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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Lowenna Waters,Beril Naz Hassan and Tamara Davison

Who is Freddie Flintoff? BBC halts Top Gear after presenter’s crash

The BBC has confirmed Top Gear will not return to UK screens in the foreseeable future following Freddie Flintoff’s crash last year. 

Flintoff was taken to hospital after a high-speed crash while filming in December. The accident left the former cricketer with severe facial injuries and the show was halted immediately. 

Now, the BBC confirmed that it has “decided to rest the UK show”. It said 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."

But, who is Freddie Flintoff? Here’s what you need to know.

Freddie Flintoff still had visible injuries months after the Top Gear accident (Action Images via Reuters)

Who is Freddie Flintoff?

Andrew Flintoff was born in Preston, Lancashire on December 6, 1977.

He did well in school and gained nine GCSEs before leaving at 16. He then made his England cricket Test debut against Pakistan in 1998 aged 20.

He was given the name “Freddie” by John Stanworth, his coach at Lancashire Second XI, due to his surname’s similarity to Fred Flinstone.

Flintoff was first selected for the England team in 1998, but he underperformed initially, due to his weight and reported attitude.

It wasn’t until his New Zealand tour in early 2002 that Flintoff scored a Test century and took more than four wickets in a match.

Despite suffering a series of injuries, which kept him out of the 2002-03 Ashes against Australia, Flintoff was fit enough for the World Cup the year after in South Africa. This heralded his golden period in the sport.

In 2004, he scored his Test-best score of 167 against the West Indies at Edgbaston. One of his seven sixes was famously dropped by his father in the stands.

In 2006-07, he was miscast as captain of England in Australia and endured a wide range of injuries. The World Cup in West Indies is perhaps best remembered for an embarrassing photograph showing Flintoff falling from a pedalo after a late-night drinking binge.

By 2009, he demolished the Australians at Lord’s before ensuring the return of the Ashes urn with the pinpoint run-out of Ricky Ponting at The Oval. Sadly, by 2010, Flintoff’s body could no longer take the strain of the sport and he retired.

On March 5, 2005, he married Rachael Wools at the Pavilion Road Hotel in Knightsbridge, London. The couple have four children: a daughter, Holly, and three sons, Corey, Rocky and Preston.

In 2010, Flintoff joined Sky One’s sport comedy show, A League of Their Own, as a team captain. In 2017, he co-presented the show Cannonball with The Saturdays singer Frankie Bridge.

In 2022, he appeared in the show Two Men and a Tent alongside Jason Manford.

How long has Flintoff presented Top Gear?

Flintoff joined the Top Gear team in 2016 alongside Paddy McGuinness and motoring journalist Chris Harris. Long-serving presenters James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson left in 2015.

His December 2022 accident wasn’t the first to blight Flintoff since he began presenting the show. In February 2019, he was involved in a minor incident when he crashed into a market stall in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

And, in September of the same year, he crashed again while driving a three-wheel vehicle at a reported speed of 124mph during filming for Top Gear at Elvington Airfield, Yorkshire. He walked away unharmed, however.

Former Top Gear presenter Hammond was involved in a serious crash at the same airfield in 2006, leaving him in a coma.

What were Freddie Flintoff’s injuries? 

In December 2022, Flintoff was at the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome in Surrey. According to the Sun, an insider said: “He was driving on the track as normal. He wasn't going at high speeds – it was just an accident that could happen to anyone.”

The incident reportedly left the star with several broken ribs and facial injuries. He was pictured the following year with the facial injuries still visible. 

What is his net worth?

Flintoff has an estimated net worth of almost £15 million. His sources of wealth are listed as sports, cricket, boxing, real estate and TV presenting.

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