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03rd Jul 2023

Ex-Top Gear host says Freddie Flintoff ‘decided life was more important’ than TV show after crash

Steve Hopkins

Freddie Flintoff decided “life is more important” than a TV programme following his horror Top Gear crash last year.

Presenter Angela Rippon – who presented the show for two years in 1997 – has shed light on how the former cricketer felt in the aftermath of the crash in December.

Flintoff was shooting for the BBC series at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome in Surrey when the crash happened and had to be airlifted to hospital.

He suffered broken ribs and facial injuries as a result of the smash, with his son, Corey, saying he was “lucky to be alive”.

The BBC later said the series would not go ahead as it “would be inappropriate”.

Rippon told The Sun: “I made a film with Freddie for the cancelled series.

“After his accident, I sent him a text saying, ‘Next time you want to go around the course a bit slower, just give me a call’.”

Rippon told the publication she felt “so sorry” for Flintoff and his co-presenters because they are “not professional drivers and are asked to do things that even professional drivers very often would find difficult”.

“I think Freddie and his family decided this was an ask and a task too far and his life is more important than a television programme.”

The BBC said after the crash: “We have sincerely apologised to Freddie and will continue to support him with his recovery,” the statement continued. “We understand this [halting the show] will be disappointing for fans, but it is the right thing to do, and we’ll make a judgement about how best to continue later this year.”

The BBC has said it will be conducting a health and safety review of the show.

The crash wasn’t the only one Flintoff was in, after joining Top Gear four years ago.

In 2019, he was just getting the hang of his new gig, when he lost control of a motorised trike at 124mph.

The sportsmen luckily walked away from the incident unscathed.

“I go to great lengths to make sure I do well in Top Gear drag races, but on this occasion, I went a few lengths too far,” Flintoff said afterwards.

“It will look more ridiculous than dangerous when you see it on TV.”

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