BBC scraps latest Top Gear series after Flintoff accident
The former cricket star's third incident since joining the show landed him in hospital with reported "not life-threatening" injuries.
Flintoff attending a football match between AC Milan and Napoli in (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Supposed to have been televised later this year, the 34th season of the popular BBC show Top Gear has been scrapped entirely following a crash at the end of last year that injured presenter Andrew Flintoff.
While the broadcaster didn’t divulge any details surrounding the accident that took place at the long-time Dunsfold Aerodrome base of the show in December last year, it later remarked in statement that the former cricketer’s injuries were “not life-threatening” and that he was undergoing treatment.
Reportedly witnessed by his co-presenter Chris Harris, the mentioned statement elaborated further by saying that Flintoff, who retired from cricket 13 years ago, had been taken to hospital after immediate attention from paramedics.
“Not appropriate to continue”
Early on Friday morning though (24 March), the broadcaster confirmed that a decision had been taken to axe the series, the first time such an occurrence had taken place since the final three episodes of series 22 were scrapped following the now infamous altercation between producer Oisin Tymon and star presenter Jeremy Clarkson.
“Under the circumstances, we feel it would be inappropriate to resume making series 34 of Top Gear at this time,” the BBC said in a statement.
“We understand this [halting the show] will be disappointing for fans, but it is the right thing to do, and we’ll make a judgement about how best to continue later this year. This has also impacted the production team, who we continue to support.”
The latest incident involving Flintoff comes after two prior incidents, the first in 2019 after his addition to the team alongside Harris and comedian Paddy McGuinness, and the second later that same year during a race drag from which he emerged injured.
According to the most recent audience viewing figures in the UK, the 33rd season failed to garner more than five-million views across its five episodes, a trend that originated from the 31st season when ratings struggled to crest 4.5-million.
The show, which has trying to win back ground after slumping to less than three million people watching it during the course of the 26th season – the last fronted by Harris, journalist Rory Reid and former Friends star Matt LeBlanc – has, however, been subjected to continual criticism from fans following the firing of Clarkson and eventual departure of his co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May in 2015.
A question of Paddy?
More recently, most of the backlash has been directed at McGuinness, whose unveiling as presenter on the popular BBC sports game show, A Question of Sport, last year, attracted a similar response to that of Top Gear.
Calls have since been mounting for the BBC to remove McGuinness from both shows, with the Birmingham Mail reporting last year that viewers had branded the now passed 33rd season as “awful” and that McGuinness’ “go on son” utterances and shouting had becoming annoying.
Since its re-launch following the departure of Clarkson, Hammond and May, who created The Grand Tour for streaming platform Amazon, the show has gone through several presenters, most notably Reid, former Formula 1 boss Eddie Jordan, late racing driver Sabine Schmitz, LeBlanc and most notoriously, radio DJ Chris Evans who received marching orders after the completion of the 23rd season.
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