The BBC has said it will not resume filming the latest series of Top Gear after co-presenter former England cricket captain Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff was injured in a crash last year.
The broadcaster said there will be a health and safety review on the motoring show, which has been running in its current iteration for 21 years.
In a statement, the BBC said it had finished an investigation into an crash at the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Park airport in Surrey in December.
Flintoff, who joined the show as a host in 2019, was airlifted to hospital on December 13th after his open-topped three-wheel Morgan Super 3 car flipped and slid along the track when he was driving at high speed. He and a crew member in the passenger seat were wearing helmets, but Flintoff suffered facial injuries and broken ribs.
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An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found no evidence of serious failings, the Daily Mail reported.
Filming of the show was halted and has not restarted since. The 45-year-old, who has also presented programmes on cricket on the BBC, could be quitting as a co-presenter, according to the Times, as he does not feel he could continue to play his “daredevil” role.
The BBC added that it had apologised to Flintoff, and the crash had affected the team who produce the show.
“Under the circumstances, we feel it would be inappropriate to resume making series 34 of Top Gear at this time,” a spokesperson said. “We understand this will be disappointing for fans, but it is the right thing to do, and we’ll make a judgment about how best to continue later this year.”
Flintoff has already had one high-speed crash while filming the show. In 2019 he crashed at 201km/h while travelling in a three-wheeled cycle car, but managed to walk away from the scene.
Thirteen years earlier, former presenter Richard Hammond was left in a coma after crashing at the Elvington airfield in York in a jet-powered Vampire dragster while travelling at 463km/h.
After a period of instability for the motoring show in the aftermath of the departure of long-term hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Hammond, the show appeared to have found its rhythm with Flintoff and his two co-presenters, Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness.
It had moved to BBC One from its previous home of BBC Two, and had managed to rebuild ratings to its highest point since Clarkson, Hammond and May’s departure. – Guardian