Top Gear: BBC flagship show will not return for 'foreseeable future'

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The BBC's flagship show Top Gear will not return "for the foreseeable future" after presenter Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff was hurt in a crash while filming last year.

In a statement, the BBC said 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.

The 34th series was subsequently halted and the BBC apologised to the former England cricketer.

The BBC added 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."

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

Last month, his legal team told the Sun newspaper that the former cricketer was still recovering from "life-altering significant" injuries.

Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff pictured for the first time in September since he was injured in an accident while filming Top Gear last year.
Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff was pictured in public for the first time since his accident when he led fielding drills with the England cricket team last month

The BBC apologised to Flintoff in March over his injuries, as it announced a health and safety review of the show. It was expected to be undertaken by an independent third party.

It reiterated that apology last month when the compensation to Flintoff was announced.

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 was pictured for the first time since the accident in September, as he led fielding drills with England players in Cardiff ahead of the team's one-day international with New Zealand. Scars were visible on his face and he had tape on his nose.

The 45-year-old former England captain retired from cricket in 2009 having played 79 Tests, 141 one-day internationals and seven T20s.

He 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.