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Top Gear Is Officially Off-Air for the 'Foreseeable Future'

Getty
Getty

The iconic automotive show Top Gear is being taken off the air, potentially permanently. The BBC announced Tuesday morning that the show isn't returning "for the foreseeable future." The decision had been expected for some time now after presenter Freddie Flintoff was seriously injured in a crash while filming last year, but it is now official.

"Given the exceptional circumstances, the BBC has decided to rest the UK show for the foreseeable future. The BBC remains committed to Freddie, Chris, and Paddy who have been at the heart of the show's renaissance since 2019, and we're excited about new projects being developed with each of them. 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 in its statement.

Last year, Flintoff was filming a Top Gear episode at the show's famous Dunsfold Park Aerodrome in Surrey, England when the Morgan Super 3 he was driving flipped. Flintoff suffered head injuries and broken ribs and was airlifted to a nearby hospital. He's since been recovering from the trauma, both physically and emotionally, and both the show-runners and the BBC felt that it was best to halt the show's production. Top Gear magazine and other spinoffs—both physical and digital—will reportedly remain untouched.

<em>Paddy McGuinness (left), Freddie Flintoff (middle), Chris Harris (right)</em> | <em>Getty</em>
Paddy McGuinness (left), Freddie Flintoff (middle), Chris Harris (right) | Getty

However, this doesn't mean the show won't return, nor does it mean the three current hosts—Flintoff, Chris Harris, and Paddy McGuinness—won't return with it. The BBC says it remains committed to all three and is "excited about new projects being developed with each of them." Though, that doesn't seem likely at this point.

Following Flintoff's crash, the BBC apologized to the presenter and an external health and safety investigation was conducted. The investigation was closed in March but its findings weren't made public. The BBC reached a $11.2 million settlement with Flintoff as a result.

Top Gear's future remains murkier than ever and it's unclear whether the show will return. If it doesn't, its death has been a slow one, starting when famed host Jeremy Clarkson was fired for punching the producer in 2015. Since then, it's had a revolving door of different hosts, as the BBC tried, and mostly failed, to recapture the old magic. The most recent trio was the best since Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. Reigniting the flame seems nigh impossible and it wouldn't be surprising to see the BBC just call it quits on the show for good.

If this is the end of Top Gear, it's a sad one, despite its slow, predictable death. Like most millennial car enthusiasts, Clarkson, Hammond, and May made a lasting impression on me and how I feel about cars. They're a huge part of why I even do this job. Chris Harris, too. So it makes me sad to think that this could be the end of a show that meant so much to me as a young man, even if it's been a long time coming.

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