Top Gear not returning for ‘foreseeable future’ after Freddie Flintoff crash

BBC said it knows ‘resting the show will be disappointing news for fans’

Jacob Stolworthy
Wednesday 22 November 2023 10:47 GMT
Freddie Flintoff's Top Gear co-star provides update on former cricketer after crash

Top Gear will not be returning for the “foreseeable future”, following a horror crash that left host Andrew Flintoff seriously injured.

Production of the hugely popular motoring show has been halted since the former England cricket captain suffered a horrific crash while filming last year at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome.

Flintoff was left with significant facial injuries and was understood to have been lucky to have survived. After the incident, Flintoff’s son Corey reportedly said his father was “lucky to be alive” and described it as a “pretty nasty crash”.

At the time, the corporation said it would pause production as it would be “inappropriate” to continue.

Last month, it was reported that Flintoff had agreed a financial settlement with the BBC worth £9m.

Now, following a health and safety review, the BBC has said it will “rest” the show for an indefinite amount of time.

The BBC said: “Given the exceptional circumstances, the BBC has decided to rest the UK show for the foreseeable future.

“The BBC remains committed to Freddie, Chris [Harris] and Paddy [McGuinness], who have been at the heart of the show’s renaissance since 2019, and we’re excited about new projects being developed with each of them.

“We will have more to say in the near future on this. We know resting the show will be disappointing news for fans, but it is the right thing to do.”

“All other Top Gear activity remains unaffected by this hiatus including international formats, digital, magazines and licensing.”

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Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff on ‘Top Gear’
Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff on ‘Top Gear’ (BBC/Lee Brimble)

The UK show is currently sold to more 150 territories and there are 11 local format versions including in the US, France and Finland.

BBC Studios previously said a health and safety production review of Top Gear, which did not cover the accident but instead looked at previous seasons, found that “while BBC Studios had complied with the required BBC policies and industry best practice in making the show, there were important learnings which would need to be rigorously applied to future Top Gear UK productions.”

A statement added: “The report includes a number of recommendations to improve approaches to safety as Top Gear is a complex programme-making environment routinely navigating tight filming schedules and ambitious editorial expectations – challenges often experienced by long-running shows with an established on and off screen team.

“Learnings included a detailed action plan involving changes in the ways of working, such as increased clarity on roles and responsibilities and better communication between teams for any future Top Gear production.”

There was a separate investigation into Flintoff’s crash, which was concluded in March of this year; those findings will not being published.

In September, father-of-four Flintoff was photographed for the first time in public since the crash and had visible facial injuries as he joined up with the England cricket squad for their one-day international series against New Zealand.

Freddie Flintoff pictured on 8 September
Freddie Flintoff pictured on 8 September (Getty Images)

He has since made a gradual return to the public eye and, last week, it was announced Flintoff has been appointed as head coach of the Northern Superchargers in The Hundred, replacing ex-England wicketkeeper James Foster.

The Ashes-winning sportsman and Take Me Out host McGuinness joined Harris from the 27th series of the BBC Two show in the main presenting line-up.

Additional reporting by Agencies

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