Top Gear Stopped After BBC Star's Car Crash
The BBC has announced that it will stop airing the popular car show Top Gear for the foreseeable future, following a serious accident involving one of its presenters, Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff, last year.
What happened to Freddie Flintoff?
In December 2020, while filming a stunt for the Top Gear show, Freddie Flintoff, a former England cricket captain and one of the current hosts of the show, was involved in a fast-paced accident. While at the test track in Surrey, England, he was driving a modified three-wheeled vehicle when he lost control and hit the wall.
He sustained injuries on his face, which were very serious, and he was then taken to the hospital for numerous operations. His legal team claimed he suffered life-changing injuries to the spine, neck, and brain. According to reports, he agreed to settle with BBC for $11.3 million for the injury and his career.
How did the BBC respond?
The BBC stopped the 34th season of Top Gear production and commissioned a comprehensive safety and health review of the show. The BBC stated that the findings of the review were not published.
The BBC announced on Tuesday that it has suspended the U.K. show for now due to those unique circumstances. The broadcaster too, stated that it was looking forward to joint ventures with Top Gear presenters like Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness, and Chris Harris.
“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,” the BBC said.
What is the future of Top Gear?
Top Gear is one of the most profitable and famous shows on the BBC, with a vast number of fans from all over the world and a history that extends beyond four decades. This show started in 1977 as a regional program about cars and road safety, but it was re-launched in 2002 with a new format and the main presenters such as Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.
The show consists of some aspects like car reviews, challenges, races, celebrity interviews, and sometimes road trips that are humorous, adrenalin-filled, and often controversial. It has also produced multiple offshoots, including “Top Gear US,” “Top Gear Australia,” and “Top Gear France.”
There have been several reports about the safety measures of the show. For instance, Hammond ended up in a coma for two weeks due to an incident involving one of his vehicles speeding more than 4,19 km/h at Yorkshire Airfield after crashing during a Top Gear stunt in 2006.
Also, the show’s personnel and format have been modified on numerous occasions due to contractual disputes, controversies, and ratings However, the greatest change occurred in 2015, after an assault on a colleague, Jeremy Clarkson, was fired by the BBC, and his co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May, also left the show. They worked together with Amazon Prime Video to establish the Grand Tour, a car program.
BBC did not indicate if Top Gear would come back or if it would keep producing and airing spin-offs and foreign replicas of the show. The BBC reported that the most recent season, which aired in 2020, attracted about 4.5 million viewers, and the show managed to generate annual profits amounting to approximately 20 million pounds in the year 2015.
Over the past four decades, Top Gear has been amusing as well as educating countless individuals across the globe. Nevertheless, the show has been overshadowed by scandals, accidents, and switches, which have affected the quality and rating of the show. The BBC is currently on a standstill due to the latest Freddie Flintoff’s car crash, and it remains uncertain how the show will proceed for fans. Top Gear may re-appear on the screens in the future, but for now, the show is over.