Richard Hammond builds a planet — Lola
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Richard Hammond builds a planet

Design & Concept
About This Project

In this, the second BBC Scotland series featuring Richard Hammond, he brings together elements and forces to create first a planet, then an entire universe – from a platform atop a two-mile high tower in the Nevada desert.

With artist John Kennedy we designed everything from the tower and platform to the sequence boards. We explored placing the tower in the Utah Salt Flats and in a city location (New York and Las Vegas were on the cards). Eventually we settled in the Nevada desert, partly because the presenter could do any demonstrations and experiments at the base of the tower and partly because Top Gear is (was) quite demanding on a presenter’s schedule – if you only have a few days of his time, best keep him in one place. Building a planet and a galaxy from scratch – from particles of dust to the entire universe, we needed a virtual studio large enough to convey a sense of enormous scale. We ended up building 40,000 square miles of CG terrain to match the location shots. Viewed from the tower, it gave us the world’s biggest Planetarium to play with.