‘Top Gear’ filming halted after presenter Flintoff’s car crash

LONDON (Reuters) -The making of the hugely popular BBC car show “Top Gear” has been halted following a crash during filming in December that left co-presenter Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff with serious injuries, the broadcaster said late on Thursday.

The BBC said it had concluded its investigation into the crash – which had initially led to filming being suspended – and that it would now halt filming.

It was unclear when or if at all filming would resume and the broadcaster said it would make a decision later this year.

“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,” BBC Studios said in a statement.

“We understand this 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.”

The BBC also said it would carry out a health and safety review of “Top Gear”, one of its most successful programmes that has been running since 2002 in its current format, a revival of a 1977-2001 eponymous BBC motoring programme.

Flintoff, 45, a former England cricketer who became a “Top Gear” host in 2019, was said to be “lucky to be alive” following the accident at Top Gear’s test track in Surrey in southern England.

The Times newspaper reported, citing insiders, that Flintoff was quitting as the show’s co-presenter. He hosted the show along with Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris.

Flintoff is revered by England cricket fans for his heroics in the 2005 Ashes series against Australia, a career highlight that earned him cult status. After retiring from cricket, he had one professional bout as a boxer in 2012.

(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru and Sachin Ravikumar in LondonEditing by Chris Reese)