The BBC has announced it will “rest” Top Gear for the “foreseeable future” almost a year on from filming being halted as a result of Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff’s horror crash.
In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said: “Given the exceptional circumstances, the BBC has decided to rest the UK show for the foreseeable future.
“The BBC remains committed to Freddie, Chris [Harris] and Paddy [McGuinness] 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.”
Following the crash that left Flintoff with broken ribs and facial injuries, BBC Studios said a health and safety production review of Top Gear, which did not cover the accident but instead looked at previous seasons, took place.
According to PA, it 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.”
A statement regarding the investigation said: “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.”
Paddy McGuinness, Chris Harris and Freddie Flintoff hosted Top Gear
The decision to shelve Top Gear for the foreseeable comes just weeks after one of the three hosts, Harris, opened up about the impact the uncertainty surrounding its future had on him.
Harris told the BBC: “I suddenly had nothing to do. I have got another business… but my day job went.
“And you imagine, the muscle memory of working life is really important.
“If that suddenly stops – I had eight or seven years of it – if suddenly you don’t talk to those people, you don’t see those people, then you go into a slightly dark place I think. I really missed it.”