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Top Gear parked ‘for the foreseeable future’ following Flintoff crash

BBC flagship Top Gear is to take a hiatus of unknown length after presenter Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff was hurt in a crash while filming last year.

The broadcaster said in a statement that the show will not return “for the foreseeable future” as it has “decided to rest the UK show.”

The presenter was injured in December at Top Gear’s test track at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome in Surrey. Filming was subsequently halted and the BBC apologised to the former England and Lancashire cricketer.

The BBC added it “remains committed to Freddie, Chris [Harris] and Paddy [McGuiness] 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.”

Flintoff recently reached a settlement with the BBC, reportedly worth £9m. The payout will not be funded by the TV licence fee, however, as Top Gear is produced by BBC Studios, the broadcaster’s commercial arm.

Flintoff was pictured in public for the first time since his accident last month when he led fielding drills with the England cricket team. His legal team told press at the time that the former cricketer was still recovering from “life-altering significant” injuries.

BBC Studios said the external investigation report “was concluded in March of this year and is not being published, which we have always made clear”.

In a statement on a separate health and safety review, which did not cover Flintoff’s accident, BBC Studios said: “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.”

Flintoff joined BBC One’s Top Gear as a host in 2019 alongside Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris. Their most recent series attracted an average audience of 4.5 million viewers.

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