Paddy McGuinness addresses Top Gear cancellation fears

Paddy McGuinness has addressed uncertainty around the future of the BBC’s motoring show Top Gear, after the long-running series was put on an indefinite hiatus.

The BBC decided to “rest” the show indefinitely following host Freddie Flintoff’s car accident during production, sparking fan speculation that it had been cancelled for good.

Flintoff was airlifted to hospital in December 2022 while filming a review at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome, home of the show’s test track, after suffering significant facial injuries when the morgan Super 3 car he was driving flipped.

He reached a reported £9m settlement with the BBC last year. The payout will not be funded by licence fee payers, as BBC Studios is a commercial arm of the broadcaster.

The show which was previously hosted by fan favourites Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May was taken over by McGuinness, former England cricketer Flintoff and Chris Harris in 2018.

But McGuinness insisted the show hadn’t been cancelled.

“It’s [the hiatus] what’s been put out there by the BBC,” he told Virgin Radio.Top Gear hasn’t been cancelled. It’s just on hold at the minute while they get a few things in place.

Former England cricket captain Andrew Flintoff (right) and comedian Paddy McGuinness will join the BBC show next year (PA)
Former England cricket captain Andrew Flintoff (right) and comedian Paddy McGuinness will join the BBC show next year (PA)

“This isn’t me being like an MP, it’s what we know. So let’s see what happens. We’re all up for doing it, but it’s just when the BBC feel it’s right to do it again.”

Flintoff and Harris have also confirmed they are open to returning to the show in future.

Some viewers have joked that McGuinness brings a “curse” to shows he presents, as they are later cancelled.

This includes the final series of the popular sports programme A Question of Sport, which ran for over 50 years and was often labelled the “world’s longest-running sports quiz show”.

He also presented Catchpoint and I Can See Your Voice, which were cancelled last year.

“Given the exceptional circumstances, the BBC has decided to rest the UK show for the foreseeable future,” the BBC resonded in a statement to The Independent.

“The BBC remains committed to Freddie, Chris and Paddy who have been at the heart of the show’s renaissance since 2019.

“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.”