The latest series of Top Gear has been halted by the BBC after presenter Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff was injured in an accident during filming. The former England cricketer was hurt in December while testing a vehicle at Top Gear’s track in Surrey.
The BBC has stated that it would be inappropriate to continue making series 34 under the circumstances. The broadcaster has also apologized to Flintoff and will continue to support him in his recovery. The decision to stop the show has disappointed fans, but the BBC believes it is the right thing to do.
The production team has been affected by the decision, and the BBC has ordered a health and safety review of the show to be undertaken by an independent third party. BBC Studios, the production company for Top Gear, has also conducted its own investigation of the accident.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the national regulator for workplace safety in England, Wales, and Scotland, has completed its enquiries into the incident and will not be investigating further. It is understood that the circumstances of the incident did not meet the threshold for further investigation.
Bectu, the union for workers in the creative industries, has emphasised the importance of crew wellbeing on set and the need for productions to have stringent policies and procedures in place to protect workers’ physical and mental health. The union has called for productions to meet the highest safety standards and ensure that appropriate support is provided for the workforce.
Top Gear, one of the BBC’s most successful and exported programmes, has had a series of different presenters since 2002. December’s accident was not the first that Flintoff has suffered since he started presenting the show. He crashed into a market stall in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire in February 2019 and also crashed during a drag race in September of the same year while filming at Elvington Airfield in Yorkshire, but walked away unharmed. In June 2022, Flintoff was racing a bobsleigh at a course in Norway when it flipped over, but he again came out of the crash unscathed.
The decision to halt the latest series of Top Gear due to Flintoff’s accident highlights the importance of health and safety in the workplace, particularly in the entertainment industry. It is essential that productions prioritize the safety and well-being of their workers, and that appropriate support is provided in the event of an accident. The BBC’s decision to stop filming is a responsible and necessary measure that will hopefully prevent further incidents from occurring.