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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Louis Chilton

Is Top Gear cancelled? What we know after Freddie Flintoff’s near-fatal accident

BBC/Lee Brimble

The future of the popular BBC motoring series Top Gear remains up in the air following a near-fatal on-set accident involving presenter Freddie Flintoff.

Former England cricketer Flintoff, 45, was airlifted to hospital in December 2022 after a vehicle he was driving crashed at the Dunsfold Park Aerodrome, home of the Top Gear test track.

Reports suggest that the car – an open-topped three-wheel Morgan Super 3 – had flipped and skidded down the course while Flintoff was driving at a high speed, filming one of the show’s segments.

At the time, filming on the 34th series of Top Gear was abandoned, with the BBC stating that it would be conducting a health and safety review of the show, and had conducted an investigation into Flintoff’s accident.

In May, a spokesperson for the broadcaster told The Independent: “In March we concluded our investigation into the accident at the Top Gear Test Track in Surrey, which regrettably injured presenter Freddie Flintoff.

“We have sincerely apologised to Freddie and continue to support him with his recovery. A health and safety review of the show is underway, in line with our procedures.”

The Independent understands that the BBC is yet to make a decision on the timing of the series’ prospective return.

Flintoff hosted the series alongside motoring journalist Chris Harris, 48, and comedian Paddy McGuinness, 50.

He previously crashed a car while filming the series in 2019, shortly after joining the show. At the time, he was said to have narrowly avoided sustaining a serious injury.

In September 2023, Flintoff was seen in public for the first time since the accident, with his face still visibly injured from the event.

Flintoff is pictured in public for the first time since the accident
— (Getty Images)

Reports from earlier this year suggested that Flintoff was unlikely to continue as a presenter following the crash. A source told The Times that the presenter, who stopped playing professional cricket in 2009, had been “seriously emotionally and physically affected by the crash”.

The current iteration of Top Gear began on BBC Two in 2002, having been revived from an earlier series of the same name. Initially hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, the three-man presenting team left the series in 2015 after Clarkson assaulted a BBC producer.

Following their exit, presenting duties were passed to Friends star Matt LeBlanc and broadcaster Chris Evans, with Flintoff joining in 2019 after a number of lineup changes.

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