Richard Hammond Builds A Planet

“Big things have small beginnings.”

Richard Hammond Builds A Planet

Personally, I wouldn’t trust Richard Hammond to build a Lego tower, but there was just something so delightfully science fiction-y about this programme, in which everyone’s favourite disaster-prone motoring presenter scales a two-mile high (although, unfortunately, fictional) tower in order to Build an Earthlike Planet.

I can only assume Magrathea is still closed for business.

Let’s start, as always, with the good points. The CGI is truly impressive, as Hammond apparently creates lightning from clouds of mini rocks and stops meteor showers with a flick of his hand – a somewhat terrifying prospect, if it were real.

However, all together now, a programme cannot survive by CGI alone, and there’s certainly not much else to redeem this one. Mainly it appears to be an excuse for Hammond to do stupid things like take coffee granules on a zero-gravity flight and make idiotic remarks on travelling in a lift to the bottom of the world’s deepest mine – all in the name of science, of course. And no amount of (clumsy) editing can conceal the fact that Hammond would rather not talk to ordinary people, although he appeared to be rather pleased with Buzz Aldrin.

The worst thing about Richard Hammond Builds A Planet, however, is the fact that it doesn’t really tell us anything that isn’t immediately obvious. “Our planet didn’t just pop into existence,” says the Hamster earnestly. No! Really? How on Earth did you work that one out? Later, we are told that the young Earth could not have cooled down while meteorites were striking it, “so the meteorites must be stopped,” explains our presenter, performing the associated bit of CGI wizardry, and moving straight on to “Now the Earth is cool…”

Wait, exactly how did you stop those meteorites again? In real life, I mean? Are you telling us that the Earth literally was created by a madman waving his hands about?

In that case, can we have Slartibartfast back, please?

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