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21st Nov 2023

BBC pulls Top Gear after Freddie Flintoff crash

Charlie Herbert

Top Gear pulled following Freddie Flintoff accident

The BBC has ‘decided to rest the UK show’

The BBC has announced that Top Gear will not return for the “foreseeable future” after host Freddie Flintoff was seriously injured in a crash during filming.

Last year, Flintoff was was behind the wheel while shooting an episode of the BBC motoring show at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome in Surrey when the accident happened.

The England cricket legend had been driving an open-topped three-wheel Morgan Super 3 car when the vehicle flipped and slid along the track at high speed.

He wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time and suffered serious facial injuries, along with a broken rib.

Following the incident, the BBC announced that filming for the 34th series had been cancelled, and apologised to Flintoff.

In a statement on Tuesday, the broadcaster confirmed it had “decided to rest the UK show.”

Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff had presented Top Gear alongside Chris Harris, left, and Paddy McGuinness, right, since 2019 (Vincent Dolman/BBC)

The BBC added it “remains committed to Freddie, Chris and Paddy 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.”

Flintoff had largely been absent from the public eye since the accident, but earlier this year, he appeared in public for the first time since the crash when he joined the England cricket team setup for a match against New Zealand in Cardiff.

The former England all-rounder had visible scars on his face.

Flintoff appeared in public in September in his role as mentor to the England team before their One Day International match against New Zealand (Getty)

His 16-year-old son had revealed in the aftermath of the crash that his dad was lucky to be alive.

The BBC reached a reported £9m settlement with Flintoff. This will not be funded by the license fee as BBC Studios is a commercial arm of the broadcaster.

The studios launched an external investigation into the incident which was concluded in March this year but will not be published.

A separate investigation by the the Health and Safety Executive found no evidence of serious failings by BBC Studios.

In a statement on the Health and Safety Review of the show, BBC Studios said: “The independent Health and Safety production review of Top Gear, which 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.”

“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.”

Flintoff has hosted alongside motoring journalist Chris Harris, 48, and comedian Paddy McGuinness, 50, since 2019.

During his cricket career, Flintoff played 79 Tests for England, taking 226 wickets and scoring 3,845 runs. He played a key part in the side’s Ashes victories in 2005 and 2009, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest all-rounders the game has ever seen.

Related links:

Top Gear star Freddie Flintoff’s horror crash happened at ‘only 22mph’

Freddie Flintoff set to return to TV after being pictured following horror crash

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