still not turning a profit. Richard told Chris: “So, end of the first season, it’s set up. The second season, which begins tonight, we’re like, ‘Here’s the workshop, isn’t it amazing? Wow! This is expensive to run, isn’t it?’ So then it’s all about keeping it going.”

He added: “The delicious irony was, in order to pay for a lot of the kit I needed to put into the classic car restoration workshop, in which one day I hoped to restore my own cars, I had to sell my own cars!” 

The former Top Gear presenter runs his workshop with Neil and Anthony Greenhouse, who are local mechanics in Herefordshire. He explained how they came to work together. “We established fish and chip Fridays, where I’d turn up if I wasn’t working, with fish and chips, and we’d all sit around and eat them and chat, and one Friday we were chatting and Neil was a bit down, and he said, ‘I’m losing the workshop, they’re developing it,’ and I said, ‘Well, I’m not going to employ you to work directly to me, to do my cars, because, a: I’m not Jay Leno, and b: there’s not a great deal of dignity in that for you. So, why don’t we set up a business together, and we’ll get a little workshop, and once you’ve covered your costs you’ll be able to work on my cars?’”

He continued: “I’ll tell you the next thing I thought, which was, ‘That might make a nice little telly show.’ So we turned it into a TV show with Discovery, and as a result, my ambitions got carried away. Next thing I know the workshop is enormous, I’m selling the cars I was hoping to restore in a smaller workshop to buy all the kit to put in the bigger workshop to restore other people’s cars.”

Speaking about the mechanics, he said: “The guys can do amazing stuff. They’re properly talented.”

In the new series, the team gets a crash course in racing, and for a good reason. The presenter explained: “I need to get customers, I need to get in contact with people who love classic cars, and who regularly, for whatever reason, damage them, need them repairing, and then, ideally, damage them again. Those people are obviously people who race classic cars. The best way to get to them, rather than just pay for expensive adverts, when I haven’t got any money in the business, we go racing with them!

“So, I dug out of the barn an old MGB GT, which was the last car that I drove on a certain TV car show,” he added. “We thought, let’s turn that into a car and campaign it, and we did. Which, it turns out, is an even better way of getting rid of money!”

The second series will also see Richard's wife, Mindy, investigating her husband's business management skills, and will also follow Richard as he tries to impress prospective clients at a high-end car event, and also attempts to teach his younger daughter, Willow, to drive.

Speaking about the workshop, the presenter - who is also known for The Grand Tour - said: “This is a real entity, so we’re still filming this series as it goes out. We wrap in two weeks, but then the business carries on. It’s not like we go, ‘Oh that’s it, it’s over.’

“The cameras leave… and then we are going to knuckle down and we have got to get this thing working.”

He added: “It’s business-led, and the TV just has to follow along.”

When speaking about the prospect of future series of Richard Hammond’s Workshop, its star said: “Watch it please, and then I can make another one, because we’ve got the hang of doing it now!” 

During his chat with Chris, Richard explained why he tends "to stand very close to people." Find out more on Virgin Radio's TikTok.

Richard Hammond’s Workshop series two premieres on Discovery+ today.

For more great interviews listen to  The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky, weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or  catch up on-demand here.