Is Top Gear cancelled? Show 'rested' after Freddie Flintoff crash

Top Gear presenters (from left) Paddy McGuinness, Chris Harris and Freddie Flintoff  (PA Archive)
Top Gear presenters (from left) Paddy McGuinness, Chris Harris and Freddie Flintoff (PA Archive)

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

The cricketer-turned-TV host was badly hurt in a crash in December last year at Top Gear's test track at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome in Surrey.

The 34th series was immediately halted and the broadcaster has since apologised to the former England captain and now it has confirmed the show will be rested for the foreseeable future.

The BBC did add that 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."

The BBC has not used the word “cancelled” but viewers have no idea whether the show will ever come back.

Former cricketer Freddie Flintoff, who co-hosted the show since 2019, was driving a three-wheel Morgan Super 3 car when it flipped over – causing the 45-year-old facial injuries and broken ribs.

Flintoff reached a settlement with the BBC said to be worth £9m. The payout came from the commercial arm of the BBC and not from the licence fee.

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

Top Gear magazine is the world's largest monthly motoring magazine, with 30 licensed local editions, including China, France and Japan

BBC Studios said a health and safety production review of Top Gear, which did not cover the accident but instead 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."

Former England captain Freddie Flintoff in his first public appearance since his crash (Joe Giddens/PA Wire)
Former England captain Freddie Flintoff in his first public appearance since his crash (Joe Giddens/PA Wire)

A statement added: "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."

In September, father-of-four Flintoff was photographed for the first time in public since the crash and had visible facial injuries as he joined up with the England cricket squad for their one-day international series against New Zealand.

He has since made a gradual return to the public eye and last week it was announced Flintoff has been appointed as head coach of the Northern Superchargers in The Hundred, replacing ex-England wicketkeeper James Foster.

Flintoff and McGuinness made their debut as Top Gear hosts in June 2019.

The Ashes-winning sportsman and Take Me Out host McGuinness joined Chris Harris from the 27th series of the BBC2 show in the main presenting line-up.

Is Top Gear cancelled?

The BBC has not said it has scrapped Top Gear, only that it is being “rested”.

A BBC spokesperson previously told the PA news agency: “A decision on the timing of future Top Gear shows will be made in due course with BBC Content.”

How long has Freddie Flintoff presented Top Gear, and who are the current hosts?

Freddie Flintoff had presented the show since October 2019 alongside Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris.

It was announced in March that Flintoff would be leaving Top Gear after the accident and a replacement has not been named.

Who previously presented Top Gear?

In total, there have been 13 presenters of the show since it relaunched in 2002.

  • Jeremy Clarkson, 2002–2015

  • Jason Dawe, 2002

  • Richard Hammond, 2002–2015

  • The Stig, 2002–present

  • James May, 2003–2015

  • Chris Evans, 2016

  • Matt LeBlanc, 2016–2019

  • Sabine Schmitz, 2016–2020 (Schmitz died in 2021)

  • Eddie Jordan, 2016–2018

  • Chris Harris, 2016–present

  • Rory Reid, 2016–2019

  • Freddie Flintoff, 2019–2023

  • Paddy McGuinness, 2019–present