The decision to rest Top Gear for the foreseeable future comes after presenter Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff was injured in a crash while filming last year. The BBC has expressed its commitment to Flintoff, Chris Harris, and Paddy McGuinness, the hosting trio who have been at the heart of the show’s renaissance since 2019. The decision to rest the show may be disappointing to fans, but it is the right thing to do.
The recent settlement with Flintoff, reportedly worth £9m, will not be funded by the TV license fee, as BBC Studios is a commercial arm of the broadcaster. This settlement comes after the former cricketer suffered “life-altering significant” injuries in the accident.
The external investigation report on the accident has not been published, but a separate health and safety review found important learnings that need to be applied to future Top Gear UK productions. These learnings include changes in ways of working, increased clarity on roles and responsibilities, and better communication between teams for any future Top Gear production.
Despite the hiatus of the UK show, all other Top Gear activities, including international formats, digital, magazines, and licensing, remain unaffected. The show’s most recent series, hosted by Flintoff, Harris, and McGuinness, attracted an average audience of 4.5 million viewers, demonstrating its continued popularity.
The future of Top Gear remains uncertain, but the BBC has expressed excitement about new projects being developed with Flintoff, Harris, and McGuinness. This suggests that while the UK show is on hiatus, there may be other ventures in the pipeline for the hosting trio.
The decision to rest Top Gear highlights the importance of prioritizing the safety and well-being of all involved in the production of the show. The rigorous application of the learnings from the health and safety review will be crucial in ensuring a safe and successful future for Top Gear UK productions.