Racing Legends (2012) s02e02 Episode Script

Graham Hill

1 I'm Jeremy Irons, actor and lifelong admirer of fast cars and the people who drive them.
David Coulthard, on my life! I want to share my passion by bringing to life the career of one of the greatest racers of all time.
Graham Hill.
He was charismatic, fearless, a showman and above all, he was a champion.
Well, well, well.
To help me understand how his brilliance enabled him to capture the hearts of race fans and the British public, I'm going to get behind the wheel myself of the cars he drove to glory.
I'll discover what it took to survive in a racing era when disaster was never far away.
And what that was like for his family.
It's a story of life and death in the fast lane.
And I'm going to experience it from the driver's seat.
'The spinning wheel of fortune as cars and drivers make their entrance, 'former World Champion Jack Brabham driving a Lotus Climax.
' I love cars and racing - I always have.
'Of the two BRM, one was driven by Graham Hill.
' As a young boy, some of my fondest memories involve the thrilling sense of freedom and adventure they conjured up.
'Now hold on to your hats.
' From I suppose about the age of ten, the names of Fangio and Graham Hill would be imprinted on one's brain.
'Graham Hill driving the BRM in great style.
' I mean, he had the little thin moustache and the great hair and he had a wicked smile.
He made it all look so easy.
But now, I've come to realise things rarely are, so I want to find out more.
Somewhere in the middle, when he's in that car with another 24 cars behind him, what is it that makes you win? What is it that makes you a champion? And he WAS a champion.
Twice at Formula 1, plus winner of the Indy 500 in America, and at the end of his career, Le Mans, too.
Racing's Triple Crown! No-one had done that before - no-one's done it since.
Incredible! My first stop is to meet someone uniquely qualified to talk about Graham.
Jeremy, how are you doing? His son, Damon.
Also, of course a world champion.
It's extraordinary to meet the son of the man that I want to find out about.
So you've got an interest in him? Well, I have.
I mean, I'm very interested because in your dad's day, it seemed to be the quality of life - what you did, what you filled with it, and it was full of risk and difficulty and full of uncertainty.
But nevertheless, I wonder whether he didn't live eight times the life that some people live in that time because he followed his dream.
I think after the war, I think my dad and all those racing drivers of that era were held in awe because they were doing something so dangerous.
And so the skill they had in order to survive it was seen as somehow extra special because they weren't just driving a car, they were keeping themselves from death.
And Do you think life was brighter because of that? I think perhaps they appreciated every minute they had.
Graham Hill, born in 1929, grew up with a fascination for all things mechanical.
And on leaving school became an apprentice engineer in London.
He was athletic and highly competitive and rowed at competition level.
Then, at 25, his life took a dramatic turn.
There was an advert that said you could drive a racing car at Brands Hatch and I think it was about five quid to join and five shillings a lap.
So I went down and had a quid's with which entitled me to four laps.
And it was those four laps that the bug bit.
It was then that I decided this is what I wanted to do.
And he pursued his new career single-mindedly, even interrupting his honeymoon when the chance of a couple of laps at Goodwood came up.
Graham did what he wanted to do.
He didn't ask me.
He told me.
The 1950s were a very exciting time in motor racing.
It was just after the war.
Teams had started reassembling themselves.
He got someone to lend him a car and raced in club events.
He was good at it, well, reasonably good at it.
It was what he wanted to do.
Betty's income as a secretary helped sustain Hill's dream.
Until, in 1959, he got his big break.
As a driver, with the sport's serial underachiever .
the British Racing Motor's team, BRM.
'BRM made its first public appearance in 1949.
'It was the motor industry's effort to put this country 'back on the Grand Prix map.
' For years, BRM had been something of a national joke.
'BRM, the first-ever all-British racing car and was laughed off 'when it failed to finish in 15 of its first 22 races.
' They had a lot of people that thought they knew what they were doing and not too many people did.
All we need now is a little longer time to develop it and then we hope to show the constant what we are really can do.
Snap, crackle and flop.
The BRM headlines.
The car was not very reliable but we were very hopeful and we kept thinking, "Well, it must be better next year.
" Then the organisation took over, so keeping the men alive.
And it was but after years of disappointment, things began to improve.
In the V8, they developed an engine that was more reliable and delivered more power for its capacity than ever before.
And in Hill, they had a driver of massive potential.
As soon as Graham Hill got in that car, he came out smiling.
And you didn't see Graham Hill smile very often.
This is it, this is a good car.
'Graham Hill in the new BRM, now leads.
' I could see that he was improving but he never struck me as a natural driver.
His was sheer determination and guts.
Not like Stirling.
It's praise for him because obviously it's easy to do well, if you've got a God-given gift to drive motorcars.
But if he lacked natural ability, he made for up for it with engineering know-how and charm, persuading the team to work extra hard on his car.
He virtually lived at the factory in '60 and '61, so it was a welding, a coming together of the driver and the team.
So, with a car capable of winning, Hill was determined to make his mark.
In April '62, he arrived at Goodwood to take on the king of British racing, Stirling Moss.
I would hate to think what it was we were talking about but probably nothing to do with racing.
We were probably talking about crumpet, actually.
'Off they go on the 42 laps for the Glover Trophy.
' What happened that afternoon changed racing history.
'It was in the 35th lap that disaster overtook Moss.
'Stirling had gone slap off the track.
'While he was being taken to hospital, 'the race continued at a sporting pace.
'Graham Hill in a BRM was the winner.
' It was Hill's first Formula One victory.
From then on, the new boy had to be taken seriously.
I'm in Bourne, Lincolnshire, home of BRM and I'm going to meet three men who know as much about Hill and the cars which were to propel him to glory as anyone alive.
Here we have the main offenders.
I'm Jeremy.
And Pat.
And not Harry! LAUGHTER Where's the car? Where is the car? Now then.
Tucked away in the workshop.
Tucked away.
Let's have a look.
Come on, let's have a look.
Very good.
This was to be my first sight of the incredible P57, with its V8 engine, complete with its iconic eight stacked vertical exhaust system.
Sketched on countless schoolbooks including mine, from that day to this.
Well, well, well.
It's so small.
Compared to a modern car.
Now, what is special about it? Why is it such a fantastic car? Why was the first one to be successful? Well, probably because we had the new V8 engine.
I personally built this engine so I do remember it, the very first Did you? Yes.
And how long would the process of building this engine, testing it, getting it racing, how long does that process take? I think about a year overall.
A good year.
How much of that time would Graham be around, nagging you to do this and that? Too much.
Was he a perfectionist? Yes, he was.
Was he? He was, yes.
He had his own book.
Every race he want to, he used to check through his book to tell you what he wanted.
I'm not going to drive it on.
Mind you, this is how I start mine.
It was here, at Bourne, over 50 years ago that John, Dick, Pat and Graham loaded up their car on a mission that was to take them across three continents, to nine Grand Prix circuits.
Their aim, to be the first British-designed car, driven by a British driver, to win the Formula One world championship.
What are you carrying, horses? That's right.
600 of them.
'Windy weather on this circuit by the sea.
' 'Good luck, Graham.
' As the season began in Holland, one man stood in their way.
The opposition in 1962 was arguably the greatest driver who has ever lived, Jim Clark in the Lotus.
Clark, Graham Hill Jimmy Clark was natural.
But poor Graham had to work so hard at it.
But by God, when he worked, he really worked hard.
There is a terrific duel going on.
For race after race, Clark and Hill fought against each other.
'This is Grand Prix racing at its best.
' If you're going to talk about sheer speed, Jim Clark was in a class of his own.
Jim Clark took the lead right from the word go.
Throughout the season, the two men jostled for the top spot.
He is now well and truly in the running for the drivers' world championship.
Matching each other, blow for blow, race for race.
By the time they reached the season climax in South Africa, both drivers had three victories.
Whoever won this would be world champion.
And now, I am going to get the chance to experience a little of what Hill felt as he prepared for that decisive race the 1962 world championships.
Although I have done a little racing, I've never been in a Formula One car and it's a prospect both thrilling and daunting.
I am sort of like a baby about to be born into the world and I'm yet to learn everything but everything is going to be unexpected.
I am glad to see the surface is good, it's dry.
But I don't know this circuit so I'm really looking forward to finding out about it and then seeing what this monster is like.
The tempo is hotting up and the mechanics realise how much is dependent upon their meticulous work.
And just like Graham, I've got the best mechanics in the business to help me.
So this must bring back memories.
We've got to win it to clinch the championship.
What did you think of his chances? Not very high, really.
Really? I wouldn't put a bet on it.
Listen, I'm going to get I this now.
All right.
I've got some tyre levers.
Take the weight on your arms.
Weight's on my arms, feet going through Yep.
ENGINE REVS INTO LIFE All ready for the start.
Jim Clark has made the better getaway, Graham using perhaps a bit too much clutch.
Feels so snug in here! Ahead of the 17 starters lay 82 laps - nearly 200 miles of seat-of-the-pants racing.
Yes, I think that's very good for a beginner, yes.
The Lotus continues to pull away, but Graham does not let up.
He's using his well-known stick ability.
For lap after lap, Clark maintained a comfortable lead.
No-one could catch him.
All eyes are on Jim Clark, the potential champion.
The gear changes seem to be OK now.
He's getting the hang of it.
I'm in fourth, so I'm going to keep going round at this speed.
Both the Lotus and the BRM are being driven meticulously and to their capacity.
Then on the 60-second lap, Hill had one of those things essential to all champions - a lucky break.
Jim Clark pluming a great screen of smoke behind the Lotus.
Nicest little puff of white smoke I can recall seeing.
Jims Clark's wonderful drive is over.
All Graham had to do was to keep his head, listen to the car and not lose his nerve.
Chequered flag.
BRM have done it at last.
Mission accomplished.
Graham Hill was the first British driver to win a World Championship in a British designed and built car.
Well done.
Well done! Well, I was very slow.
I drove a little bit like my granny, I think.
We didn't like to say that, but Your granny must have been good.
What was wonderful was when on a couple of corners, I actually began to just drift it a little bit.
I thought, "Oh, that's what it'll do.
I see.
" Do you want another 20 laps? I do.
I don't know what I I had no There's no speedometer on here, I've no idea what I was doing.
I was trying to show off on this bit because I knew you were watching and I thought, "I can't let you down.
" You were very good, very good.
I can see how you could get completely hooked on this - fantastic.
Really fantastic, and to think of your man actually sitting in it and doing the magic that he did in that cockpit and the fact that Graham understood the engine You've got to think of your speed, you've got to watch your dials, you've got the road, the road surface, the cornering You've got a million things to think about AND you've got to win.
An extraordinary piece of motor racing history.
For Hill, World Champion at 33, life would never be the same again.
Racing was entering its Golden Age and it had found its leading man.
Graham had an image right from the start.
The moustache, the slicked back hair This very engaging rogue, if you like.
His military bearing, the out-thrust jaw, and I think that combination of things just made the general public fall in love with him.
There are some people who get the public's imagination and some people who do not, and Graham Hill was certainly very much one of the former.
ANNOUNCER: Graham Hill.
APPLAUSE Graham, what would you say is Jim Clark's most outstanding characteristic as a racing driver? Well, I think getting across the line first.
LAUGHTER And there was one race above all others that epitomised this.
The Monaco Grand Prix.
It was here among the yachts, gamblers and beautiful people that in the '60s Hill won the grandest of all the Grand Prix three years in a row and five times in all.
The principality took Graham to its heart.
He was welcome everywhere .
from the harbourside drinking dens to the gin palaces bobbing in the Med 13 quid a bottle.
For a bottle of champagne? Yes.
and even for tea with Princess Grace in the palace gardens.
On meeting Graham Hill you like him, you can't help but do that.
Prince Rainier once said something quite nice about him which was that he said unlike most Englishmen that are a bit stiff and a bit sort of cool, my dad had a Mediterranean character.
I liked that, it was a good description, I think.
And when not racing, he enjoyed a little flutter at the casino table too.
I've come to find out why it meant so much to him.
And I've enlisted a guide, more qualified than most to help me.
He's lived here for 19 years and won its Grand Prix twice.
David Coulthard, on my life! Welcome to Monaco.
It's great to meet you, a champion.
You're a legend.
Great to meet you.
Well, we may be in Monaco, but I thought we would have a wee whisky because Not Scotch whisky, is it? It is Scotch whisky.
I know we are here to talk about Graham Hill and I think from that era they probably had a wee whisky before they started a Grand Prix.
Let's give the man a toast.
To Graham Hill.
To Graham Hill.
It's extraordinary that he won here where to be a personality and win, it must be great because you've got the royalty, you've got the glamour, you've got the girls.
I should imagine Graham adored that, didn't he? I think so.
If you look back through the eras of Formula One - Graham Hill, Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart James Hunt.
James Hunt, of course.
People tend to look at James Hunt as a sort of classic playboy racer, but actually, he was only following in the big footsteps of what Graham had already laid down in embracing that celebrity that came with being the winner and making Monaco his own.
You did the same thing.
I mean, you won here.
Is it best to win here? Is it the most fun? It is, it still is.
This is the glamour in the Grand Prix calendar.
It makes it so much more special and you have the sense of the history and one of the proudest moments in my life is that I was able to sit with Prince Rainier who had sat there with Graham Hill, who had sat there with Fangio and it was a humbling experience to be accepted into their club.
Yep, I understand that.
I couldn't go to Monaco without driving the circuit that Hill had made his own but the best time to do that is when the roads are empty.
4am and I'm waiting for a Formula One legend to arrive.
I wonder what sort of fancy wheels he? Oh.
Morning, David.
How are you? I'm good.
How's this, then? Everyone seems to have gone to bed.
It's quiet.
It is the perfect time to discover Monte Carlo.
No power steering.
No, afraid not, but it gets lighter as you go quicker.
Monaco, at only two miles, is the shortest but most technically demanding of all the Formula One circuits.
So the start line We are through the start line We are now through the start line.
This is how it would have looked at the time.
They didn't put up barriers, they put a couple of bales No straw bales? Well, on that signpost there they probably put a straw bale in front of it.
As if that was going to do much if you crashed at 150mph! Up the hill, changing into fourth gear, trying to straighten out the hill - it's a bit of a wiggle-woggle.
What sort of speed up this hill? He'd be doing well over 130, 140mph as he comes over the rise, breaking hard all they way into Casino Square.
Why? Why was he so suited to this circuit? In terms of driving Monte Carlo quickly, you need to know the science of the vehicle that you're driving.
That's probably where someone like Graham Hill Those who were more than just drivers, those who understood engineering, they could look at a corner - "What is the mechanical engineering going to allow me to do? "What is the tyre pressure going to allow? "What sort of grip am I going to get?" Into Mirabeau, down into second gear.
Short burst of acceleration.
Up a gear before breaking into the hairpin, the slowest part of the Grand Prix circuit.
This would have been a very important corner for Graham because exiting this probably around 50mph.
But this sets you up Into the tunnel.
Imagine the cars of that time, the engine noise would have been bouncing off the ceiling and the big decision would have been for him - "Can I take the middle of the tunnel flat out or not?" Out of the tunnel into a blaze of sunshine and we're in fourth gear.
We reached a high speed on this particular part of the circuit.
And then the chicane coming up? Yes, you would have been hard on the breaks, down to around third gear.
Probably would have taken that at around 60, 70mph.
and then he would accelerate hard up towards Tabac corner.
So it's back on his right, close to the wall and accelerating away up towards the Gasworks hairpin.
This is Rascasse Corner.
It would have been called the Gasworks Corner at that time and this would have been an opportunity for the drivers to then accelerate hard out onto the start-finish straight.
There's nothing straight about it, it's like a banana.
We're back onto the start-finish straight again.
Monte Carlo really is redolent of Graham Hill.
You can almost You can almost feel him here, enjoying the adulation, being recognised as a winner.
And deservedly so, because it's a difficult course .
and one that clearly suited him above all others.
I think a bit of him must still be here.
Despite a hat trick of Monaco victories and the World Championship, in 1966, Hill was still hungry for more.
To completely establish himself as one of the world's top drivers, he sought out another challenge, 4,000 miles away in America.
America's most famous auto race, The Indianapolis 500, begins.
The Indy 500 was said to be the largest single-day sporting event in the world.
500 miles round an oval circuit at speeds pushing 200mph in front of a quarter of a million spectators.
It was the biggest, brashest and richest race in the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, former World Champion and here at Indianapolis in 1966, preceding his name is the word rookie.
How do you feel about it? Terrible.
I personally don't feel yet prepared for the race and I think it will be an interesting experience for me.
He was certainly right about that.
Less than a minute later, disaster.
It was the world's most dangerous race.
Pre '66, 13 men had lost their lives and many more been injured in pursuit of glory there.
Belting along the track, 33 cars, 33 of the best drivers.
Undeterred, Hill and 32 others took the starter's flag on the 30th of May.
Given the circuit, the speed, the lure of the prize and every driver's desire to win, what happened next was entirely predictable.
Oh, a massive upheaval of cars, tyres flying in every direction.
All hell let loose.
There were cars going everywhere.
I just got through and another fellow just hanging onto my tail and followed me through.
We just got out of the mess before the track went, "Whomp," and closed up.
It was almost as though we were like aan orange pip.
The smoke is billowing now.
AJ Foyt, the legendary Indianapolis driver, was seen to be climbing the fence at one stage to get away from all the flying debris.
Lots of cars were involved.
Thankfully, nobody was injured, so it was quite an unsettling start to the race.
Has to be one of the worst accidents ever here at Indianapolis.
After all that carnage, it must have taken nerves of steel for Hill and the rest to line up again just 90 minutes later .
but that's what they did.
And three hours after that, only seven cars were still in the race.
And Hill's .
was first over the line.
Fantastic triumph.
To go there and to keep the car in one piece and so composed and to win as a rookie, fantastic achievement.
Hill was the first driver since 1927 to win at the first attempt.
His prize? $160,000 .
and the traditional quart of milk.
Daddy! Away from the turmoil of the track, he led a very different life as a comfortably affluent family man with Bette and their three children.
When he got home, you'd hear the door open, you'd hear the bag drop and you'd hear this whistle, which I'll try and SHE WHISTLES And you knew he was home and this smile would come on his face.
It was just, "I'm home.
I'm back, guys, lets have some fun.
" He loved mischief, he loved children because they did anything and he thought it was funny.
And he himself was a bit mischievous and so I think he enjoyed us as children.
Bridget, Damon and I were just the apple of his eye.
I mean, we would just He'd just walk in and his whole face would change and you could that he just tell he booms love for us - all three of us.
It was lovely.
Hill had racing to thank for all this.
But try as he might, he couldn't stop the ever-present dangers of the track intruding upon this family idyll.
You knew when something awful had happened because the house would go quiet.
Nothing was really said, you weren't told someone had been killed, you overheard it We overheard it in conversations.
They were like little drops of poison, if you like, in our life, and then of course, part of your brain is thinking, "Wait a minute, my dad does that too!" As I was getting older, I could start to appreciate that this was something that affected my dad quite deeply.
But it didn't stop him.
As the next season began, the call of the track was once again irresistible.
# Well, I'm so tired of crying but I'm out on the road again I'm on the road again In 1967, he signed up to drive for Lotus as joint number one driver with his long-term sparring partner, Jim Clark.
Which if you think about that was pretty brave, because Jimmy was the great driver - he was the yard stick.
Shows Graham had a lot of confidence in himself that he was able to join what was by then Jimmy Clark's team.
# But I ain't going down that long lonesome road # All by myself I can't carry you, baby Both men were driving a new car - the Lotus 49 powered by a Ford Cosworth engine - undoubtedly the best car around.
It cost £100,000 to design the new Lotus Fords.
Number 5 is Jim Clark, number 6 is Graham Hill's.
And Graham pretty much held his own.
They were two drivers who were both worthy of being spoken of in the same breath.
Despite their history, as team mates, the charismatic Hill and the modest Clark became unlikely friends.
My dad was very fond of Jim Clark they were very yin and yang, one was loud and decisive, the other was nervous and quiet.
And I think they got on really well.
The atmosphere was very different in those days, the drivers would live in the same hotels, travel in the same aeroplanes, go to the same restaurants.
It's not like that any more.
Travelling the world as team mates strengthened their relationship.
And then of course, we got to Hockenheim in 1968 in April.
A relaxed and confident-looking Clark and Hill prepared for their next head-to-head in a non-championship Formula Two race.
The track was wet but not un-drivable.
Then on the fifth lap, it became clear something was wrong.
Clark had crashed.
No one really knows to this day what happened, but Hockenheim was a circuit which plunged through dense, dense, dense forest.
And for whatever reason, Jim Clark's Lotus flew off the circuit into the forest and he was killed.
It's the one thing that no one could have envisaged.
He was the safest driver.
Jackie Stewart said it was like the atomic bomb going off.
A stunned Graham searched among the wreckage for answers to explain the horrific death of his team mate, his rival, his friend.
Though it's very difficult to compare drivers from different eras, I think the record book would show he was one of greatest drivers that we, or anybody else that has followed motor racing, has ever seen.
And this was where Graham Hill stepped into the breach.
And it was in the Lotus 49 that in 1968, Hill was to show the world that he was more than just a racing champion.
So this is it.
My God! This is the car.
You're going to drive this car.
It's a terrifying idea.
Just a month after Clark's death, Hill drove to victory in Spain.
And then at Monaco, the very next race - he did it again.
Massive, massive result for the team.
Hugely motivational.
It lifts them, lifts their spirits.
Suddenly, Lotus is able to believe that despite the darkest tragedy, there is a future, and it's Graham Hill.
Remarkably, by the time they reached Mexico for the season climax, Hill had dragged Lotus up from the deepest despair to within striking distance of both the team and the drivers' World Championship.
The men to beat were Denny Hulme and closest contender, Jackie Stewart.
Got a little bit of a surprise, maybe a treat for you.
Which is to have the honour of wearing the London Rowing Club colours crash helmet, which is The family crest! Yes.
Fantastic! Fantastic.
Quite frightened, actually.
I mean, this is a monster, this is a beast.
You'll love this.
This is going to be brilliant.
First of all, there are not that many people in the world who have ever been allowed to sit in it, let alone drive it.
Right, you are ready to go.
Almost 50 years ago, Hill revved up on the starting grid in the heat of Mexico City.
Right from the flag, Graham grabbed the lead.
Coming down into the chicane On lap five, Stewart passed Hill, taking the lead.
Keep wide on this corner.
Take it in at the end.
On the ninth lap, Hill retook it.
There we go.
Then a stroke of luck - Denny Hulme span off.
He was out of the race and the championship.
It was now between Hill and Stewart.
There's so many people who would give an arm and a leg to drive this car.
And here's me, a stupid old actor! It looks like the real thing.
That's my dad, you know, he's in the car and, er It's a very evocative sight.
With ten laps to go, Hill pulled clear from Stewart, who'd dropped to fifth with fuel pump trouble.
Now only engine failure or a crash stood between Hill and the World Championship.
That's fantastic, what a sight.
That is beautiful.
Hill wins the race and the championship with Colin Chapman's Lotus.
And it was Graham's leadership, Graham's charisma, his, "Come on chaps, let's get up off the ground "and get the job done" attitude, that kept Lotus at the top and enabled him to win his second World Championship.
An outstanding testimony to a truly outstanding man.
Thank you for this.
It kept me safe.
It's a great honour to drive in the Hill family helmet.
It's an honour for us, too.
Thanks, Jeremy.
'Hill was back where he wanted to be - at the top of the pile.
' But in the high-octane world of Formula 1, no one is king for long.
His reign came to an abrupt end in America in 1969.
On the 92nd lap his Lotus suddenly spun into the air at 150 mph, rolled over twice and Hill was thrown out with serious injuries to both legs.
I remember my mum coming into our bedroom and saying "I've got to go to America because Daddy's broken his legs.
" And I was thinking, "Broken his legs? How do you break your legs?" We had no idea, we were too young to understand.
"He's broken his legs?" They were unpleasant leg injuries because of the way they'd been inflicted, as he was half in, half out of the cockpit - really unpleasant.
Although Hill put a brave face on it, at 40 years old, his career looked to be over.
But that was not Graham Hill's style - he still thought he had some races left in him.
There was no way he was going to give up.
He was going to get better and start again.
Your first objective is to get back behind the wheel as soon as you can? Well, to get ready in time for next season, yes.
That was only five months away - an extraordinarily ambitious goal when it was not certain he would ever even walk unaided again.
Some of us wouldn't even go back to an office job after breaking both our legs, never mind getting back into a Formula 1 car! He faced surgery and months and months of gruelling physio.
Pull these toes up towards you.
Hold them up there, go on.
I'm having trouble lifting my own foot and she just goes with her left finger like that, you see, and down my foot goes.
I'm on the bars like this and I'm straining away and the sweat is standing out And straighten.
But he applied himself religiously to getting better again.
During the course of which he became even more of a public figure than he had been before.
He was called the most out "in patient" they had ever had! I mean, you couldn't tie him down.
Everybody loves a trier and the public adored his determination to soldier on.
APPLAUSE Oh! LAUGHTER Always forgetting! Well, I'm not quite used to these engines.
Anyway, Jackie, do you have any funny moments during the year that you could talk about? Not very many! LAUGHTER But behind the scenes, the solitary and spirit-sapping work continued.
'I want to get better.
'I want to get my legs working so I don't walk around like a Dalek.
' Because I'm fed up with hobbling round like this.
Really, it's a battle against myself which I am trying to win, at the moment.
But was this internal struggle, this desire to race again, heroic or misguided? Finally, on the 30th of January, Hill eased his damaged body back where he felt it belonged, into the seat of a Formula 1 car.
And on the first of March, just five months after the crash, he was at Heathrow.
Next stop South Africa, for the first race of the season.
He'd made it.
So off he went against everyone's advice.
If anyone had attempted to define his life the way .
and it didn't fit with the way he wanted it to be, then he just didn't listen.
Only champions like Hill could ever justify the enormous risks taken in pursuit of their dreams.
'The first race in the 1970 Grand Prix season, 'surely one of the most colourful circuits in the world 'and one of the most demanding.
' This was what all the hard work in recovery had been for.
Hill was determined to make an impact.
'A moment of truth for the man who many people reckoned would never drive again.
' MUSIC: "Voodoo Child" by Jimi Hendrix Graham's first race after his recovery - he wasn't really 100% fit again - a long way from it.
Ahead lay eighty laps - over 200 miles in the burning heat and dust.
He was in extreme pain during the whole race.
Imagine, driving with all the G forces that you get in Formula One, on corners, and the acceleration and the braking.
'Into the straight - a blur at nearly 180mph.
' 'Ten drivers - including legendary figures 'like Surtees, McLaren, and Ickx and retired early.
'But still, Hill hung on in there.
'The chequered flag taken by Jack Brabham.
'But the crowd's heart belonged to Hill.
' There were grown men crying when Graham crossed the line.
He had a standing ovation because of the grit of his recovery.
'I just told everyone I'd just pop down there and give it a whirl 'and see how it is knowing full well that 'I was going to give it more than a whirl.
' He finished in a point-scoring sixth position.
That was the mark of the man.
Barely able to climb out of his car, Hill still had time to sort out his hair.
What a champion! It was an encouraging start but as the season unfolded, despite all his experience and guile, Hill was never able to repeat his former glories.
Many thought he would call it a day and retire.
It was fairly clear that Graham's best days were past him.
I would like to say how impressed I am at the way you can interview.
I would love you to retire from motor racing, taking up commentating and give me an easier time.
I remember Hatch walking from the front to the back of the grid when he drove for Brabham.
I said, 'How can you walk down here after having done what you've done?' He wasn't doing as well and people criticised him for it.
But Graham's attitude was 'I like it, mate.
I like the driving and I want to keep racing.
' And ten-out-of-ten for him for that.
In fact, far from taking his foot off the pedal, he entered one of the world's toughest endurance races.
Le Mans.
Le Mans is a gruelling race because there's extended periods of time at the wheel in a very dangerous situation.
1972, Hill was invited to join the French Matra Simca team, much to the surprise and disappointment of his co-driver Henri Pescarolo.
It didn't really seem like a logical choice to me.
It was such a dangerous racetrack, that for someone of a certain age, I didn't think he would want to take the risks.
'Leading the parade as they go past the pits 'and the pace car vanishes are the Matra Simcas, 'fighting to give France their first victory in 22 years 'and immediately Cevert and Pescarolo howl away.
' The French were desperate to end two decades of failure.
The team's strategy was to manoeuvre its star driver, Francois Cevert, into a position where he would win.
So if there was someone who wanted to go faster than the others, immediately there was a reaction in the pit-stops - "Slow down!" But Graham had other ideas.
The thought of playing second fiddle to anyone was simply not the way he did things.
'This is Graham Hill coming into the pits now.
'It looks as if Hill is going to get out.
'There's Pescarolo waiting there to take over.
' The moment when Graham Hill really made a difference was during the night when it was raining, thanks to his talent and his fighting spirit in the most dangerous conditions.
He was absolutely fantastic.
A series of lightning-fast night laps from Hill meant that on Sunday his car was positioned right on the tail of Matra's number one car.
'Now we see the Pescarolo Hill Matra 'but I am sure the Matra Simca team want a Frenchman to be first 'and perhaps the Frenchman they'd like to be first more than any other is Francois Cevert.
' But in the morning's confusion and exhaustion, suddenly everything changed for Cevert and his co-driver.
'Just look at the damage to the back wheels of Howden Ganley's 'Matra Simca number 14, the car he shared so bravely with Cevert.
'Certainly their lead has gone.
' All Hill and Pescarolo had to do now was keep out of trouble until 4.
00pm - the end of the race.
'There goes the flag.
'Superb drive by Henri Pescarolo and of course, his co-driver, Hill.
' 'When I won the race, I asked Graham Hill to forgive me, 'as I hadn't wanted to be his team-mate.
'I was completely wrong.
' I said, "Forgive me, I was stupid.
"And thank you, because you've done an excellent job.
" Formula 1 World Champion, The Indy 500 and now finally Le Mans - the Triple Crown was his.
Hill ascended to the ranks of the racing immortals.
He is the only guy in history who's ever done it.
Absolutely unique achievement.
No-one had done that before and no-one has done that since and I find it very hard to believe that anyone will ever do it again.
With his place among the all-time greats secure, he started his own team and in 1975, retired from racing.
'It was late last night when Hill's own Piper Aztec 'smashed into a screen of trees and burst into flames.
' Tragically, on 29 November 1975, Hill had been flying back from France when he crashed.
Five members of his team died alongside him.
The crash enquiry noted "Hill may have expected too much of his abilities, attempting to land in conditions of low visibility.
" How was it at 15 to get that news? Well, I was watching television.
Er, they said they'd reports of a possible plane crash near Elstree and I knew he was coming home that night, so Did your mum know? My mum was in the kitchen.
And what happened then? Um, I went to tell my mum that "Something possibly has happened".
And just as I got there, the phone went and it was a guy from the newspapers.
St Albans Abbey flowed over as a family came to mourn its husband and father.
He was so full of life and he loved his family and um, he loved his friends.
And people were very shocked.
'Graham Hill dominates the race.
'Leading this bunch, Graham Hill in the BRM.
'Watch him on the inside surging ahead.
' On this journey, I've glimpsed a little of the world Graham made his own and it's opened my eyes to what it takes to be a champion.
A true racing legend.
He was a man who followed his passion and who took enormous risks but the payback for that was that he must have had the time of his life.
"You lucky bugger" is what I'd say to him now!