Filming on the latest series of Top Gear will not resume amid reports that presenter Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff is “quitting the show” after being involved in an accident at the end of last year.
BBC studios said on Thursday night that “under the circumstances” they feel “it would be inappropriate to resume making series 34 of Top Gear at this time”.
Former professional cricketer Flintoff (45) was taken to hospital after being involved in the incident while shooting for the hit motoring show at the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey on December 13th.
The former England captain has been “seriously emotionally and physically affected by the crash”, a source told The Times, which first reported the story, adding that: “He is a daredevil, that’s what he does, and he doesn’t feel like he is able to continue to play that role on the show.”
A statement from BBC Studios said it had “concluded its investigation into the accident at the Top Gear Test Track in Surrey last December, which regrettably injured presenter Freddie Flintoff.”
It continued: “We have sincerely apologised to Freddie and will continue to support him with his recovery. Under the circumstances, we feel it would be inappropriate to resume making series 34 of Top Gear at this time.
“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.
“This has also impacted the production team, who we continue to support.”
The statement added that there will be a health and safety review of the show, “in line with our procedures”.
The PA news agency understands that a decision about resuming filming will be made later in the year.
BBC Studios declined to comment on Flintoff’s return to the show and directed enquiries to the presenter’s representatives, who have also been contacted for comment.
Flintoff was previously involved in a minor incident when he crashed into a market stall in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in February 2019.
In September of the same year he crashed again while driving a three-wheel vehicle at a reported speed of 124mph during filming for Top Gear at Elvington Airfield in Yorkshire, but walked away from the incident unharmed.
Former Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond was involved in a serious crash at the same airfield in 2006, leaving him in a coma for two weeks and with brain injuries.
Flintoff, who began presenting Top Gear in 2019, has also appeared on A League Of Their Own and won the first series of the Australian version of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!.
He is fondly remembered for his time as an England all-rounder, most notably during the Ashes victory in 2005.
His other shows with the BBC include Andrew Flintoff’s Field Of Dreams, where he embarked on a mission to find cricketing talent in his home town of Preston. In 2022 the BBC announced it was returning for a four-part follow-up series.
Top Gear is also presented by Take Me Out host Paddy McGuinness and automotive journalist Chris Harris.