'Top Gear's Richard Hammond: 'From Day One, If I Crash, Jeremy Has Laughed' (INTERVIEW)
This will mean lots and lots of cars, including tantalising glimpses of Lamborghinis, Ferraris and the like, as well as ones in a more achievable price range. But can these four-wheeled beasts be put through their paces without Germany's Nürburgring or Romania's Autostrada seen in the programme?
"There's an indoor race track, so people will be able to get behind the wheel and star themselves in a reasonably priced car," explains Hammond. "They'll be able to record laps, probably in better style than Jeremy (Clarkson), James (May) and myself" - who will also be on hand to present the live show.
There will no doubt be throngs at the event, testament to the enduring popularity of what started as a BBC2 speciality programme for confirmed motoring enthusiasts, but is now broadcast all over the world, making international stars of its three presenters.
How does Hammond feel about such global recognition?
"It's very strange filming in other countries," he reflects, "for example, driving through Nazareth last year hearing people shouting our names was just bizarre."
Hammond and his co-presenters were filming last year's Christmas special in the Middle East, on a mammoth expedition which saw them landed, quite literally, in northern Iraq and tracing the journey of the Three Wise Men to Jesus's fabled birthplace. It was a massive undertaking - what can we expect this year?
"We've just finished filming - in Mumbai this time," is pretty much all Hammond will give away. "We noticed there was a lack of trade between the UK and India, so it felt right to help forge some links."
And no doubt it will. Steve Coogan recently described Top Gear, on which he has been a guest twice, as "a stronger BBC voice abroad than the World Service". Is this something Hammond predicted?
"Not at all, and it wouldn't have worked if we had," he says. "All we set out to do ten years ago was make the best car show we possibly could. The minute we start trying to contrive it to be something else, I'm sure it will stop working."
The same applies to the chemistry between the truculent trio.
"It's never changed," reveals Hammond. "From day one, if Jeremy crashes into something, I will laugh, and I expect him to in return. You couldn't fake it, people would soon suss us out."
Top Gear Live runs at Docklands' Excel from 24-27 November. Richard Hammond will soon be appearing in his series, Crash Course, travelling the US and driving some of the country's toughest vehicles. The programme is produced by BBC Worldwide. And Top Gear At The Movies is now available on DVD - watch the trailer below: