Ham is a world famous chimpanzee, who, according to Karl, sometime ages ago went into space and successfully landed on the moon. Karl maintains he died tragically after the end of his chimponaut career left him severely depressed, resulting in suicide. The fascinating tale of man's (monkey's) triumph over nature was told by Karl Pilkington as part of Monkey News on the very first podcast he ever did with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.
One Little Leg for Monkey...
Ham was engaged in a rigorous training regime before he piloted the craft. He was put in "one of those little capsules you get" and trained to take commands. He was trained using Pavlov's tried and tested techniques of animal conditioning. He was told to hit certain buttons at certain times and was given bananas as encouragement when it carried out a correct operation during the pre-launch tests. Ham was also taking commands via headset in preparation for the big day. There was a machine built into the rocket which would dispense bananas should Ham do as requested by mission command. Ham launched the rocket (using the green button) and upon reaching space hit the left button and proceeded to the moon. When it got there it did whatever it did and hit reverse to safely land back on earth. The journey was a success and as a result the next time it was the turn of man. Ham however, as evident by the way he looked wanted to go again but was unable. Heart-broken and distraught, Ham committed suicide.
Ricky and long-time fans were glad to see Karl hadn't put any more effort into researching his Monkey News stories in the transition from radio to podcast and of course questioned and dismissed Karl's story as nonsense. However, in Karl's defense, a video was found and uploaded to YouTube showing documentary footage from the Discovery Channel that appeared to show a chimpanzee (named "Ham") operating a training device complete with left button and banana dispenser. The story became an instant classic amongst fans of the show and on top of much praise and hilarity it inspired many animations from fans, one of which (from Pilkipedia's own Catfood) was mentioned by Ricky Gervais in his blog.