Sunday, December 3, 2023

Top Gear not returning for “foreseeable future”, confirms BBC

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The 34th season was brought to a halt and understands that a health and safety review of the show was launched, with a decision on the timing of any future Top Gear instalments following afterwards.

Well, now the fate of Top Gear has been sealed for the time being, with the BBC saying in their statement: “[It] remains committed to Freddie, Chris and Paddy, 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.”

Flintoff’s accident last December saw him being rushed to hospital via air ambulance after he was involved in a high speed crash at the track. The former cricketer was actually seen in public for the first time in September at a one-day cricket international between England and New Zealand at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

Flintoff also recently reached an agreement with the BBC, reportedly worth £9m, but the payout will not be funded by the TV licence fee, as BBC Studios is a commercial arm of the broadcaster.

Freddie Flintoff, Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness on Top Gear. BBC Studios

BBC Studios said the external investigation report “was concluded in March of this year and is not being published, which we have always made clear”.

Speaking about lessons that they’re taking into the future, they stated: “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.”

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The news of Top Gear’s shelving comes after the BBC denied reports that the long-running series has been cancelled earlier this month.

On Friday 6th October, The Sun had reported that the show’s production staff had been told to focus on other work and that there was “no way” that the show could continue after presenter Flintoff’s crash last year.

The BBC had released a statement on the claims, saying: “A decision on the timing of future Top Gear shows will be made in due course with BBC Content.”

Flintoff was part of the presenting line-up that included Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris who, more recently, had offered an update on Flintoff’s recovery, saying in an interview with The Times: “I’m just over the moon that my friend Fred is still with us.

“If there is only one good thing that comes out of it, it is that there’s been dignity. Fred’s been given the time to heal. It’s been a tough time. I defy anyone to not care about their friends if they get injured. I do.”

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All previous seasons of Top Gear are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

Looking for something else to watch in the meantime? Check out our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Entertainment hub.

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