'The Great Escapists' stars Richard Hammond and Tory Belleci reveal how to survive on a desert island in their new Amazon Prime show

The Great Escapists Richard Hammond Tory Belleci
The Great Escapists: Richard Hammond and Tory Belleci (left) have to survive on Pacific island. (Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

The Great Escapists will see former Top Gear star Richard Hammond and Mythbusters presenter Tory Belleci play exaggerated versions of themselves in Amazon Prime’s new six-part challenge series. 

The premise of The Great Escapists is that the famous pair find themselves marooned on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean after a fishing trip goes wrong. But rather than being satisfied with basic survival and simply designing things to help them escape, the duo end up salvaging whatever materials they can find on the island and set about building enormous inventions, from tanks to cars and even a giant lighthouse.

We caught up with The Great Escapists Richard Hammond and Tory Belleci to find out more about their extreme adventure…

'The Great Escapists' Richard Hammond and Tory Belleci explain how it wasn’t just their survival skills that were pushed to the limit

"To be honest in The Great Escapists we dealt with the boring stuff like water and shelter pretty quickly," says Richard. "Then we dealt with the more important stuff, like what are we going to do, how are we going to entertain ourselves and are we going to kill each other!"

But while Tory’s creations were designed to help them escape, Richard ended up turning the island into his own luxury playground, complete with a beer cooler, an automatic fish catcher and electricity to power his phone.

"I really wanted to get off this island and I thought Richard had my back but as things progressed I started realising this guy might not actually want to leave, so I might be stuck with him for a long time," explains Tory.

Richard Hammond and Tory Belleci reveal the creations they made on 'The Great Escapists'

Richard Hammond The Great Escapists.

Can Richard Hammond get off the island in this strange flying contraption he builds in The Great Escapists? (Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

"We created our own world and it was critical that the science was rigorous and true," says Richard. "Everything had to be bigger, better, brighter and bolder and that definitely applied to the builds. They were huge and a lot of the time we weren’t sure they would work.

"There’s a moment when we finally solve hydropower and the big waterwheel we built works, so we’re both dancing around on the beach going berserk. That wasn’t acting - it really was awesome."

Tory adds: "There were moments when we’d look at each other and go ‘what are we doing?’ We’re building this ridiculous machinery, testing it, crashing it and wrecking it,’   


How 'The Great Escapists' experienced some hair-raising moments during the seven weeks filming the show

The Great Escapists: Richard Hammond and Tory Belleci on their desert island.

The Great Escapists: Richard Hammond and Tory Belleci on their desert island. (Image credit: Amazon Prime. Video)

"We were on a raft about half a mile off the island and we jumped off it and were treading water when the boat captain shouts, shark!" says Tory. "I saw this giant shadow underneath us and leapt into the boat like a dolphin. It was only then I heard someone say: ‘It’s only a whale shark, which isn't a maneater thankfully!'"

Richard adds: "He shot out of the water like a missile leaving a submarine – I thought he’d clear the boat rather than land in it," ‘But there was a possibility of death at all times."

When can we watch 'The Great Escapists' on Amazon Prime Video?

The six 40-minute episodes of The Great Escapists starring Richard Hammond and Tory Belleci will be available worldwide on Amazon Prime Video from Friday 29 January. 

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.