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Richard Hammond's Miracles of Nature

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You have to admit, it's an intriguing title. Just what sort of 'miracles' exactly? And what on Earth could they possibly have to do with 'The Hamster'?

At least I hope that's what you're thinking. Because otherwise I've wasted the last 12 months of my life searching out unusual science stories from around the globe and turning them into three one-hour documentaries for BBC1 that absolutely nobody's going to watch. Which would be bad. At least for me and Richard. Because this is the type of blend of wildlife, technology, adventure, stunts and humour we've always wanted to watch - and make. And I'll tell you why.

I've been equally obsessed by both nature and technology for as long as I can remember - and I'm pretty sure Richard feels the same - but it's not often these days you come across science stories where every single element about them is just so damn unexpected.

Who knew, for instance, that a harbour seal could 'feel' the size, shape, speed and direction of an object that had passed by 30 seconds earlier without even seeing or hearing it? Or that that remarkable ability would end up creating a 10-ton military truck capable of driving itself? And who would have thought that when giraffes bend down to drink the blood pressure in their heads gets so strong their heads should explode? Or that the way giraffes manage to stop that unfortunate event occurring is directly responsible for a flying suit that can stop fighter pilots passing out at the controls? Not me. Not until I started this job anyhow.

At heart, these three shows are about taking inspiration from the natural world and turning it into something to enrich our own lives. It's all part of what scientists call 'bio-mimetics' - literally mimicking the very best that biology has to offer. And although humans have been copying nature ever since Leonardo da Vinci looked up to the skies and drew his first flying machine it's only in the last 10 years that bio-mimetics has really come into its own.

So new science, new stories, what's not to like? For me it was a dream project. But for Richard, well... his role was slightly more... how shall we put it? Tricky. Because, for him, bringing these stories to life meant leaping off a 500-metre high South African cliff, getting buried alive in a Californian gold mine; attempting to talk to a rattlesnake by telephone, and being submerged in a glass tank filled with strange eel-like creatures with the power to slime.

It's to his credit that, not only did he come through all those tests smiling, he still thinks this is the type of television he wants to make. And that, perhaps, is the most intriguing thing of all.

Graham Booth is the series producer and director of Richard Hammond's Miracles of Nature which begins on Monday 5 November at 9.00pm on BBC1.

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