Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff confirmed as new 'Top Gear' hosts

Ben Arnold
Andrew Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness, and Chris Harris pictured at the launch of the new Top Gear line up (Rex)

Paddy McGuinness and ex-cricketer Freddie Flintoff will be the new hosts of Top Gear, the BBC has confirmed.

The host of ITV dating show Take Me Out and the former England cricket star are said to have signed a two-year deal worth £1 million between them.

They take over the reigns from Friends star Matt Le Blanc, who continued to helm the show after Chris Evans quit after one series, after being drafted in to replace Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.

McGuinness and Flintoff’s first series will air in early 2019.

Freddie Flintoff (Credit: Getty)

In a statement, McGuinness said: “Getting the Top Gear gig is a real honour and I’m thrilled the BBC have given me this opportunity. To be hosting a show I’ve watched and loved from being a small boy is beyond exciting.

“Top Gear fans worldwide are a passionate bunch and I consider myself one of them. Now let’s start up this Great British machine and see what it can do!”

Flintoff added: “It’s not often you have the chance to do both of your dream jobs, but I’m now lucky enough to say I will have. I’ve always been passionate about cars and I’m so excited to be joining the Top Gear team.”

(Credit: BBC)

Co-host Chris Harris, who will stay on, said: “I think you can tell just how much fun we’re going to have making Top Gear with Paddy and Freddie.

“They’re both brilliant, natural entertainers – and their mischief mixed with the most exciting cars on the planet is sure to take the show to the next level. My dream job just got even better.”

It marks yet a new direction in a series of tumultuous years for the veteran motoring magazine show.

Jeremy Clarkson was fired from the show following a physical altercation with one of the show’s producers in 2015, following a day’s filming.

Hammond and May followed him to launch a new show for Amazon Studios, called The Grand Tour, while Evans and LeBlanc took over for the BBC.

But Evans walked after a series, amid rumours he and LeBlanc had clashed on set.

If the new line-up, Patrick Holland, controller of BBC Two, said: “This is a thrilling manoeuvre from the Top Gear team and I’m relishing what this trio will deliver.

Andrew Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness, and Chris Harris pose with a Porsche and an Aston Martin (Rex)

“Both Paddy and Freddie love their cars but, more than that, they’ll bring a new energy and competitive spirit to Top Gear.

“Chris Harris might have the greater car skills, but when it comes to the infamous Top Gear challenges, he’s going to have to bring his A-game to have the beating of these two.”

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