Top Gear has been axed: BBC says it will ‘rest’ motoring show ‘for the foreseeable future’ after horror crash almost killed host Freddie Flintoff.
The BBC announced today that Top Gear is to be rested for the ‘foreseeable future’ after host Freddie Flintoff was almost killed during a horrific accident last year.
Production on the hit motoring show has been halted since the former England cricket captain, 45, was taken to hospital after being injured in a crash on the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey in December 2022.
Following the accident, the BBC announced it would stop production of the show, to be co-presented by Take Me Out host Paddy McGuinness and automotive journalist Chris Harris, as it was felt it would be ‘inappropriate’, as well as It was also said that this would cause health harm. Security Review.
“Given the extraordinary circumstances, the BBC has decided to discontinue the UK show for the foreseeable future,” the BBC said in a statement.
‘The BBC is committed to Freddy, Chris and Paddy who have been at the heart of the show’s renaissance since 2019, and we are excited about the new projects we are developing with each of them.
Freddy Flintoff got his face ‘horribly’ scratched after driving a three-wheeled Morgan Super 3 on the Top Gear test track.
The Morgan Super 3 pictured has three wheels and an open top. Flintoff was traveling at 22 mph when he overturned
‘We will have more to say on this in the near future. We know that closing the show will be disappointing news for fans, but it is the right thing to do.
‘All other Top Gear activities including international formats, digital, magazines and licensing will be unaffected by this hiatus.’
The UK show is currently sold in over 150 territories and has 11 local format versions, including the United States, France and Finland.
Top Gear magazine is the world’s largest monthly motoring magazine with 30 licensed local editions including China, France and Japan.
Furthermore, BBC Studios said a health and safety production review of Top Gear, which did not cover the accident but looked at the previous season, found that ‘BBC Studios did not follow essential BBC policies and industry best practice in making the show. Had complied. ‘There were important learnings that will need to be strictly applied to future Top Gear UK productions.’
A statement said: ‘The report includes a number of recommendations to improve approaches to security as Top Gear is a complex programme-making environment which regularly experiences tight filming schedules and ambitious editorial expectations – challenges it experiences. Often performed by long running shows. Off Screen Team.
‘The learning included a detailed action plan including changes to the ways of working, such as increased clarity on roles and responsibilities and better communication between teams for any future Top Gear production.’
Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris with a Porsche 911 GT2 RS and Aston Martin DBS Superleggera in a promotional photo taken at Billingsgate Market
The PA news agency believes the investigation looked at series 32, 33 and the production of series 34 up to the crash on 22 December.
There was a separate investigation into Flintoff’s accident which concluded in March this year and those findings will not be published.
In September, father-of-four Flintoff was photographed publicly for the first time since the accident and had visible facial injuries as he joined the England cricket team for a one-day international series against New Zealand.
He has since slowly returned to the public eye and last week it was announced that Flintoff had been appointed head coach of Northern Superchargers in The Hundred, replacing former England wicketkeeper James Foster.
Flintoff and McGuinness made their debut as Top Gear hosts in June 2019.
Ashes-winning player and Take Me Out host McGuinness joins Chris Harris in the main presenting line-up for the 27th series of the BBC Two show.
Harris started as the main host on Top Gear in 2017.
This was not the first time Flintoff had suffered an accident since he started working on the show.
In February 2019 the presenter was involved in a minor incident when he collided with a market stall in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
The series presented by Top Gear has made headlines over the years, for better and for worse.
Former Friends star Matt LeBlanc joined Top Gear in 2016, but announced his departure from the show in 2018 due to the demands of the role and how much it kept him away from his family and friends.
The American actor was a surprise addition to the Top Gear presenting line-up alongside presenter and radio star Chris Evans, following the departure of previous hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.
LeBlanc continued to host the show after Evans stepped down after only one series.
Clarkson was dropped from the flagship BBC show in 2015 for what the corporation called an ‘unprovoked physical attack’ on a show producer.
Following their exit from the BBC, fellow presenters May and Hammond remained loyal, refusing to return to the BBC show without their co-hosts, and the trio moved to Prime Video for The Grand Tour.
Top Gear Timeline: What happened after Jeremy Clarkson left?
Following Jeremy Clarkson’s departure, a number of improvements were made to Top Gear before the BBC announced the show was to be put on hold for the ‘foreseeable future’.
The long-running motoring show, which began under a new format in 2002, has seen major changes to its presentation line-up since 2015.
Here’s a summary of the big moments in the show’s history:
– March 10: The BBC says Clarkson has been suspended after an ‘altercation’ with a producer on the show.
– 25 March: Lord Tony Hall, then Director-General of the BBC, says the corporation will not renew Clarkson’s contract following an investigation. This incident would lead to the resignation of Richard Hammond and James May.
– 16 June: Chris Evans is announced as part of the Top Gear presenting line-up.
– February: Former Friends star Matt LeBlanc is confirmed as co-host, joining radio DJ Evans.
– 14 March: The BBC ‘sincerely apologised’ for Top Gear filming near The Cenotaph in London and said the war memorial was not intended to be shown and would not appear in the programme.
– 4 July: Chris Evans quits, saying he gave it his ‘best shot’ but ‘standing aside is the best thing I can do now’ to help carry the show forward.
– 31 May: LeBlanc will leave Top Gear after the next series, BBC Studios announces.
– 22 October: Take Me Out star Paddy McGuinness and former England cricket player Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff confirmed as presenters, along with motoring journalist and racing driver Chris Harris.
– 13 December: Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is taken to hospital after a crash on the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey during filming of the show.
– 23 March: BBC Studios completes its investigation into Flintoff’s accident, saying ‘it would be inappropriate to resume production of series 34 of Top Gear at this time.’
– 13 October: BBC Studios, which does not use license fee income, confirms it has reached a financial settlement with Flintoff. The deal was reportedly worth £9 million.
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