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Entertainment

Top Gear to be rested for ‘foreseeable future’, BBC says | Ents & Arts News

today21/11/2023

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The BBC will “rest” hit motoring show Top Gear “for the foreseeable future”, following a crash that left host Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff seriously injured.

Production of the show has been halted since Flintoff, 45, was taken to hospital in December 2022.

In a statement, the BBC said: “Given the exceptional circumstances, the BBC has decided to rest the UK show for the foreseeable future.

Top Gear presenters Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris. PA Photo/BBC/Lee Brimble.
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Top Gear presenters Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris. Pic: PA/BBC/Lee Brimble

“The BBC 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.”

Former England cricket captain Flintoff was photographed in public in September for the first time since the crash. Nine months on, his facial injuries were still visible as he joined the England cricket squad for their one-day international series against New Zealand.

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Oct 23: Flintoff speaks publicly for first time since crash

The accident happened at the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, and left the sports star with several broken ribs.

Following the crash, the BBC announced it would pause production on the show, co-presented by Take Me Out host Paddy McGuinness and automotive journalist Chris Harris, as it was felt it would be “inappropriate” to continue at that time.

In October, the BBC said it had agreed a financial settlement Flintoff, reported to be worth £9m.

A health and safety production review of Top Gear covering previous seasons before the accident 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 included “a number of recommendations to improve approaches to safety”.

There was a separate investigation into the crash which was concluded in March. These findings are not being published.

Flintoff and McGuinness joined Harris in 2019, taking over from Chris Evans and Friends star Matt LeBlanc.

The show was initially launched in 1977, featuring a range of presenters and reporters in a half-hourly slot on BBC Two which proved popular throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

But its relaunch in 2002 as an hour-long entertainment motoring show, led by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, turned it into a worldwide hit.

The UK show is currently sold to more 150 territories and there are 11 local format versions, including in the US, France and Finland.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.

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Written by: lwrradio

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