Wednesday December 06, 2023

Top Gear not to return following Andrew Flintoff's injury, reveals BBC

Top Gear's host Andrew Flintoff suffered an injury at Surrey's Dunsfold Park Aerodrome

By Web Desk
November 21, 2023
Top Gear team Chris, Paddy and Freddie. — Screengrab/BBC
Top Gear team Chris, Paddy and Freddie. — Screengrab/BBC

Top Gear, the flagship programme on the BBC, has announced that it would not be returning "for the foreseeable future" following the injury of host Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff during filming last year.

The BBC said that it had "decided to rest the UK show" in a statement.

At Surrey's Dunsfold Park Aerodrome, home of Top Gear, the presenter suffered an injury in December.

After that, the 34th series was called off, and the BBC expressed regret to the former England cricket player.

"We're excited about new projects being developed with each of Freddie, Chris, and Paddy, who have been at the heart of the show's renaissance since 2019," the BBC continued. We'll talk about this more in the near future.

"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 and the BBC recently came to an alleged £9 million settlement. The payment will not come from the TV license fee because BBC Studios is the broadcaster's commercial division.

The former cricket player was still healing from "life-altering significant" injuries, according to information provided by his legal team to the Sun tabloid last month.

In March, the BBC expressed regret to Flintoff for his injuries and said that the show would undergo a health and safety assessment. It was anticipated that a separate, third party would handle it.

It reaffirmed that apology after Flintoff's payout was revealed last month.

"Which we have always made clear, is that the external investigation report is not being published, having been concluded in March of this year," stated BBC Studios.

BBC Studios released the following statement regarding a different health and safety review that did not address Flintoff's accident: "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."

In Cardiff, before of England's one-day international against New Zealand, Flintoff conducted fielding exercises with players for the first time since the September accident. He had tape over his nose and obvious scars on his face.

After playing 79 Tests, 141 One-Day Internationals, and seven Twenty20s, the 45-year-old former England captain announced his retirement from cricket in 2009.

Alongside Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness, he became a host of BBC One's Top Gear in 2019. An average of 4.5 million people watched their most recent season.