BBC Cancels 'Top Gear' Season Following Freddie Flintoff Injury

The BBC canceled Top Gear, at least for the time being, while host Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff continues recovering from his December crash. Flintoff, a former international cricketer, was injured while filming at Dunsford Park Aerodrome, the Surrey test track used for the hit series. Flintoff joined the series in 2019 and hosted alongside Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness.

"Under the circumstances, we feel it would be inappropriate to resume making series 34," the BBC said in a statement on Thursday. "We have sincerely apologized to Freddie and will continue to support him with his recovery. We understand this [halting the show] 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." The broadcaster added that there will be a health and safety review of the show.

Flintoff, 45, was injured on Dec. 13. He was reportedly not driving at high speed and expected to make a full recovery. However, he was rushed to the hospital after the accident and suffered facial injuries. In January, sources told The Sun he planned to pause his television career while recovering, at the request of his family.

"The full extent of his injuries will surprise many people, as the details of what happened have yet to fully emerge," an insider told The Sun in January. "He is putting his career on hold until he is in a better place mentally and physically, and can't say when he will return to making TV shows. As a loving husband and dad, he understands the fear his family feels about what's happened, knowing that he could have been killed."

This was also not Flintoff's first accident while filming Top Gear. In February 2019, he crashed through a safety barrier during filming in Mansfield. In September 2019, he crashed while driving a three-wheeled car that reached 124 mph, and miraculously survived. Flintoff is a former cricketer and retired from the sport in 2010. He tried boxing and acting before settling into a successful broadcasting career.

The current iteration of Top Gear has been airing continuously since 2002 and is a revival of the 1977 show of the same name. It became one of the BBC's top shows around the world during the years Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May hosted. After Clarkson was fired in 2015, the show struggled to find an audience for years as hosts came and went. In 2019, the trio of Flintoff, McGuiness, and Harris revived interest in the show and it returned to BBC One in 2020. Three of the most recent seasons are streaming on HBO Max in the U.S.