Production of the BBC’s world-famous motoring show “Top Gear” is on thin ice following a rollover crash involving host Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff. The host is reportedly considering quitting the show, whose fate will be decided later this year.
Flintoff, a renowned former cricket player, joined the Top Gear cast alongside Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris (formerly of “/DRIVE”) in 2019. The trio formed the most stable set of hosts since the show’s recasting and had rebuilt the show’s ratings to the highest levels since 2015 according to The Guardian.
Their momentum may have halted, however, following a serious crash that hospitalized Flintoff. On Dec. 13, Flintoff was reportedly driving a Morgan Super 3 on the Top Gear Test Track when the vehicle rolled and slid across the track. Flintoff and the film crew member onboard were reportedly wearing helmets, but Flintoff was airlifted out for treatment of broken ribs and facial injuries.
Morgan Super 3 x OB. Morgan
Previously, Flintoff experienced another crash in another three-wheeler at 124 mph, but was uninjured. Now, though, Flintoff is considering quitting the show according to The Times. His hesitance may jeopardize the show’s future, which a BBC statement says isn’t guaranteed.
On Thursday, the BBC announced that it will not resume filming of season 34 and that it will decide whether to proceed with Top Gear later this year. The show reportedly faces a review by BBC Health and Safety, though The Daily Mail reports an investigation has already passed an audit.
Cast crises are nothing new to the venerable Top Gear, which aired for 24 years starting in 1977 before its hosts’ departure nearly led to its termination. The show rebooted in 2002 with a new format and new hosts, which after a tweak in its second season remained stable until 2015 despite a life-threatening jet dragster crash in 2006.
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