Car Blog

Review: Richard Hammond’s Workshop

I had started a blog post summarising some of the online car related content that I like to watch on a fairly regular basis. However, that turned out rather time consuming and a tad clunky, so I’ll save that for another time. In the meantime, thanks to reruns of Richard Hammond’s Workshop on both DMAX and Quest, I’ve been able to watch a large chunk of this series, so I’d thought I type out my thoughts.

Richard Hammond has fulfilled a life long dream of setting up his own car restoration business, called The Smallest Cog, and the TV show follows the story of setting up the business alongside Neil, Anthony, and Andrew Greenhouse. Originally aired on subscription on-demand service Discovery Plus, the programme is now being shown on Discovery’s free-to-air outlets Quest and DMAX. So far, I’ve seen the first series, and I’m currently part way through the second.

Generally, the show is a good one, and covers various angles as far apart as the challenges of running a business, to an insight into the life at home of Richard Hammond his immediate family. There are also insights into how cars are repaired and restored, but to a lesser degree than shows such as ‘Car S.O.S.’ or ‘Wheeler Dealers’. The multi-subject nature of the programme does seem to work well, but I do wonder if the show is a little indecisive. At times, there seems to be an element of flip flopping between trying to be a programme about the new business, or trying to be a behind the scenes look at the life of Richard Hammond.

Unlike, ‘Top Gear’ and ‘The Grand Tour’, we see a much more relaxed form of Richard Hammond without the bickering and ‘cocking about’ encouraged by Clarkson and May. Not say I don’t enjoy the entertainment that the trio produce, but it’s equally nice to see Richard Hammond in a more natural environment.

Each episode of Richard Hammond’s Workshop has a run time of around 45 minutes as shown on Quest and DMAX. At this length, the show seems to work very well. Episode don’t feel like they drag on for an eternity, and it’s a comfortable watch. I don’t tend to binge watch, but if I’ve got a few episodes recorded on my Humax Freeview set-top box, watching a pair back to back is very comfortable.

Overall, perhaps featuring a little more of the mechanical processes would be an improvement to the show, but the balance generally feels right. That being said, the show lacks enough “wow factor” to tempt me to subscribe to Discovery Plus on its own. Scores on the doors, 7 out of 10, and is something that I will continue to watch.